BREEDER’S CUP CHAMPIONSHIPS SELECTIONS
Ciaran Taylor @littledarkone11
DAY 1 BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE SPRINT
TWILIGHT JET 7/1
Twilight Jet has landed himself the plum draw which, given the tight turning nature of the Del Mar track, should give him every chance of finding a handy position, close to what I imagine will be a seriously quick early tempo. He’s quick from the gate and seems to relish a fast pace, he’s got some fascinating form to his name, finishing not far off of the high-class Perfect Power on two occasions and could prove a very potent force!
GO BEARS GO 20/1 E/W
Go Bears Go somehow arrives here massively under the radar... The colt opened his account in fine style at Ascot on debut before missing out by a head to Perfect Power in the Norfolk, who chinned him on the other side of the course and he subsequently took the Railway Stakes on his first step up to 6f. He’s since finished 3rd in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes, beaten a length, then 4th in the Middle Park, again beaten just a length, before not quite appreciating the step up to 7f in the Dewhurst. This is a big drop in trip but he’s shown plenty of pace in the past, and if he arrives here on his A-game, he should be bang there... Can’t be ruled out!
BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES TURF
HELLO YOU 8/1
Hello You makes her first step up to the mile trip today and having taken the Rockfel so impressively last time out, she could well do better for it, however, it’s a risk as she’s shown lots of speed in the past so it’s no certainty that she’ll definitely improve for it. My logic is that if she can get a strong toe-in here, which given the nature of American racing is almost inevitable, she might just be able to use her change of pace to pick them off late in the closing stages. It’s considered an easier mile than most and she seems at home on a faster surface, so I think the daughter of Invincible Spirit has got a great chance from stall 6.
CALIFORNIA ANGEL 22/1 E/W
I’ve put up Hello You as my stronger pick but it’s not necessarily the strongest UK hand we’ve had here so it might just pay to chance an American-bred at a price... I’d give California Angel a vote of confidence given the way she took the Jessamine at Keeneland last time out, mowing down the field in the stretch despite coming widest of all to do so. She’s in 14 of 14 which is far from ideal but given she’s bound to be dropped in, it’s not the end of the world. She’s got lots of late speed which could be handy here and I really hope she’ll be coming late for what could be a fantastic story for connections!
BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE TURF
MODERN GAMES 9/4
Modern Games has only ever ran over 7f and looked as good as ever when streaking clear to beat the likable Trident on good going in the tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket. He’d previously handled a quicker surface when bounding clear in similar fashion in handicap company at Donny but arrives here giving the firm impression that there’s even more to come! He’s been allotted stall 1 which gives Buick options and despite seeming so at home on the lead - given his antics last time out, I actually imagine he’ll be happy to settle just in behind the pace to save his efforts for swinging in for home. You’d also imagine that Charlie Appleby will have some gage on where he is in comparison to the talented Native Trail, and given Dubawi Legend followed that colt home in the Dewhurst, I like to think they have an idea in their heads over how Modern Games might compare, and I personally feel that the market confidence behind the Godolphin colt speaks volumes... He’s a versatile type and should give a proper account of himself. Exciting!
DAY 2 BREEDERS’ CUP FILLIES AND MARES TURF
Despite having looked like she had the world at her feet after beating the re-opposing Audarya in the Prince Of Wales’s, with improvement seemingly imminent, it’s not been the smoothest of sailing for Love this season. She subsequently finished 3rd in the King George and filled the same placing in the Juddmonte International, comfortably beaten on both occasions. Last time out, down in grade, she was just pipped by the greatly improving La Petite Coco in the Group 2 Blandford Stakes at the Curragh. For all that it was something of a disappointment at the time, she actually put up a valiant effort, shouldering a penalty over an arguably sub-optimal trip against an up and coming 3-year-old. Ballydoyle haven't had their most productive season but could well be coming into a touch of form and she looks like arguably their best chance of a winner this weekend. With her fondness for a fast surface and strong pace, she lines up here with almost the perfect conditions and if on song, it really is hard to look past her! Huge chance.
BREEDERS’ CUP MILE
SPACE BLUES 9/4
Space Blues has fast become one of the most likable horses in training, with a high cruising speed and electric turn of foot, while also looking at home on all surfaces, he seems to possess very few flaws. The colt was last seen floating to victory across the rain-sodden ground at Longchamp in the Prix de la Foret. It wasn’t the strongest of races in terms of depth but the same could arguably be said for here, with a handful of possible improvers being the only real threat to this wonderful 5-year-old. The mile would normally be a question mark, which seems daft because he has a win over a mile to his name as a 2-year-old, but that was a VERY different contest. However, given its ‘easy’ nature, he should be absolutely fine, with a favourable draw and chance to get plenty of cover, I find few reasons as to why he can’t replicate something like his effort in France. Serious weapon on his day!
MOTHER EARTH 8/1 E/W
At a bit more of a price, Mother Earth grabs my attention having produced some very good form in filly-only company this year and the way she ran on in the QEII last time out in red-hot company. She’s already taken the 1,000 Guineas and Prix Rothschild (above) at the top level on very different surfaces, but she looked arguably as good as ever last time out despite the stable’s form being well off of its typical rhythm. She has seemed to fair best over a straight mile and this is a very different test, so it’s not a given that she’ll love it, but there’s a lot of class under that bonnet and she could well prove up to the task.
BREEDERS’ CUP TURF
Tarnawa had her heart broken (and mine) at Longchamp but it sounds like Dermot Weld knew her chances were scuppered when those last showers hit, and yet despite that, she still only went down by the finest of margins in what was an absolute thriller of an Arc! Thankfully, this season they haven’t added many miles to her clock and she arrives here something of a warm order to secure the Breeders’ Cup Turf double under Colin Keane.
It’s been well documented that she’d been campaigned for the autumn but I do worry that those last two starts may have left their mark, finishing bang there in arguably two of the races of the season. And the Arc was always their number one target so could this be a bit of an afterthought? Will she be 100% right? I don’t know. However, I’m still inclined to believe she’ll be at her magical best come Saturday evening (UK). She handled the firm at Keeneland last year in what I think was a better renewal, and she’s happy to be dropped out so the draw shouldn’t cause TOO many problems, for all that having to start in the car park is far from ideal. I truly believe she’s a special mare, and this could just be the opportunity for her to justify my faith in her! A proper animal with a proper engine.
BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC
ESSENTIAL QUALITY 3/1
If I had to nail my colours to a mast in the Classic it would be to Essential Quality’s. He was a tad unlucky in the Kentucky Derby for me, doing a hell of a lot of work out wide throughout and I think it was only through sheer toughness that he was able to finish as close as he did. However, since then, he’s not failed to get his head in front, winning two Grade 1’s and a Grade 2 carrying a penalty. He’s not the flashiest and he won’t go out there and win by a mile, but he has this knack for grinding down his rivals and getting his head in front where it matters. As long as his stablemate doesn’t get a free go of it up front, I think this lad has an exceptional chance of making it a Breeders’ Cup double having won the Juvenile so impressively last year. Set to be another special Classic and I cannot wait!