Simon Clare puts his Breeders Cup selections on the line
8.45pm The Breeders Cup Marathon
London Bridge is the sole European challenger in the Breeders Cup Marathon which is the ultimate war of attrition over one mile and six fulongs on dirt. It is very hard to see him figuring on his first ever race on this surface, although for those desperate to make a case for him, being a son of Arch it is not inconceivable he could take to it. It makes more sense to side with proven form and experience and the Argentinian raider Ever Rider and Indian Jones are the two I expect to fight out the finish. Ever Rider is going to try and make all the running which is very tough to do over such an extreme distance so I recommend a win bet on Indian Jones who has been in great form all year, will relish the trip and has looked magnificent in the mornings at Santa Anita all week.
Selection: Indian Jones to win
9.25pm The Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf
This is a race that the Europeans have dominated since its inception, and Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien have combined to win the last two renewals. The Moore/O’Brien combo to back this year is Giovanni Boldini and I see no reason why he won’t make it their third victory in a row. O’Brien has clearly worked out this race, as proved by the successes of Wrote and George Vancouver, and he selects horses that he believes will improve for the fast ground and tight bends unique to Santa Anita so Wilshire Boulevard should not be discounted either. There hasn’t been a harder working European horse than Outstrip this week in the mornings, which is very much the Godolphin way, and he sports the best form of the European challengers and is blessed with a perfect draw although there is a touch of the ‘afterthought’ about him turning up here which is a slight concern. Of the US horses the only horse to fear is Bobby’s Kitten, named after the great Bobby Frankel. He was mightily impressive winning the Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont and may well try to male all the running but I fully expect Giovanni Boldini to come with a withering late run under a Ryan Moore drive and take the prize. He is a confident selection.
Selection: Giovanni Boldini to win
10.05 The Breeders Cup Dirt Mile
If you are only interested in the European challenge at the Breeders Cup then swiftly move on to the Juvenile Fillies Turf, but if you are a fan of hugely competitive and top class dirt racing, or just fancy a bet on each Breeders Cup race, then the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile is as compelling as they come. Verrazano has shown unquestionable brilliance on occasions this season, none more so than when hosing up in the Haskell in July but he bombed last time out in the Travers and could find it hard to dominate this much bigger field where at least six other horses like to lead or press the pace. All the signs are that the Santa Anita dirt track will once again favour speed and horses running close to the pace, and in such an open contest, it may pay to side with a couple of horses at decent each way prices who will be suited by the way the race is likely to unfold. Brujo de Olleros a top class Uruguyan horse in his early days, remains one of the least exposed horses in the field and can post a major upset from a decent draw. His second last time out was tough and classy and I fancy him strongly. Alpha, at an even bigger price, can also run well from the perfect post position in seven. He has been banging heads in Group One company all his life but meets mainly Group 2 and Group 3 horses here, and his pressing style and undoubted stamina can see him go close for the Godolphin team.
Selections: Alpha each way and Brujo de Olleros each way
10.50 The Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
In Vorda, Chriselliam and At Thakira we have three of the best fillies in Europe, and easily the best challengers we have ever aimed at this Breeders Cup contest. Last year Flotilla won the race for France and went on to win the French 1000 Guineas and it is entirely possible that Vorda could well follow in her footsteps. She was very impressive winning the Cheveley Park last time out but her second the time before to the brilliant No Nay Never was an even better run. I think she will love the tight turns and the fast ground, will stay the trip and prove very hard to beat. I would love to see Chriselliam go well for Charlie Hills on his first venture to the Breeders Cup but her Fillies Mile win was a major shock and she may get down for a bit of tactical speed in this much sharper contest. Al Thakhira is also an exciting two year old but her inexperience (just two starts) and form only on soft ground just puts me off her. If there a local horse to upset the European applecart then Clenor might be it having moved from Ireland, where she ran over sprint trips, to the brilliant Doug O’Neill here in California. She has won 3 out of 3 on fast turf tracks at Del Mar (twice) and Santa Anita last time and is worth a few quid each way.
Selection: Vorda to win and Clenor small each way
11.35 The Breeders Cup Distaff
What the Breeders Cup Distaff lacks in quantity it makes up for in terms of quality. Royal Delta is back to attempt a historic three-peat having won this race at Churchill Downs in 2011 and here at Santa Anita last year. She may have been beaten last time out by Princess of Sylmar but her brilliant handler, Bill Mott, has been preparing her all season with this race in mind. Princess of Sylmar by contrast was on the Classic trail from October last year and though it was a successful mission as she won the Kentucky Oaks beating Beholder in May it is hard to believe she can still be at her peak whilst I am convinced the mighty Royal Delta will be. Beholder will go hard and fast and she loves Santa Anita where the pace holds up better than anywhere but I think she’ll ultimately crack against an older mare who is going to rewrite the Distaff history books tonight.
Selection: NAP Royal Delta to win