It's British Champions Day on Saturday at Ascot and, ahead of the Flat season finale, William Haggas was the hottest guest in town with Baaeed's farewell looming large.
Haggas gave an update on all his runners on a big day and talked about the superstar Baaeed, who will look to bow out unbeaten before he heads off to stud.
Getting William Haggas ahead of Baaeed's farewell was the major guest everyone wanted and he returned to What A Shout this week feeling the nerves as his stable star gets ready to try and emulate the great Frankel by winning the Champion Stakes (4.00) to remain unbeaten on his final appearance. Baaeed is to manage just that and he excelled tackling this trip for the first time in York's Juddmonte International in August. Amid all the nervousness, Haggas concedes it's an exciting time for his team.
"Looking forward to it," Haggas said of the big race "Little bit of nerves but pretty relaxed at the moment.
"He was very impressive at York; that was him announcing himself – if he hadn't already done so.
"I don't think the draw in stall one is too bad. He'll just follow them round and if he's got his usual turn of foot he should be able to travel strongly and then use it in the last furlong-and-a-half. That's Jim (Crowley's) department!"
Trueshan is 7/4 to retain his Long Distance Cup (1.25) in Ascot's opener but Alan King's charge was surprisingly beaten by Coltrane last month at Doncaster. York's Lonsdale Cup winner Quickthorn is 12/1 having failed to get some in the Prix Cadran at Longchamp recently, while 7/2 Irish Cesarewitch winner Waterville represents Aidan O'Brien and is joined by another exciting three-year-old in St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov at for Roger Varian.
Pat Cooney is going with the tried and tested course specialist.
"Trueshan is 2-2 here and soft ground at Ascot seems to bring out the best of him," he says. "No three-year-old has won this.
"Was it the greatest St Leger that Eldar Eldarov won? I'm not sure.
"When Trueshan won the Northumberland Plate he did it off 120, when Waterville won the Irish Cesarewitch, he did it off 99. That's 21lb the difference. The Ascot good-to-soft version of Trueshan should be good enough."
Next up is the Champions Sprint Stakes (2.00) where Creative Force is 7/2 to become the first repeat winner since the 1950s. Recent course and distance winner Rohaan is 9/2 while Charlie Appleby's hand is strong as 10/1 Naval Crown joins Creative Force. Commonwealth Cup winner Perfect Power is 10/1 to get back on the winning trail, while Castle Star has form ties with him from last season and returns to 6f for the first time this term.
David Jennings meanwhile suggests 6/1 Art Power – fourth in the last two renewals – is his leading Champions Day fancy.
"This is my strongest fancy of the day," said the Racing Post ace. "I'm pretty keen on Art Power for Tim Easterby.
"He ran a remarkable race in this last year – 5, 2 and 4 the first three home came from, he was out of stall 20 – he was only beaten two-lengths.
"The draw has been kinder to him this time. I think he's a very talented sprinter and he will be very hard to beat."
William Haggas labelled the Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (2.40) a 'classy renewal' as his 6/1 chance Sea La Rosa bids to sign off with a second Group 1 win in succession. The likes of Epsom Oaks second Emily Upjohn at 4/1 and fast-improving Godolphin filly Eternal Pearl at for Charlie Appleby will bid to extend a super recent record for three-year-olds in the race meanwhile.
Eshaada meanwhile is 9/1 to stage a repeat of her win 12 months ago for Roger Varian and Jim Crowley and David Jennings feels she is primed to reverse last month's Doncaster second behind John Gosden's improving Mimikyu, to win this.
"She was an unknown quantity going into the race last year. She really dug deep when she had to. Last time at Doncaster I don't think she stayed 1m6f, she was trading very short in running before Mimikyu outstayed her.
"I thought it was eye-catching, showed she's back in form and she's obviously been trained with this race in mind."
Frankie Dettori will be hoping that Inspiral can provide him with a Champions Day winner in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (3.20). She's only been beaten once in her career and won the Coronation Stakes impressively here this summer.
Surprisingly beaten next time in the Falmouth at Newmarket, she was back on track with a French Group 1 in August and comes here looking to cement a fine season for John and Thady Gosden in the Cheveley Park silks.
"He's a horse I like Pat, but he's not going to beat Inspiral. "This is the good thing of the entire card isn't it? Not Baaeed – we know he's going to win. This is a rock-solid favourite," proclaimed the What A Shout host.
David Jennings was in agreement as he added: "I think Inspiral is just better than these. I don't think it's a particularly good race. They are grand horses, but just about Group 1 horses really."
There are few flaws in his armoury, especially after proving himself at this trip last time at York. Pat Cooney suggests that with nine runners, punters can at least look around for value with three places to be filled.
"The each-way angle is going to be quite appealing to plenty people. In terms of how the race is run, Adayar is going to be trying to win the race with his stamina, he could be all or nothing if he tries to serve it up to Baaeed.
"I think both Dubai Honour and My Prospero can run well alongside Baaeed for William Haggas."