BREEDERS CUP SPECIAL

FRIDAY 21:25 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (1m, 2yo) The first Grade 1 race of the 2016 Breeders’ Cup looks a tough race to crack, although it is worth noting that in the nine renewals so far it has been won on seven occasions by the Europeans. Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore have teamed up to win this race three times in the last five years so Intelligence Cross is the obvious starting point despite the fact that so far he has only contested races over six furlongs. He quickened away nicely inside the final furlong for both of his victories and looked to have enough left in the tank to go the extra distance he will encounter here, although both wins came on good-to-yielding ground. Aidan O’Brien also runs Lancaster Bomber who won a maiden on good ground over seven furlongs and ran an excellent second to Churchill in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes when last seen, again on good, fast ground. Of the two the trainer runs, preference would be for Lancaster Bomber despite Ryan Moore’s record in this race. Good Samaritan is unbeaten in two and won the Summer stakes, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, with the fastest time recorded since the race moved from dirt to turf in 1962. He’s already finished ahead of a couple of today’s rivals and looks to be one of the stronger US options in the race. Mark Casse trained last years’ runner up Airoforce and his runner Keep Quiet has followed the same route this year, winning Challenge race The Bourbon Stakes en route to Santa Anita. He has won two of his five races but was beaten in to second by rival Made You Look on penultimate run and the two look closely matched. Oscar Performance has won his last two by wide margins and was a very impressive winner of the Pilgrim Stakes last time out, leading the whole way round and pulling clear to win by over six lengths. A similar performance would likely see him in the mix, however it is worth noting that most winners of this race have come off the pace with the front runner being reeled in inside the final furlong. As noted originally this looks a very difficult race to be overly confident in any selection, however I am going against the stats and opting for Big Score who was an impressive course and distance winner in the Zuma Beach Stakes last month, racing three wide before making up good ground on the final bend and showing a great turn of foot to put the race to bed in just a few strides. He may not have contested at the highest level as yet but had Harbour Master and Bowies Hero in behind that day and with winning form over course and distance looks a decent each way bet to begin proceedings. Big Score (E/W)

22:05 Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (1m, 3yo+) Hot favourite Dortmund hasn’t won in three attempts this year but this doesn’t tell the full story as on all three occasions he has been beaten by California Chrome. Going back through his career, he has only been beaten by California Chrome, American Pharoah and Beholder so deserves his place at the head of the market and looks tough to oppose despite the short price. The Dirt Mile has only been won by two favourites but both these returned odds-on prices (Goldencents in 2014 and Liams Map in 2015) so not only does the short price look justified but in truth he really should take all the beating. Tom’s Ready beat Runhappy in the Ack Ack Stakes and although that was Runhappy’s first run of the year and first attempt over a mile i’m surprised to see such a big difference in price between the two, with Runhappy currently second favourite at around 5/1 yet Tom’s Ready available at double figure odds. One concern I would have with Tom’s Ready is that he usually follows up a decent performance with a disappointing one next time out, while i’m not convinced Runhappy wants a mile so i’m happy to pass on both. Gun Runner has won some decent Grade 2 & 3 races but has so far come up short at the highest level, with two placed efforts from three at Grade 1 level. Being beaten by the likes of Arrogate and Nyquist is no disgrace but he was beaten fair and square on both occasions so is likely racing for minor honours today. Tamarkuz hasn’t won since notching up a four-timer at Meydan in early 2015 but has ran well in defeat the last twice, finishing second behind Anchor Down and A.P Indian and well clear of the rest of the field on both occasions. Given the uncertainty over the above mentioned rivals he looks a decent each way option for anyone not keen on the price of the favourite. Dortmund (WIN)

