BREEDERS CUP PREVIEW 2014 (FRIDAY)

The Breeders Cup returns to Santa Anita for a repeat of last year’s renewal. This is still a very sharp, tight circuit even by US standards and speed will definitely be favoured.

All times are local (Jamaica) times. The turf track is expected to be firm; the dirt track fast.

 

THE JUVENILE TURF (Grade 1; 8f; turf; 2yo c&g; US$1 million; 4.25 p.m.)

UK trained runners have won all four of these races run at Santa Anita with Aidan O’Brien winning in 2011 and 2012 while Charlie Appleby landed the race with Outstrip last year for Godolphin. The US form is best represented by the Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes 1st, 3rd and 4th in #11 Imperia (116lbs), #8 Offering Plan (2l 3rd; 118lbs) and #10 Startup Nation (3 1/4l 4th; 122 lbs). Over this half furlong shorter trip and all at level weights, the 3rd, Offering Plan, is expected to turn the tables on the winner (who came with a late burst after trailing Offering Plan with a furlong to go). Both Offering Plan and Imperia are less exposed and have more scope for improvement than Startup Nation who won two from two before regressing somewhat in the Pilgrim.

But they could all fall prey to European raider #9 AKTABANTAY who had a horrid trip in the Group 1 Grand Criterium (Longchamp; one mile; firm) yet ended up only 2 1/2l behind Gleneagles. In a race with a guaranteed suicidal early pace from the fancied ones who are all drawn low (including Royal Ascot’s Windsor Castle Stakes winner #5 Hootenany ; Group 3 Newmarket Autumn Stakes winner, #4 Commemorative; and course and distance winner #3 Luck of The Kitten), expect the skill and patience of the great Olivier Peslier to make all the difference.

JUVENILE TURF SELECTION: #9 AKTABANTAY

THE DIRT MILE (Grade 1; 3yo+; 8f; dirt; U$$1 million; 5.05 p.m.)

Last year’s winner #1 Golden Cents (tipped up then by ye humble scribe) will be howling favourite to successfully defend his crown and has a plum draw but he’s a year older and won’t have things his own way up front. The likes of #3 Vicar’s in Trouble and #8 Fed Biz should make things uncomfortable enough on the headline. The two to concentrate include Chilean import #7 Bronzo who has won 11 of his 19 lifetime starts in Chile including the Grade 1 Hipodromo Chile over 9f by 9l. He has won his races in Chile as he likes and there’s no telling how good he is but #9 TAPITURE has the perfect profile to win this event. Less than 3l off the leader at the quarter pole in the Kentucky Derby, he has only had 3 races since winning the Grade 3 Matt Winn by 2l; the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby by a nose from Candy Boy (Vicar’s in Trouble 2l 3rd) before running 2nd by 5l to Bayern in the Grade 2 Pennslyvania Derby. He’s fit and fresh and will relish the hot early pace.

DIRT MILE SELECTION:  #9     TAPITURE (Rosie Napravnik rides)

 

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF (Grade 1; 8f; turf; 2yof; US$1,000,000; 5.50 pm)

With Chriselliam’s win last year, Europe has now won two of the five runnings of this race at Santa Anita (2009; Flotilla being the other) and it looks like a fight for credit in 2014 as #6 SIVOLIERE, formerly trained in France by Jean-ClaudeRouget, will have her first run for Chad Brown. She’s unbeaten (3 for 3) on fast turf and this daughter of champion Sea the Stars seems sure to enjoy this step up to a mile. Dangers lurk among the lower drawn fillies including Richard Hannon’s #2 Osaila, the mount of Frankie Dettori, who won the Group 3 Oh So Sharp at Newmarket on last and the unexposed and most progressive #4 Lady Eli who stepped up markedly on her debut win to defeat Tammy The Torpedo (re-opposes) by over 4l in the Grade 3 Grillo Stakes at Belmont. She will be flying in the finish.

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF SELECTION: #6 SIVOLIERE

QUINIELA/EXACTA BOX OF THE DAY: #6 SIVOLIERE/#4 Lady Eli

 

 

BREEDERS CUP DISTAFF (Grade 1; 9f; dirt; 3yo+ fillies & mares; 6.35 pm)

The Ladies’ Classic! Although last year’s winner, Beholder (another winning selection from ye olde Touty), isn’t in the line up she’ll have a significant impact on the outcome. First and foremost, Kentucky Oaks winner #10 Untapable, 5/2 on the morning line, flopped big time in her sole start at Santa Anita (last year’s juvenile fillies); is very badly drawn; and is very poor value in a competitive renewal. She is the LAY OF THE DAY!

#11 Close Hatches, 2nd by 4 ¼l to Beholder at levels last year, will be well fancied and has won four of her five starts this year including three Grade 1s but she has done all her winning in New York; was a disappointment in the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland last time out when not able to dominate; and is also poorly drawn. Definite preference is for the unexposed #2 TIZ MIDNIGHT (NAP OF THE DAY) whose form has been steadily progressive since winning her maiden by 11l here over 8.5f then winning two on the synthetic track at Del Mar before staying on determinedly to be 3/4l 2nd of 5 to Beholder (gave 2 lbs) back here over 8.5f on last. She’ll absolutely love this step up to 9f and is a confident pick.

DISTAFF SELECTION: #2 TIZ MIDNIGHT (NAP; Victor Espinosa rides)

Good Luck!

THE TERRIBLE TOUT

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