The Breeders’ Cup Turf is the second richest race of the two day Championships with a stunning prize fund of $4,000,000. This is the ninth running of the race here at Santa Anita and a race that has worked out very well for the American runners who generally love the hard fast turf surface. The horse that has to be at the top of the shortlist is Flintshire from the Chad Brown stable. This horse is a proven top class performer on this type of surface, as shown when finishing second to Main Sequence in the race here at this track in 2014. He has a sublime turn of foot and already has the beating of Ironicus on the form book. He had an off day when finishing 5 lengths behind Ectot at Belmont Park last time out, but the ground was good to soft that day and he will be back to his very best this weekend. He’s the one they all have to beat.
Last year’s winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf is the majestic Found who comes here after winning the Arc de Triomphe for Ballydoyle, the world’s most prestigious race on turf. She will have to change a statistic if she is to win this race; an Arc winner has never won the Breeders’ Cup Turf afterwards. She is ultra consistent and hardly ever runs a bad race – six wins and 12 places from 20 runs, simply incredible. She found Almanzor too good in the Champion Stakes at Ascot over 1 mile 2 furlongs when last seen and the worry is that she has had a long tough season, but she deserves to take her chance and if any horse is to put it up to Flintshire, it is her. She owes Aidan O’Brien nothing, so as long as she comes back safe and sound – that will be the main thing.
The other Aidan O’Brien runner in the field is Highland Reel and we all know how much this horse loves quick rattling ground. Aidan has a terrific record in this race; he has won it five times already. Highland Reel hacked up in the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington last season on firm ground. This globetrotter showed his resilience and versatility when also landing the Hong Kong Vase, beating Flintshire in the process. He won the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot during the summer and ran a cracker in the Arc de Triomphe to finish second. He should be a bit fresher than Found and with conditions right in his favour, he looks the horse that will give Flintshire the most to think about.
Ulysses is only a three-year-old so is light on the experience front whilst he also lacks a win at top class level, his best victory coming in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Goodwood. He was turned over by Chain Of Daisies in a Windsor Group 3 when last seen, so it would be rather disappointing if he were good enough to win this, even if Sir Michael Stoute is adamant that the horse has huge ability. The other horse worth a mention is Ectot who it seems has been given no respect by the bookmakers after beating Flintshire by 5 lengths last time out. He does, of course, have to prove that run was no flash in the pan and the general consensus is he caught Flintshire on an off day. However, he still warrants a good deal of respect off the back of that performance, regardless.