22:50 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (1m, 2yo) This looks to be another really tough race to be overly confident about any selection as all of the market principles have questions to answer. Intricately showed great determination to turn the tables on both Rhododendron and Hydrangea and win the Moyglare Stud Stakes at a tasty price of 25/1 when last seen in September, however there has only been one winning favourite from eight renewals of this race and with Intricately recording both wins on ground with a bit of give she wouldn’t be a confident choice to see off all her rivals here on likely faster ground. Aidan O’Brien sends Group 2 winner Roly Poly who finished a short head behind Brave Anna last time out but looks the more likely of the two to see out the extra distance here as Brave Anna has done all her winning over six furlongs and has been well beaten twice over seven furlongs (behind Intricately, Rhododendron and Hydrangea on both occasions). She will love the ground but its a tough ask to win a Grade 1 at the first attempt over a mile, stepping up from six furlongs, so she is passed over today. Spain Burg has won four from five and looks to have the best form of all runners and although a little off-balance when encountering the dip at Newmarket in the Rockfel Stakes but ran on well and looked to beat Frankel filly Fair Eva with a little bit to spare. Of all the aforementioned runners she looks the most likely to come out on top yet in such a competitive race the price isn’t overly enticing. The Grade 1 Natalma Stakes and Grade 3 Miss Grillo stakes have both had winners who have gone on to win this race so both Victory To Victory and New Money Honey are worthy of a second look. Both coming wide to find a clear passage before powering away to win impressively they look capable of making their presence felt and are offered as reasonable each way alternatives to the market principles at double figure odds. Victory To Victory (E/W) New Money Honey (E/W)

23:35 Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff – Dirt (1m 1f, 3yo+) Beholder is one of the few horses to have won two different races at the Breeders’ Cup, winning the Juvenile Fillies in 2012 before returning in 2013 to win this race. Despite being unable to compete due to illness in both 2014 and 2015, she finally returns to the Breeders’ Cup to challenge for a third BC crown. With seventeen wins from twenty five career runs she is already considered one of the very best and it would be no surprise to see her run another big race here before going on to enjoy a very well-earned retirement. She renews rivalries with Stellar Wind whom she beat in the Vanity Mile Stakes earlier in the year but has had to settle for second to the four year old Curlin filly the last twice and last years’ Distaff runner-up will no doubt give her a great run for her money again today. The one they all have to beat though is Songbird who is yet to taste defeat in eleven career runs, somehow seemingly improving with each victory and winning with an average margin of over five lengths. She won last years’ renewal of the Juvenile Fillies by almost six lengths and has shown a fantastic cruising speed and great power and stamina to fend off any rivals that have tried to serve it up to her. Despite winning multiple Grade 1 races you have to think the likes of the aforementioned rivals will provide her toughest test to date, yet despite this she is very difficult to oppose and deserves her place at the head of the market for the final race on day one of the Breeders’ Cup. Songbird (WIN)

SATURDAY 19:05 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (1m 110yds, 2yo) Noted And Quoted could only manage fourth in the Del Mar Debutante Stakes, behind Union Strike and Champagne Room, but was never asked to extend by her jockey and improved for the step up to todays’ trip to win the Chandelier Stakes Challenge race here at Santa Anita last month (a race the Songbird won last year en-route to this race). By comparison Union Strike was all out to gain victory over the seven furlong trip in the Del Mar so may struggle with the extra distance she encounters here. Yellow Agate and Sweet Loretta both arrive with 100% career win records while Dancing Rags is unbeaten on dirt and all three won Challenge races to gain entry to todays’ race, while American Gal is also unbeaten and hardly broke sweat when winning the Anoakia Stakes but takes a big step up in distance having only raced over sprint distances to date. Of the four mentioned above, Dancing Rags is the only one proven over todays’ trip having won the Darley Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland last month but for me the one to take out of that race was runner up Daddys Lil Darling who got caught too far back before running on really strongly to go down by just a length. A winner of her two prior runs, including Challenge race The Pocahontas Stakes, she looks sure to give a good account for her trainer who has had four placed runners in the last eight renewals of this race. Daddys Lil Darling (E/W)

