01:33 - Santa Anita Preview & Tips
Washington DC and Suedois will do battle for the European backers, but it is the ex Aidan O’Brien trained OBVIOUSLY (12/1) who can land the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Saturday night. The eight-year-old gelding by Choisir ran three times in Ireland, winning twice, before jetting off to America to be trained by Mike Mitchell. He is now in the hands of Philip d’Amato and although he has had plenty of racing, he seldom runs a bad race and he has some good form in the book. He chased home Wise Dan when third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile here at Santa Anita in 2012 and finished fifth to the same horse in the race a year later. Another fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile followed, but he is a multiple Grade 1 winner and he was third to Mondialiste in the Woodbine Mile Stakes last year – a quality contest. He was, once again, tried in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last year, but finished only ninth to Tepin, so finally connections have realised he needs a shorter trip at the Championships. The last time he ran over this trip was here at Santa Anita back in 2012 and he won. He has plenty of natural speed and he should appreciate the drop back in trip, whilst this is easier opposition to what he is used to this time of year.
The Aidan O’Brien trained Washington DC certainly has to enter the equation judged on his recent form. This three-year-old Zoffany colt might be up against some older and more experienced rivals, but he has plenty of scope for improvement and has some rock solid form in he book. He was a solid fifth in the July Cup behind Limato over 6 furlongs in the summer at Newmarket before going down by a neck to Take Cover at Goodwood over the minimum. He was a no-show when well down the field in the Nunthorpe Stakes behind Mecca’s Angel, but he produced a career best to finish second behind Marsha in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly and if he can build on that, he could be the one they all have to beat. This has been a race dominated by the Americans in recent years, but he is well worth his place in the field for very shrewd and powerful connections.
Pure Sensation is another horse that is very high on the shortlist. The Cristophe Clement trained five-year-old is bidding to land his fourth race on the trot after victories at Belmont Park (2) and Parx. He finished eighth in this race behind Mongolian Saturday last year, so clearly has work to do on that performance. However, he has thrived this year and looks a different horse. Chad Brown is always a trainer to keep on the right side of and he runs A Lot here. This four-year-old was behind Pure Sensation when fourth in the Grade 3 Invitational Stakes in June, but Chad always leaves a bit in the locker for the big day, so don’t be surprised if you see a massive run. He was a good second to Tourist in Grade 1 company last time out which was a big step in the right direction.
Last year’s winner Mongolian Saturday has not had a good 2016, well beaten on his first four starts of the year, including Newmarket when he made a bid at the July Cup. He got back on track with Grade 3 success at Keeneland last time out, but he would be extremely hard to back confidently for all he has to be respected. Last, but certainly not least, Undrafted is worth a solid shout. Wesley Ward’s six-year-old was fifth in this last year, but he has been rather disappointing since. His trip to Ascot was not fruitful and he was well behind Mongolian Saturday last time out. However, if he settles (quirky horse) he has enough speed to figure at the business end.