UK and Irish Hopes for the Breeders’ Cup

Horses training on the main track at Santa Anita Park, 28/10/19

There are few better race meetings on planet earth than the Breeders’ Cup. Inaugurated in 1984, it has expanded to a two-day event featuring thirteen Grade One races. The event this year is held at California’s Santa Anita Park for a record tenth time, a course at which UK and Irish trainers have never returned home empty handed.

UK and Irish contenders landed three of the races in 2018 when it was held at Churchill Downs. Here’s a look at the main raiders this time around.

It’s a bumper weekend of racing over in the US and at home. There will be nine races on ITV on Saturday, for which we’ll have all our usual tips and analysis. Be sure to check out our American Racing Tips for our Breeders’ Cup selections.

Friday

20.12 Juvenile Turf Sprint

Simon Crisford quickly identified the Turf Sprint as the target for his colt A’Ali after winning the Flying Childers at Doncaster in September. That was his third Group Two success already, including the Robert Papin and the Norfolk at Royal Ascot.

He’s lightning quick, a definite positive for racing in the US where gate speed is all important. Furthermore, he has the perfect man onboard with Frankie Dettori. He has ridden fourteen winners at the meeting, the fourth most and the highest amount by a non-US jockey.

20.52 Juvenile Turf

Eight of the twelve renewals since its inception in 2007 have gone the way of UK and Ireland. A P O’Brien has won a record four contests, all partnered by Ryan Moore. He landed the race with Mendelssohn in 2017 and has a great chance this year with Arizona.

The son of No Nay Never has performed with credit in Group Ones since winning the Coventry at Royal Ascot. He’s chased home the superstar Pinatubo the last twice, only beaten two-lengths in the Dewhurst when last seen. A repeat of that would land him the spoils.

22.12 Juvenile Fillies Turf

Domestic entries dominate with half of the fourteen runner field trained our side of the Atlantic. Ireland holds a strong hand with Jessie Harrington’s Albigna, who landed a first Group One success with ease in the Marcel Boussac last time out.

That was on her first start over a mile, and there should be plenty more to come from her. Roger Varian’s Daahyeh tries this trip for the first time, last seen staying on gamely to land the Rockfel at Newmarket.

Saturday

22.20 Mile

Won in 2018 by Sir Michael Stoute’s Expert Eye, the best hope this year comes in the form of O’Brien’s Circus Maximus. He’s turned into a high class animal since returning to this trip after failing to stay in the Derby.

He already has two Group One successes to his name. A winner of the St. James’s Palace at Royal Ascot, he clung on to score in the Prix du Moulin last time out. He looks sure to be involved.

23.40 Turf

The penultimate race is worth nearly £2,000,000 to the winner. We’ve tended to dominate this contest, with seven of the last ten winners originating from the UK or Ireland. That looks set to continue this year with two of the first three in the market trained domestically.

O’Brien has trained six winners of this contest, including Highland Reel and Found. He has a strong hand with Anthony Van Dyck. The colt thrives on quick ground, landing the Epsom Derby on good-to-firm. He showed plenty of that level of form when third to stablemate Magical in the Irish Champion Stakes last time out.

Charlie Appleby’s Old Persian similarly suffered from a mid-season dip, however he looked back to his best when landing a Canadian Grade One in September. If building on that, the Sheema Classic winner has to have a great shout of further international glory.

Be sure to make use of all our free bets and offers over the weekend, as well as our tips including our NAP Of The Day.

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