Our man in Kentucky has been looking at both the tracks and the horses ahead of the Breeders Cup this coming Friday and Saturday and we asked him to come up with a few points and thoughts on the British and Irish raiders. His recent tweets have showed us just how hard the rains are falling at Keeneland as they look to stage the meeting for the very first time, and although it is said to drain rapidly (if the rain ever stops of course), there is a concern that the ground will be very soft regardless of official reports, and put a real dampener on our chances of big race success in the American’s own back yard.
Hit A Bomb (Juvenile Turf – 7.30pm)
Still the favourite for a very competitive looking Juvenile Turf to kick us off, despite an awful draw out in 14 of 14. Shogun in the race too should help. Unbeaten but massive step up in trip here.
Cymric (Juvenile Turf – 7.30pm)
Recognisable name and looked well in his morning work for team Gosden. Doesn’t have the form to back up his price of 11/2 here though.
Shogun (Juvenile Turf – 7.30pm)
Presumably just a pace maker for O’Briens favourite, although he is a short price at just 10/1 best with the bookies. Ran poorly on Soft ground on his only previous try.
Birchwood (Juvenile Turf – 7.30pm)
Another for the boys in blues, he’ll handle the softer going better than most and is looking very well in himself. Could well lead home the Brits based on his best form that includes a defeat of Air Vice Marshall at Newmarket.
War Envoy (Dirt Mile – 8.10pm)
Sole European entry on the dirt. Competed in Breeders Cup Juvenile on turf last season, finished 12th. On breeding every hope he can handle dirt, but needs to improve on last run.
Alice Springs (Juvenile Fillies Turf – 8.50pm)
Likely the best of the three European challengers. Won a valuable sales race very nicely last time out and also has a decent third to Minding on her CV. However, whether she will handle softer going is a big question.
Illuminate (Juvenile Fillies Turf – 8.50pm)
Will be ridden by Frankie Dettori and is the best chance of the three, on paper at least. Holds wins at Royal Ascot and Newmarket plus a gallant 2nd to Lumiere in Cheveley Park Stakes, but stamina could be her issue with the stable worried, even before the rain.
Nemoralia (Juvenile Fillies Turf – 8.50pm)
Looked good in her work on Wednesday morning but has to build on a second to Nickname at Belmont Park (New York) to get involved in today. She does have American experience but form isn’t quite there.