19:43 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (1m 2f, 3yo+) The Filly and Mare Turf has only had one winning favourite from the last nine renewals however on all six previous runs at Santa Anita the winner has returned at single figure odds. This years renewal features the 2014 and 2015 winners of the Juvenile Fillies Turf, with 2014 winner Lady Eli currently at the head of the market. The fact that she is even here is a minor miracle after suffering from laminitis, a potentially life-threatening hoof condition, in the summer of 2015. Her long-awaited return in August this year saw her finish a very respectable second before going on beat Sentiero Italia and Sea Calisi in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Stakes last month, taking her career record to seven wins and a second from eight runs. The 2015 Juvenile Turf winner, Catch A Glimpse, had won seven in a row before two somewhat disappointing runs and arrives here with a bit of a point to prove. She is a huge price considering her record racing at the highest level and it would be no surprise to see her put in a much improved performance but her last run was almost too bad to be true and with seven runs already this season she may have to settle for minor honours. The shortlist for this race is completed by Seventh Heaven who won four from five over the summer, including the Group 1 Irish Oaks and Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks, where he beat the subsequent L’Arc De Triomphe winner Found by almost three lengths. After a short break he returned to Ascot for British Champions Day but was given an uncharacteristically difficult ride by Ryan Moore and could only manage fifth. Aidan O’Brien’s three year old is much better than that performance and Ryan Moore rarely makes the same mistake twice so while the heart wants to go with Lady Eli my head tells me Seventh Heaven should bounce back to winning ways. Seventh Heaven (WIN)

20:21 TwinSpires Sprint (6f, 3yo+) The Sprint has traditionally been a decent race for favourite backers with eight winning favourites from the thirty two renewals, however when this is broken down there has only been one winning favourite from eight when the race has been held at Santa Anita and with four runners all vying for the head of the market this becomes a difficult stat to try and measure against. First up is six year old A.P. Indian who has won his last five races including two Challenge races, setting track records in both the Phoenix Stakes over six furlongs and the Forego Stakes over seven furlongs. Of the four market principles A.P. Indian is the only one who hasn’t yet encountered the Santa Anita track but has finished in the first two in fifteen of his seventeen career runs and for me looks the one the rest have to beat. Bob Baffert has trained the winner of the Sprint on four occasions and was scheduled to run two of the first four in the market. The first was Lord Nelson who unfortunately has been ruled out due to an infected cut. The second is Drefong who has won four of his five career races and won a Grade 1 at the first time of asking in August. At three years old, he takes on his elders for the first time here but has looked good enough to be able to make his presence felt. Masochistic is the final one of the original four and is the early favourite over in the US. He has only had two runs in 2016 but was a wide margin winner on both occasions and runs well fresh so the two months break shouldn’t be an inconvenience. Trainer Ron Ellis has been quite vocal in his belief that his six year old is primed to run a big race here, however it is worth mentioning that he didn’t fare well in last years’ renewal, finishing last. A.P. Indian (WIN)

21:05 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (6f 110yds, 3yo+) With three winning favourites from the eight renewals you could be forgiven for just sticking your money on the market leader and hoping for the best. In the US markets the early favourite is Pure Sensation who disappointed in this race last year but didn’t have the clearest of passages and he arrives here following back-to-back victories. He’s managed to draw stall one again which would have to be a concern following last year but nevertheless he should be capable of a better performance. The UK markets have Aidan O’Brien’s Washington DC as favourite who has a solid career record on turf, making the frame in ten of his thirteen runs. Of these thirteen he has only managed to win three and all of these came at Listed level, coming up short on a number of occasions at Group level, so its a little surprising to see him at a relatively short price. Mongolian Saturday won this race last year so deserves a mention and returned to form to win the Woodford Stakes last month, following a less than impressive season up until that point. With eight wins from thirty six career runs he hasn’t been the most consistent and has never managed back-to-back victories so so doesn’t inspire much confidence that he’ll be able to win again here. Of the remainder Green Mask and Undrafted both ran good races to finish third and fifth in the 2015 renewal. In the absence of a stand out bet and uncertainties over the market principles it isn’t a race to go mad on so for me it will just be a small each way on Green Mask who has had another consistent season having made the frame in five from seven and looks too a big price considering her exploits in this race last year. Green Mask (E/W)

