Jamie Spencer shares his views on four exciting Breeders Cup rides
I ride Wind Fire in the Breeders Cup Sprint but it’s a very difficult race. She’s well drawn if she breaks as fast as she can in England although where that leaves her here I don’t know. But she’s normally a quick breaker so if she can get out and go forward that will be a help and we’ll see where we go from there. I would be delighted if she ran well but I wouldn’t be saying that I fancy her to win. I spent a winter here and I spent a winter in New York with Todd Pletcher so I’ve ridden plenty of races on the dirt back then. On dirt it’s the horse that keeps going the longest that wins. Nothing really quickens up on dirt it’s just a grinding surface so you need to stay well. On turf her best form is over five furlongs so there has to be a doubt about the trip but because of where she’s drawn you have to be open minded and ride her as if she stays forever, go forward and see where that takes her.
In the Breeders Cup Mile I ride Trade Storm. A lot of his form ties in with Kaigun who ran against Wise Dan last time which is encouraging. With Obviously in the race you know there’s going to be a helter skelter pace. Toronado is the key horse for the race. He’s got a nice draw and they’ve been riding him slightly differently this year, more positively, so he looks the one to beat. My horse is what he is. He runs to 115 basically every time. He’s fresh coming in here, he felt good this morning and he’s got an each way chance. Freddy Head has a brilliant record coming here so with Anodin you’d have to say he has a squeak too. It’s an interesting race and I’d be delighted if I get in the top three.
With Toronado when a horse has had well documented wind issues you don’t want to have to take him out of his comfort zone in a race, squeeze him to get a position and then try and hold that position. Horses that have had wind problems want everything to happen smoothly in a race so they can maximise how they use the air they take in over the first six furlongs. If you have to use them, squeeze them, and then try and fill their lungs up it can be a little bit harder. Look, he’s the best horse in the race on form and on figures but there is a doubt about him and given his draw he can’t just jump out and travel smoothly as he did at Ascot or in France last time. Hughsie will have to use him a bit early because the outside horses will be coming in on him and he’ll want to hold his position. At the end of the day he doesn’t want to drop out because he’s been ridden forward this year and they’ll want to do that here. Obviously is going to set a fast pace. Talamo lets him rip. It will be a very interesting race to watch.
Just The Judge is my best chance. Yes it’s a short time since she won in Canada. But number one, when she arrived here she weighed 495 and now she’s 504 kilos now and that was her racing weight when she won the EP Taylor. And number two, she’s eating. That’s the big thing about travelling. She wouldn’t be a huge grubber at home, she has two, two and half bowls of feed, but out here she’s having three and a half bowls of feed, and last night the guy came back to put her rug on and she had another half a bowl of feed. She’s thriving on the travelling. When you get horses that do that it’s a big advantage. She’s very fresh. She’s coming here on the back of a win.
Obviously Dank is the one to beat but she’s coming here off the back of not such a good run and a long layoff. You can never doubt Sir Michael Stoute but it’s different from last year where she came here off the back of winning the Beverly D. This year she’s coming here off the back of a disappointment. It’s a little bit of a different preparation. My horse has got less to prove. In Chicago I had a good draw but I just couldn’t get out. I wanted to go for home three furlongs out but the field just packed up and I was stuck there for ages. She likes to get out and get rolling and in Canada she was able to. In the spring she wasn’t running the way she’s running now and Charlie’s horses weren’t firing back then. She’s now right back to where she was in the spring last year and showing all that enthusiasm and freshness.
Statistically I’m well drawn as six or below is where you want to be. As I said to Sheikh Fahad we’ve got a 33% chance of winning the race as I’m in two and Secret Gesture’s in five. I’m really looking forward to riding her.
I’ve had one ride before in the Breeders Cup Classic, David Junior and I ride Toast Of New York in the race tomorrow. The draw is really important and I was delighted when he was drawn in nine. That was a big thing for me. It’s a huge unknown for him but the one thing he has is a lot of speed from the gate. He did it in Dubai and he has speed that you don’t need to use as he just gets in to his stride quickly. It was the same in the Pacific Classic where he got a good position. That’s where a lot of our horses struggle on the dirt because they can’t muster the early pace to get a good position. I hope he can break well, get handy, maybe out of the kickback a little bit, and take it from there.
Shared Belief is the one to beat and I’ve got ground to make up with him but it’s a different day and a different surface. My horse has still got to prove he can go on the surface. Tapeta is not like dirt but it’s a dead surface but as you saw in Dubai you had to be handy and grind away. Hopefully that will stand him in good stead. Before the UAE Derby he worked at Kempton with a sprinter and he worked so well that in Dubai I was worried he’d get the trip. It’s a big task for him but if he was trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velasquez he’d be second or third favourite. He’s a grinder. What I liked about Dubai is that he’d put the race to bed by halfway. He’s a lovely big horse. He’s been in training all summer and he’s 30 kilos heavier now than when he won in Dubai. He’s still maturing and progressing. Jamie Osborne’s done a good job to keep the horse up and he’s put on huge amounts of weight over the summer and bulked up. So he’s got a chance but there’s a huge unknown about the surface.
This is the sort of race every jockey wants to win. It’s different. Europeans just can’t do it. How many horses have won it? Raven’s Pass won on the synthetic. Arcangues won years ago. Swain nearly did it, Sakhee, Declaration of War, Giant’s Causeway, Ibn Bey all went close. So I’d love to win it. But I’d be happy if just one of my Breeders Cup rides could win.