This year’s renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf is a real puzzle, but a chance is taken on TICONDEROGA who caught the eye at Keeneland last month. The Chad Brown trained two-year-old was beaten by a head by Good Samaritan in a Saratoga maiden when sent off a solid favourite. He was then sent to Keeneland and was given far too much to do by Javier Castellano, flying home to finish second to Keep Quiet who re-opposes at Santa Anita. If this horse is ridden much closer to the pace, there is no reason why he won’t be involved in the finish as he has a great finishing turn of foot. The only concern is the draw out in Stall 14 which is not ideal so the jockey will need to get out and cut across to grab a good early position. If he does that, he will be bang there come the line.
Ryan Moore takes the mount on the Aidan O’Brien trained Intelligence Cross who has received a good draw in Stall 8. This War Front colt looks sure to relish the rattling fast ground at Santa Anita and the War Front progeny also excel as two-year-old’s in the main. He won his maiden at the Curragh in June before chasing home the high class Mehmas at Newmarket over six furlongs. He justified favouritism in the Group 3 Round Tower Stakes at the Curragh in August before running a respectable fourth in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes behind The Last Lion on the Rowley course at Newmarket. There’s no doubt Aidan will have him spot on for this and he commands a lot of respect.
The shortest American challenger in the betting is the progressive Good Samaritan, a two-year-old colt trained by William Mott. He got the better of our selection Ticonderoga when they met in a Saratoga maiden in August and followed that up with an easy win in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes at Woodbine. He has a decent enough draw in Stall 11 and he is another with every chance. There shouldn’t be much between this horse and our selection once more though, so his odds don’t represent too much value in our eyes.
This is one of the most competitive races of the two day festival and another worth mentioning is Oscar Performance from the Brian Lynch yard. He bolted up by six lengths in the Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park last month and he wouldn’t have to improve much on that effort to get involved at the business end. Last, but certainly not least, Lancaster Bomber has been given a good draw in Stall 1 for Aidan O’Brien. Seamie Heffernan rides the War Front colt who produced a career best to chase home Churchill when second at 66/1 in the Dewhurst Stakes. If he can prove that run was no flash in the pan, he must have a massive chance and could look a bit of value at the prices.