21:43 Sentient Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (1m 110yds, 2yo) This race looks to be an extremely competitive race as four of the eleven scheduled runners arrive unbeaten. The race itself has been held at Santa Anita on eight occasions with the favourite emerging victorious twice and six of the eight Santa Anita winners having won on their previous run. We’ll begin by looking at Classic Empire who is already proven over the trip, running a faster time when winning the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity than Nyquist ran in last years’ renewal of the Juvenile. With three wins from four and such a commanding performance in the Futurity he has to feature high on anyone’s shortlist. Gormley upset firm favourite Klimt in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes with a strong front-running performance to win by over three lengths and take his career wins to two from two. Based on that run, even if Klimt races closer to the pace, I see no reason why he should be able to reverse the form so of the two preference would be for John Shirreff’s runner. Not This Time won the Grade 3 Iroquios Stakes by over six lengths to gain his place here, following a ten length demolition of his rivals over a mile on penultimate run. There was a lot to like about his front-running performance over the mile but he proved to be versatile in terms of running style by sitting further back in the Iroquois before asserting on the bend and opening up a nice lead in a matter of strides. Three Rules has won all five of his career races to date by a combined total of thirty one lengths and has winning form over the trip. This will be his first attempt at Graded level but deserves his chance based on performances so far this year and could sneak a place. As can be seen with the above review of runners there are a number who appear to have real chances. At the prices i’m tempted to have a small each way on Three Rules and think that Classic Empire could prove to be the class horse in the race, but am opting for Not This Time as my main selection as he has been the most visually impressive in his runs, is proven over the trip and looks like he could adapt to however the race is run to ensure he’ll be right in the mix at the business end. Not This Time (WIN)

22:22 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (1m 4f, 3yo+) The Breeders’ Cup Turf has been a happy hunting ground for European runners with Aidan O’Brien winning the race on five occasions, Sir Michael Stoute emerging victorious on four occasions and jockeys Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori each winning four times. Found bids to become the third Turf champion to defend her crown and given the successes of both trainer and jockey in this race, plus the fact that she seems to put in her best performances at this time of year, you would have to think she is in with a fighting chance. However she has already had nine races since April, seven of those at Group 1 level, and there is always a chance this will start to catch up with her. Ulysses was only mid-division in the Derby at Epsom in June but returned after a short break to win a Group 3 race over the trip and only just failed over a shorter trip last time out. Sir Michael Stoute has booked Frankie Dettori for the ride which makes him a very interesting runner. Highland Reel is Aidan O’Brien’s second runner here and is no stranger to winning on his travels having won the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin and the Secretariat Stake at Arlington last year and was last seen running an excellent second to stablemate Found in L’Arc De Triomphe. Given a month to recover from his exertions and with fewer races under his belt this season the four year old looks a decent bet to reverse the form with Found. Flintshire rarely seems to run a bad race and was runner up to Main Sequence in this race in 2014, yet often found himself playing bridesmaid when racing at the highest level (ten career seconds from nineteen runs). This all seemed to change with a move to Chad Brown and three straight wins helped instil a new-found confidence, until last month in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes when he was beaten by six lengths at odds of 1/5 by Ectot. He didn’t run a poor race but did seem a little flat and had no answer to Ectot’s powerful finish. Based on that performance he may struggle to reverse the form here. Highland Reel (WIN) Ulysses (E/W)

