We have a real mixed bag this week with Flat action in Britain and the US where the 35th Breeders’ Cup takes place at Churchill Downs which promises to be simply unmissable, while over the jumps the season really gets going with the running of the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.
Friday 2nd November
9.22 Churchill Downs (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf – Grade 1) – LINE OF DUTY
Likely favourite Anthony Van Dyck has been sitting at the top of next year’s Derby betting for a while and there’s no doubt he is a classy juvenile. Finishing runner-up to the outstanding Quorto at the Curragh and running third to Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst have shown what he can do.
However, those runs also show that he is not the very best of his age group and from gate 14 after a busy enough season he could be vulnerable to the underestimated Line Of Duty of the top quality Charlie Appleby yard who is improving hand over fist. A European 1-2-3 may well be completed by Royal Ascot winner Arthur Kitt.
Saturday 3rd November
2.35 Newmarket (Montrose Fillies’ Stakes – Listed Race) – MANNAAL
Simon Crisford is quite rightly making a great name for himself as a trainer in his own right this season and his once-raced Dubawi filly promises to come on plenty from her debut win at Nottingham, something that may see her take this pattern race.
It’s hard to say how good a performance that was but she certainly won the race easily enough which could mean her being good value to beat Ya Hala of Charlie Appleby’s yard. Gospel and Mistress Of Love look best of the rest.
2.40 Wetherby (Charlie Hall Chase – Grade 2) – DOUBLE SHUFFLE
All the talk this week has been about Thistlecrack (non-runner) and all the money has been for Black Corton, however during all of this I couldn’t take my eye off Double Shuffle for this race and in what is now a small affair numbers-wise he represents great value at anything around 3/1 for a King George runner-up.
3.10 Newmarket (Seymour Stakes – Listed Race) – COLLIDE
At the time of writing the forecast odds for Hugo Palmer’s horse are around 12/1 which looks absolutely ridiculous to me and on that basis he has to be backed to some small level.
A real improver and winner of 3 of his 5 starts, Collide has only been beaten on his debut and on bottomless ground at Ayr but came back to storm away with an ordinary handicap at Nottingham. He loves this sort of surface, gets plenty of weight and can possibly outpoint Willie Mullins’ True Self.
6.04 Churchill Downs (Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf – Grade 1) – WILD ILLUSION
Chad Brown’s Sistercharlie is the main hope for the home team and while her form is admirable, strictly speaking the level she is running to does not match up to that of Wild Illusion and as a four-year-old she has to give our filly 4lbs which really should prove too much.
Round these bends the 1m3f trip should suit Wild Illusion down to the ground and after watching her excel in Europe at 1m2f she should once again have too much for Magic Wand with Fourstar Crook an attractive price for the same trainer as the likely favourite.
7.36 Churchill Downs (Breeders’ Cup Mile – Grade 1) – EXPERT EYE
Although the expected rain this week in Louisville is perhaps not greatly welcome, the generally fast track, tight bends and slightly warmer temperatures allied with a training programme that basically says “we’re now all in” should all mean we can see what would be in my opinion a third Group/Grade 1 win from this horse, though a first in name.
In winning the Vintage Stakes as a juvenile and the Jersey Stakes this summer it was clear Sir Michael Stoute’s Acclamation colt is top notch at his best but rarely does he get race conditions to suit. A career best is possibly on the cards now under Frankie Dettori and with that he can defeat I Can Fly and French raider Polydream.
8.56 Churchill Downs (Breeders’ Cup Turf – Grade 1) – ENABLE
Many horses have come to either the Turf or the Classic after winning the Arc and almost all have failed, so why take a short price about Enable? The main answer is that, apart from her being sheer class, she will be having only her third start of the season and is fitter now than at any point in her career.
The failures of the past have come at the end of very long and tiring seasons however if Enable is at her best, which I expect her to be, she is 10lbs better (all things considered) than Magical and even more so than Waldgeist who may be more of a threat for Andre Fabre than last year’s winner Talismanic.
9.44 Churchill Downs (Breeders’ Cup Classic – Grade 1) – THUNDER SNOW
A European trained winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic is such a rare thing with only John Gosden and Andre Fabre having achieved the feat in 34 runnings of this $6 million affair.
Thunder Snow however has long been aimed at this and is about to peak right now not for the season, but for his career. He, like rival Mendelssohn a year later, had a mare in the 2017 Kentucky Derby here but otherwise his dirt record is spotless.
He demolished the Dubai World Cup field in March in a performance that was naively and cruelly downplayed by most in the racing media and having come back undercooked to finish second in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Cup at Belmont he is now raring to go.
Accelerate is hot property for this race but his standout effort is his 12 length Pacific Classic win which perhaps flattered him and from gate 14 he is now vulnerable. Mckinzie is an improving three-year-old who is ready to move up the ranks while Roaring Lion may yet heroically throw it down to his rivals one more time.