O’Brien Has Found A Worthy Favourite
There’s a feast of action this Saturday with the opening Grade 1 of the season over jumps at Down Royal, the last major flat meeting at Santa Anita as well as Aintree and Doncaster staging decent cards.
Donoghue To Keep Going
In the absence of Davy Russell as well as Bryan Cooper and Jack Kennedy, Keith Donoghue is making the most of his opportunities and has a fine ride at Down Royal on the Grade 1 winner Zabana, who should start off the season on a winning note.
Andy Lynch’s stable star would not have been out of place in the feature Grade 1 at Down Royal but instead Lynch has opted to go down the second season novice route in the Titanic Belfast Chase and it looks a good option.
That said, Zabana will be taking on Outlander, who he was 23-lengths behind early last season. But on better ground he reversed that form and although both are likely to improve for the run, a recent outing at Leopardstown will hopefully give Zabana the edge.
Prize Money To Mop Up
Unlike the Irish November Handicap (which takes place in October), the English equivalent fits more suitably into the calendar and on Saturday it will be run on unseasonable quick ground at Doncaster.
Last year’s winner Litigant is back for more and right down at the very bottom of the handicap Wrangler makes appeal for William Haggas. But the selection is Godolphin’s somewhat aptly named Prize Money who is picked to take home the lion’s share of the £80,000.
A first Emirates Melbourne Cup may still elude the boys in blue but Saeed Bin Suroor may well be able to claim the final big handicap of the British season with this son of Authorized who is hooded for the first time.
The three-year-old gets a 6lbs allowance and also has apprentice George Wood taking a valuable 5lbs off.
He’s a horse who really does have some decent form in the book, most notably when finishing second behind Hawkbill at Royal Ascot so 10/1 looks a decent price for him.
O’Brien Has Found Another One
Bobby Frankel’s record now looks a bridge too far for Aidan O’Brien this season but on a night when he has many decent chances at Santa Anita, Found has to be the best of them.
There’s no doubt that if Found had been running in a race of this calibre a month ago there would be reason to be even more confident as after three tough assignments in winning the Arc and finishing second in both the Irish and English Champion Stakes, there has to be a concern that they might have taken the edge of her.
But last year she was able to take in all four and win at Keenland so hopefully this year she can make it a second win at the Breeders’ Cup as she approaches retirement.
O’Brien has suggested that Japan or Hong Kong could also be on her radar and maybe even both but on pure form and ability she is a very worthy favourite in the Breeders’ Cup Turf on Saturday evening.
Although currently a 2/1 shot, it might pay to be patient as she is a filly that the bookmakers might be happy to take on and hopefully that proves to be a foolish call on their behalf.
Zabana 4/1 – 3.05 Down Royal
Prize Money 11/2 – 3.35 Doncaster
Found 11/4 – 10.22 Santa Anita
*Prices correct at time of publication.