Paul Callaghan’s Breeder Cup Preview – Friday 6th November
Despite my love for national hunt racing,
this is one of my favourite events on the calendar.
I think my fascination with the US flat racing developed ever since watching Lester, storm down the Belmont Park stretch aboard Royal Academy in 1990, winning the Breeders’ Cup mile on the turf. That fascination being cemented further, watching Ridgewood Pearl battle down the same stretch, to win the same race under Johnny Murtagh for John Oxx, five years later.
The first of 14 Breeders’ Cup World Championship races goes to post at 7:30pm GMT, at Keeneland and I cannot wait – so let’s take a bite sized look at the 5 championship races up for decision Friday.
7:30pm, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (Grade 2) over 5 furlongs 110yards.
Already I’m torn looking at the field. I am a huge Wesley Ward fan and a big fan of Golden Pal, who I’ve followed since watching him finish second on racecourse debut at Gulfstream back in April. He lost very little in defeat, when finishing second, behind The Lir Jet, in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, and was very impressive when scoring at Saratoga under Irad Ortiz Jr in September.
However, and it breaks my heart to say this, the high draw is a big cause for concern and because of stall 14, I’m looking elsewhere.
On form, taking Golden Pal out of the equation, it’s a pretty open looking affair. For me, at the prices, Golden Pal is too short, but Cowan looks an attractive proposition, for trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Ricardo Santana Jr from stall number 5. He’s one victory from four starts and was a good second, on his latest outing over course and distance, in listed company at the beginning of October.
He’s a hold up performer which I think the race is going to be run to suit as there looks to be plenty of pace on early, which I think will see Cowan staying on best to take the opening race of the Breeders’ Cup 2020.
8:10pm, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf presented by Coolmore America (Grade 1) over 1 mile.
This looks to be coming across the Atlantic, to either side of the Irish Sea, however, just be aware that in Ireland and England, horses are generally taught to jump sharp from the gate and then settle. In America, it’s jump and go. This side of the Atlantic, the middle section of the race tends to be the quickest, in comparison to racing in the US, it’s the opening two furlongs which are pretty fast.
That being said, I really like the Jessica Harrington trained Cadillac, ridden by Shane Foley. He finished fourth in the Dewhurst at Newmarket when last seen but was two victories from three starts, prior to that. The turf track is going to ride pretty quick by European standards, Cadillac is by Lope De Vega, so that would be a slight concern but he won a Group 2 Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ race at Leopardstown on good ground in September, so in my mind, that cancels out my “slight concern”!
8:50pm, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1) over 1 mile 110yards.
I think this is set to be a real cracker. Despite seven fillies going to post, there’s very little separating the top five in the betting. Girl Daddy trained by Dale Romans and ridden by Joseph Talamo gets the nod. The beautifully bred daughter of Uncle Mo is unbeaten in two starts. The horse that finished second to her on debut has franked that form since and the horse that finished second to her on her last run, has since finished second in a Grade 1 over course and distance at Keeneland. She was an expensive purchase as a yearling, who has justified that price tag to date and I think is too big of price to ignore here.
9:30pm, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade 1) over 1 mile.
This could well be a heart ruling head selection, I can’t shy away from another Wesley Ward runner! It’s not Royal Approval – though I wouldn’t discourage you from having an each way flutter at the prices, but it’s Campanelle ridden by Frankie Dettori, who gets the verdict. Her pedigree suggests that this is her maximum trip. She is related to 1 mile winners and hit the line strong, when scoring in France, on soft ground over 6 furlongs on her last run. With the turf track set to be riding fast, I’m siding with Campanelle to stay the mile trip and take the beating.
10:15pm, TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (Grade 1) over 1 mile 110yards.
Surely Jackie’s Warrior is the banker on Friday? Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Joel Rosario, the selection is a perfect four victories from four starts, which include two wins at Grade 1 level. He looked an absolute monster when making all to win at Belmont Park on his last run and I’m expecting something similar here!
Mike Smith is a notable absentee from the saddle at this year’s Breeders’ Cup, citing the lack of quality as his reasons. That’s incredible to think but shows how competitive it is just to get there. I hope he finds one or two good ones to take him to the Breeders’ Cup 2021.
It’s going to be fast and furious, with nine more Championship races to look forward to on Saturday. I wish all horses a safe trip round and the very best of luck to all connections, trainers, stable staff and jockeys, with a special cheer for our Irish raiders.
The stage is set at Keeneland and I cannot wait. The very best of luck if you’re having a bet and above all – enjoy the action!