Thursday 5 November 2020

Friday 6th & Saturday 7th November 2020: Head North to Kentucky

We have a real clash of the codes this week, with the Elite Hurdle taking place at Wincanton in which Sceau Royal’s speed between flights might prove crucial, while on the flat in the States it’s the $31million Breeders’ Cup in Kentucky.

Friday 6th November 2020 

8.10 Keeneland (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf – Grade 1) – CADILLAC

Friday evening, UK time, is Future Stars Friday at the Breeders’ Cup as the five two-year-old races take place on a quality card.

While there are some strong locals here including Gretzky The Great and especially the main danger to the selection Mutasaabeq, it could be a familiar European turf win with Jessie Harrington’s Cadillac favoured.

Only 4/1 to win the Dewhurst last time on unsuitable ground, he has form with Mac Swiney and he demolished Van Gogh and looks a real Group 1 type. New Mandate, Public Sector and Battle Ground are also possibilities.

10.15 Keeneland (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – Grade 1) – ESSENTIAL QUALITY

It was my belief that but for injury, Godolphin’s Maxfield would have won this race last year and possibly the 2020 Kentucky Derby too.

This year, their Essential Quality is following the same path having landed the Breeders’ Futurity over this course and distance and has remained in one piece!

The grey’s win last time on just his second start was expert and, unlike many Group/Grade 1 types even as juveniles in the States, he has improvement to come at this stage. Favourite Jackie’s Warrior is solid and is feared most, ahead of Rombauer.

Saturday 7th November 2020

2.05 Doncaster (Gillies Stakes – Listed Race) – BORN WITH PRIDE

This is a competitive fillies’ race on paper over the mile-and-a-quarter trip, one that at Doncaster is fair for all and so even in soft conditions should ideally allow the cream to rise.

With that in mind, last year’s Listed race debut winner Born With Pride could belatedly prove how good she can be as a three-year-old. William Haggas’ Born To Sea filly can handle this ground and should appreciate being brought back in trip.

This season she has rather let connections down, but it could be that this is her time of year and in ideal racing conditions she looks far too big a price. Trefoil, Moll Davis, Freyja, Chamade, Anna Nerium and Zahratty are all very close in behind so places are very much up for grabs.

6.18 Keeneland (Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile – Grade 1) – ART COLLECTOR

Every horse is allowed one blip, and so Art Collector being available at around 8/1 seems crazy anyway and even more absurd when you consider his latest fourth place was achieved in the Preakness Stakes.

Previously, the son of Bernardini was showing plenty of improvement over nine furlongs in winning the Ellis Park Derby and the Blue Grass Stakes here. This mile now appears to be ideal.

Art Collector has beaten top three-year-old yardsticks Swiss Skydiver, the subsequent Preakness winner and second-favourite for the Distaff on this card, and Attachment Rate both easily and has a huge chance here.

Likely favourite Complexity is next best along with Knicks Go and last year’s Preakness winner War Of Will who is also overpriced.

6.57 Keeneland (Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf – Grade 1) – TEREBELLUM

The home team is strong here, Rushing Fall and Mean Mary fancied every bit as much as Aidan O’Brien’s Irish Guineas winner Peaceful, but it could be that it isn’t Ballydoyle but Clarehaven that produces the main European challenge.

John Gosden runs his solid Group 1 filly Terebellum in this race, and with the trip down to 1m1½f this year in quick conditions the race could be ideal for the Dahlia Stakes winner.

Terebellum was excellent against the boys when just being run out of the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot, while the ground beat her when she was third to stablemate Nazeef in the Falmouth Stakes. Her class may truly tell here under Frankie Dettori at a tempting price.

8.15 Keeneland (Breeders’ Cup Mile – Grade 1) – KAMEKO

This is one of the properly elite races on the card with One Master, Ivar and Uni all possessing real top-level form and all can have their say.

The best one-mile European form often comes to the fore in this race though, and it’s unlikely this year that Siskin, Circus Maximus and Kameko will all be run out of it and so the winner should come from that trio.

Siskin has a great turn of foot and the Irish 2000 Guineas winner and Sussex Stakes third should enjoy things here. Ahead of him that day was Queen Anne winner Circus Maximus who will have his say again, but the unlucky horse at Goodwood as we know was Kameko and he has long been targeted at this event.

Winner of the 2000 Guineas in a quick time, Kameko is at his best now after a taking Joel Stakes win giving away weight. Even without Pinatubo and especially Mohaather this is tough, but he would be a fitting winner of this race for Andrew Balding and he backed to be so.

9.33 Keeneland (Breeders’ Cup Turf – Grade 1) – LORD NORTH

John Gosden knows how to get the job done in the Breeders’ Cup, the former California trainer realising that European-trained horses so often stay just a little further here than at home.

As such, look at the bare form of Lord North’s wins in the Brigadier Gerard, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the Juddmonte International over 1¼ miles rather than the race distance here (1m4f) and you can see how I think class will tell.

Lord North has an excellent turn of foot which will be crucial in these conditions around tight turns on firm ground, and he can beat home the arguably overworked Magical, her stable companion Mogul and the unbeaten in 2020 Tarnawa.

10.13 Keeneland (Breeders’ Cup Classic – Grade 1) – IMPROBABLE

The $6million showpiece event. So often, three-year-old’s only win this race when they are genuinely top-class Triple Crown winners and/or are trained by Bob Baffert, but this year leading sophomore Tiz The Law is garnering lots of support.

The brilliant Belmont Stakes winner is second-favourite for this, stuck in between three Baffert horses at the top of the market and while he has no doubt had a rest and been prepped really well, he may just have bumped into an improving, genuine top-quality four-year-old in the shape of Improbable.

Baffert’s colt was tipped up you may remember right here for the Awesome Again when he was second-favourite behind stablemate Maximum Security who is in opposition again, but while he has to step up another furlong at Keeneland his class should get him home as he is obviously becoming the best dirt horse in the world.

The third of Baffert’s runners is Authentic, another winner for us in the Kentucky Derby no less, with Tom’s D’Etat being the other who statistically has a decent chance.

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