Racing: Baileys' success breeds reward: The horse who may prove himself the brightest star in the Classic firmament will be allowed to blaze just a brief but brilliant trail

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MISTER BAILEYS, the horse with acceleration like a rocket from a milk bottle, is now likely to take the course of a Bonfire Night missile. A brilliant yet brief career.

As Mark Johnston's colt builds up to perhaps the race of the season, the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood two weeks tomorrow, plans are already being discussed for his procreative future. And the disturbing news for those who like to witness excellence on the race-track is that the better Mister Baileys runs this season, the less likelihood there is that he will appear next year.

The breeders' tentacles have felt their way to Johnston's Kingsley House stables already and the suckers appear to have stuck to them the message that Mister Baileys should be retired at the peak of his powers.

'It was very easy when he was a 10 grand horse to say he would definitely race at four,' the trainer said yesterday. 'But now he's a pounds 1.5m horse it's a different story.

'It's a British attitude about people being frightened of defeat. Once a Classic winner is valued people are more concerned that defeat will knock money off his value rather than more wins making him more valuable. So, understandably, the stud owners and the agents who might be syndicating him are more worried about the prospect of him getting beaten.

''In America your value goes up every time you win a big race and it doesn't fall again. There, a horse is judged on his best performance; here he is judged on his worst.'

There is room to argue about which has been the most impressive run by Mister Baileys: either his track- record-breaking victory in the 2,000 Guineas or his exit-on- the-shield fourth in the Derby over a distance palpably beyond his compass.

There have been some great losers this summer (which have appealed to other British attitudes), including Ivanisevic of the blunderbuss serve and the so-nearly Nigerians against Italy, but Mister Baileys' Epsom effort was perhaps the most impressive performance ever by a horse that did not finish in the first three.

As the bay colt stretched up the straight on 1 June, there were few who thought he was doing little more than extending the tautness of an elastic band that would soon snap him back to the rest of the field. Mister Baileys never did spring back to them all, however, and galloped courageously to the line on diminished reserves.

'He got more credit for coming fourth in the Derby than any horse has ever done,' Johnston said. 'The most impressive thing when you look at the race is that when they turn round Tattenham Corner a lot of the jockeys have got their sticks out. Nobody really knew he would stop when he came into the straight.

'What gives me the biggest thrill from the Derby is watching the rest of the field, including Willie Carson, who was pushing the head off Erhaab. While our horse is literally just cantering, there are so many under the whip with half a mile to go.'

Since Epsom, Mister Baileys had had it easy. For the first two weeks, while his stablemates were issued with gallops instructions, he was tossed a towel for laps of the pool. The firm ground in Yorkshire has limited the regime to just one fast canter and it is likely that Mister Baileys will have a racecourse gallop at Ripon before he returns to a mile at Goodwood (Ladbrokes reported strong support for the horse yesterday).

There seems little problem in coming back to eight furlongs as, from now on, Mister Baileys will be allowed to race as he likes, bowling along from the front. He is a horse, like Bill O'Gorman's former sprinter Brondesbury, who does not take kindly to tactical nuances. 'I'd hold him up on the gallops behind a lead horse,' the Newmarket trainer once said. 'But he'd just end up galloping over the top of him.'

Johnston said: 'The only thing we have to avoid with this colt is what we did in the Dante (Stakes, at York) - putting the brakes on. If you keep stopping the horse you don't get the best out of him.'

The Sussex Stakes apart, this modus operandi will be seen later in the year in either the Champion Stakes at Newmarket or at the Breeders' Cup. If he wins either, it will probably be the last we see of Mister Baileys.

SUSSEX STAKES (Goodwood, 27 July): Coral: 4-1 Mister Baileys, 9-2 Bigstone, 6-1 Distant View & Grand Lodge, 8-1 Lure & Turtle Island, 10-1 Barathea, 12-1 Mehthaaf & Sayyedati, 14-1 First Trump; Ladbrokes: 4-1 Bigstone, 5-1 Mister Baileys, 6-1 Barathea, 7-1 Distant View & Grand Lodge, 8-1 Lure & Turtle Island; William Hill: 5-1 Bigstone, 11-2 Distant View & Grand Lodge, 6-1 Lure & Mister Baileys, 7-1 Barathea & Turtle Island, 12-1 First Trump, 14-1 Sayyedati.

Robert Brazington will today face a Jockey Club disciplinary committee inquiring into the poor condition of three horses found at the trainer's Gloucestershire stable by investigators in March.

(Photograph omitted)

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