Breeders’ Cup Turf: Flintshire can score for France
Flintshire ran a stormer to finish second in the Arc last time out and holds outstanding claims of going on better in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita tonight (10.22pm).
The Andre Fabre trained colt stayed on well from out of the pack to go down by two lengths to wonder mare Treve in the Group 1 Longchamp showpiece, finishing 1 1/4 lengths in front of Investec Oaks and King George winner Taghrooda.
The fourth home Kingston Hill had previously won the St Leger in good style, and there were a whole host of top class performers in behind.
It is form which sets clear standard in this, and Flintshire’s previous three runs this season had all been highly creditable efforts in the highest grade.
They included a fine two length second to Cirrus Des Aigles in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom, and a close up fourth to subsequent Champion Stakes victor Noble Mission in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
Flintshire also remains open to further improvement having had just 10 lifetime starts, and the four-year-old’s proven form at Group 1 level makes him the one they all have to beat in the hands of Maxime Guyon.
The main rival according to the betting is the Sir Michael Stoute trained Telescope.
The colt was soundly beaten on his first two starts this season by Noble Mission, albeit on soft ground which connection said didn’t suit, before winning the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in runaway style by seven lengths from stable companion from Hillstar.
The son of Galileo was then made to look very one paced when third to Taghrooda in his first try in Group 1 company in the King George, and is held by Flinsthire on a form line through the winner.
Telescope was also found wanting last time out in Group 1 company when a one-paced fourth to Australia, and whether he will have the tactical speed for this has to be questionable.
To me he doesn’t look a true Group 1 horse, and I can’t believe that he is so close to Flintshire in the betting as that rival has far better form to his name.
A bigger danger to the selection may well be ex-English trained Main Sequence.
The five-year-old finished runner-up to Camelot in the Investec Derby in 2012, and is a perfect three from three in Grade 1 contests Stateside since joing Graham Motion.