Friday, 1 November 2019

Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd November 2019: Drink to Vino’s Classic Success

It’s a real crossover weekend, with the British jumps season getting going in earnest while on the flat there is $30million in prize money to be grabbed across two days of the Breeders’ Cup in California.

This has led to a busy betting weekend, beginning with Britain’s first all-weather Group 1 on the tapeta track at Newcastle, with stakes to be kept small and shared out as appropriate.

Friday 1st November 2019

6.00 Newcastle (Futurity Trophy Stakes – Group 1) – KAMEKO

This track makes the Futurity the test it needs to be, and while there are a few in with genuine chances we stick with the selection form Doncaster, Kameko.

Andrew Balding’s colt seems almost sure to improve for this slightly more stamina draining trial, putting him at a level akin to a typical juvenile Group 1 winner.  Spectacular debut winner Kinross could yet be anything and rates a big danger, alongside Aidan O’Brien’s first-string Mogul.  The joker in the pack is Verboten, who could have gone for the Horris Hill or even a novice race on this card.

8.12 Santa Anita (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint – Grade 1) – A’ALI

While the European team is nowhere near as strong as it could have been this year, they may yet get off to a great start with Simon Crisford’s Royal Ascot scorer A’Ali.

A three-time Group 2 winner, this colt’s form only dipped when going on heavy ground and it’s thought Frankie Dettori’s mount will love these genuinely fast conditions.  While he’s drawn wide, he is in fact only three gates wider than Kimari and one away from Four Wheel Drive, probably his main rivals and both trained by Wesley Ward.

10.12 Santa Anita (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf – Grade 1) – DAAHYEH

Another turf race and another Royal Ascot winner; Roger Varian’s filly should love it round here and while this is a very competitive race, she should have enough under the savvy William Buick to score ahead of fellow European runner Albigna of Jessie Harrington’s yard.  Sweet Melania is arguably best of the home bunch.

Saturday 2nd November 2019

2.40 Newmarket (Montrose Fillies’ Stakes – Listed Race) – ALPEN ROSE

While she’d have a major chance anyway based on her close up third in the Group 2 May Hill Stakes, it’s hard to believe Alpen Rose won’t come on significantly again for this softer ground and so it would be no surprise to see her bounce out from her draw right up the fence and gallop them into submission.

The opposition is plentiful despite the size of the race; Run Wild, Celestial Object and Peraceful all looking capable of landing a blow at some stage.

3.15 Newmarket (James Seymore Stakes – Listed Race) – LORD NORTH

The Cambridgeshire winner, one who also went close in the Balmoral Handicap, seems to go through this ground no problem and will relish the step up to a mile-and-a-quarter.  John Gosden is absolutely not obliged to keep this horse going but clearly feels he can win again, which he can do at the expense of Air Pilot and Indeed.

8.10 Santa Anita (Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile – Grade 1) – OMAHA BEACH

While he had other options at the meet and his rival, Bob Baffert’s Improbable, is bound to recapture his very best form at some point this Omaha Beach really should have too much for this field.

Richard Mandella’s three-year-old beat Game Winner in the Rebel Stakes over an extended mile, won the Arkansas Derby over nine furlongs (from Improbable) and beat improving Grade 1 sprinter Shancelot over six furlongs last time.  He’s versatile, classy, has a great record at Santa Anita and may have found the perfect trip.

9.36 Santa Anita (Breeders’ Cup Sprint – Grade 1) – SHANCELOT

A quality race, one in which we stick with the Santa Anita/Omaha Beach form.  Shancelot was beaten last time, but by what I believe to be a very high quality colt and given what he achieved in the Amsterdam Stakes in July, as devastating 12½-length win in a fast time, we know this three-year-old is top notch and there’s no way we’ve seen the best of him yet.

Favourite Mitole is arguably better over further while the impressive Imperial Hint is drawn wide and could struggle from that birth, unless he gets a lightning start.

11.40 Santa Anita (Breeders’ Cup Turf – Grade 1) – OLD PERSIAN

A race British and Irish horses traditionally do very well in, and while there’s no Enable this year the trophy could once again come back to Newmarket.

Anthony Van Dyck is shorter in the market than the selection, but he won a substandard Derby and hasn’t really gone on from that it could be argued.  Main American hope Bricks And Mortar is a proper horse but he’s done all his winning over a mile-and-a-quarter and is more comfortable there, leaving the value selection being Old Persian.

Charlie Appleby’s runner ticks so many boxes.  A dual Group/Grade 1 winner, he stays the trip well yet can handle a sharper test now (Dubawi’s tend to get quicker as they get older), he has the experience of a 16-race career under his belt and yet could still conceivably run a career best.  Big chance.

12.44 Santa Anita (Breeders’ Cup Classic – Grade 1) – VINO ROSSO

The $6million main event is wide open this year and so with no truly outstanding candidate, it’s hard to know what form line to concentrate on most.

Favourite McKinzie’s form doesn’t stack up when running around here compared with elsewhere, unless the focus is on speed and not stamina which it won’t be this time, while Yoshida is rock solid but has been beaten in his last five Grade 1 races.

The most interesting form line then is that of the duelling Vino Rosso and Code Of Honor.  The latter was a promoted second in the Kentucky Derby and won the Jockey Club Gold Cup last time, but only after Vino Rosso was controversially disqualified having passed the post first.

Vino Rosso is only just coming to himself, has just run a career best and can improve again, so given the value on offer and the fact that three-year-olds have a bad record in this event, Todd Pletcher’s colt gets the nod.

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