23:01 Breeders’ Cup Filly And Mare Sprint (7f, 3yo+) Of all the Breeders’ Cup races this is the one that I am least excited about, which is a bit of a shame as the likes of Groupie Doll and Judy The Beauty have won it in recent years yet to me there doesn’t seem to be anyone of that calibre in the race this year. That said, we do have Chad Brown’s Wavell Avenue who won last years’ renewal at odds of 10/1, coming off the pace to eat up the ground and beat La Verdad by almost two lengths. She has only managed one victory since and has finished behind rivals Paulassilverlining, By The Moon, Carina Mia and Haveyougoneaway already this season but her form on the lead up to her victory last year wasn’t anything special and the fact she returns to attempt to defend her crown makes me think she’ ll be primed for a big run. Chad Brown also runs Irish Jasper who won Grade 2 TCA Stakes last month and contenders of this race usually go on to a decent run here. Her victory wasn’t as visually impressive as some of her rivals recent wins but she showed a good level of determination and was well on top at the line so could be good enough for a place at likely each way odds. Haveyougoneaway has already beaten a number of today’s rivals in her last two races and will likely sit off the pace again before asserting coming in to the straight. These tactics have served her well and she’ll be closing in fast at the line so early odds of around 5/1 will appeal to some as an each way shot to nothing with the real possibility of her grabbing the win. Haveyougoneaway (WIN)

23:40 Breeders’ Cup Mile (1m, 3yo+) The Breeders’ Cup Mile has been the best race of the whole meeting to follow last year’s winner. Wise Dan, Goldikova, Lure and Miesque all recorded back-to-back victories in this race and this year sees Tepin return to attempt to add her name to the above list. Her eight race win streak came to an end when only second last time out, but the winner Photo Call (who re-opposes here) raced in to a ten length lead and despite not being given a hard race Tepin still closed the gap to three lengths at the finishing line. She’s had a few races already this season but has been given a month break following this defeat and from a stats point of view 50% of all winners of this race came in to it on the back of a loss last time out and I like her chances of retaining her crown. This race, particularly when ran at Santa Anita, has also been good for winning favourites with five from eight emerging victorious and even when the favourite hasn’t won the winner has always been prominent in the market so both Alice Springs and Limato need to be considered. Alice Springs finished runner-up in the Juvenile Fillies Turf last year and arrives to contest the Mile in top form having won The Sun Chariot Stakes on British Champions Day to make it three Group 1 victories from her last four races. Aidan O’Brien also runs last years’ Juvenile Turf winner Hit It A Bomb but he has somewhat disappointed since and therefore Alice Springs definitely looks to have the better chance of the yards two runners. Henry Candy’s Limato has won eight and placed in four from thirteen career runs, with the only non-placed effort coming on his only previous attempt over a mile trip so the fact that he is entered here rather than the Turf Sprint makes him a somewhat interesting runner. There is no doubt he is a top class performer but with doubts over his ability to last over this trip I would have to say his price looks a little short to me. Tepin (WIN)

00:35 Breeders’ Cup Classic (1m 2f, 3yo+) The Classic is the final race of an amazing two days of Grade 1 racing and without meaning any disrespect to the rest of the field this looks to be a straight duel between the two market principles California Chrome and Arrogate. Bob Baffert has trained the winner of the Classic for the last two years and in Arrogate has a genuine contender to try and gain a hat-trick of victories. Only third on debut Arrogate has since won four in a row, culminating in the setting of a new track record when winning the Travers Stakes by thirteen lengths last time out. His performance was nothing short of spectacular, made even more impressive by how easy he made it look. California Chrome was third in this race in 2014 but has looked better than ever this year and has already beaten the likes of Dortmund, Beholder and Hoppertunity with relative ease. His performance in the Pacific Classic was as effortless and impressive as Arrogate’s performance in the Travers and if both arrive ready to run to the same standard this could be some battle. The favourite doesn’t have a great record when the race has been held at Santa Anita with just one winner from eight, however I think that California Chrome will be able to buck that trend here. He looks stronger than ever, has a decent draw and has the experience to be able to cope with possible forceful tactics and relative youth of Arrogate. California Chrome (WIN)