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Horse Racing: Weekend Review

Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday produced some wonderful moments and, amongst them, a stunning success for Bay Bridge as Baaeed's fairytale farewell failed to materialise.

We look back on all the thrills and spills from Ascot as Sir Michael Stoute and Richard Kingscote stole the show in our weekend review.

Baaeed's career ends in defeat

Comparisons with the mighty Frankel have been par for the course for Baaeed all season long but perhaps in defeat on his final start he inadvertently doffed his cap to the great horse.

Frankel's career ended with a soft-ground Champion Stakes win at Ascot, but Baaeed simply couldn't get going on similarly testing ground as he was only fourth under a dejected Jim Crowley.

There was stunned silence at Ascot as Bay Bridge got the better of Adayar and My Prospero, with Baaeed only fourth.

For Stoute and Kingscote, it capped a fine season in which they also won the Epsom Derby in June.

"I thought the favourite was unbeatable, but I thought we had a great chance of being second. He's in terrific shape. He's got a great mind and is an easy horse to train," said the winning trainer.

For Baaeed's part, a crestfallen Haggas could still see the positives after a fine season in which his colt raised that bar and captured public imagination.

"He got beat in a horse race, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he is a high-class horse," he said.

"It shows that people come racing to see the good ones and I think a lot of people wanted to see him win. A lot of people will be very disappointed, nobody more so than us, but that's the way it is."

Bayside Boy stuns QEII field

It's been quite a few weeks for trainer Roger Varian and he produced another standout moment as Bayside Boy defied odds of 33/1 to win the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day.

Fresh from landing the St Leger at Doncaster, Varian saw Bayside Boy swooping late under Tom Marquand to thwart Modern Games and Jadoomi as disappointing favourite Inspiral laboured in sixth.

Bayside Boy thundered home up the far-side rail to score, so much so that his trainer had his eye elsewhere.

"It's a funny old game," said Varian. "I need to watch it again. I was shouting [eventual fifth] El Drama home. I thought he had a huge chance with two to run and then I see Bayside coming. Then he went whoosh!

"I'm not going to say I thought he'd win, but I thought he was a lively outsider. He had very good juvenile form and we had high hopes for him this season, but he really didn't enjoy the firm ground in the summer."

Frankie steers Kinross home

Frankie Dettori might have suffered QEII disappointment with Inspiral but an hour earlier he was the toast of Ascot when Kinross landed the Champions Sprint.

Kinross was questioned for speed dropping back to 6f, with all seven previous successes at 7f/1m, but he answered any doubters emphatically.

Dettori's mount was going easily with two furlongs to run and they quickened away to win decisively, the final furlong a mere formality.

Sent off the 3/1 favourite having been available at double those odds 24 hours before the off, Kinross was a big result for punters as the first three Champions Day favourites obliged.

Dettori was always confident and afterwards moved to quell rumours retirement is imminent.

"I knew my fella stayed and wouldn't stop in front so I kicked nice and early and he ran to the line. I was able to hear the crowd cheering so it was a very good feel factor," he said.

Asked about his reported plans to make next season his last, he added: "I said I might, it's a possibility, but I didn't say I was going to! Everyone's always asking me and anything is a possibility."

Champions Day hat-trick for Trueshan

Trueshan became the first horse to win the same race on Champions Day in three consecutive years as he battled gamely for Hollie Doyle to reverse last month's Doncaster result with Coltrane in the Long Distance Cup.

Trainer Alan King would have been miffed with that Town Moor setback and things certainly weren't smooth here either. Trueshan caused early interference to Coltrane and, entering the home straight, Doyle barged her way past Wordsworth - for which she picked up a ban - before a real battle with Coltrane all the way to the line as a head split them at the end of two miles.

"I felt the pressure today, but for the horse we wanted to get him back and that was a proper battle. Luckily he's got all winter to get over it and so have I!

"Hollie said at the furlong pole she thought she'd go away and win well, but Coltrane wasn't for stopping and he came back at us. Trueshan had to be right up there to hold him off."

Hewick lands American dream for Shark

Shark Hanlon watched Hewick win the American Grand National at Far Hills on Saturday and confirmed his plan is now to target the Gold Cup at Cheltenham with a horse that cost just €850.

Jordan Gainford kicked for home after the second-last and Hewick put daylight between himself and the rest to win with plenty in hand, making up for his final fence fall in the Kerry National last time.

Hewick is on quite a roll, winning the Durham National, the bet365 Gold Cup and the Galway Plate in the last 12 months. Now his ambitious trainer is plotting some winter rest before targeting the Cotswolds in March, where Hewick is 33/1 to win the Gold Cup.

"I loved the first thing Jordan said to me after the race. He came up to me and said, 'Shark, the horse didn't come out of second gear'," said the delighted trainer.

"He's not a slow horse. It's just for seven or eight strides in every race, no matter what trip it's over, he comes off the bridle, but he always finds plenty.

"We're going for gold now, it's all systems go for the Gold Cup. We have to have a crack now. I don't want to burn him out, so I'm going to back off him completely.

"He doesn't take a lot of training; it won't take a lot to get him fit for Cheltenham. I might run him over hurdles or something in February, but I might not. I'd have no problem going straight to the Gold Cup."

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