Royal Delta seeks Breeders’ Cup hat-trick in Distaff
The Breeders’ Cup gets under way at Santa Anita Park on Friday with Royal Delta seeking a third consecutive victory in the Distaff. In 2011 she defeated It’s Tricky by a comfortable two and a half lengths and followed up last year by beating My Miss Aurelia by a length and a half.
She faces a tough task this year as she has to reverse the placings with her recent Beldame International conqueror Princess Of Sylmar. Apart from an early stumble, there seemed no obvious excuses for her that day and she has two lengths to make up on the winner.
Princess Of Sylmar won the Kentucky Oaks and has only been beaten once in her seven career starts when second to Close Hatches in April. That filly was only seventh in the Oaks but has won her last two starts impressively in the famous Juddmonte colours.
Gary Stevens partners Zenyatta Stakes winner Beholder for Richard Mandella who got within half a length of Princess Of Sylmar in Kentucky. The small but select field is completed by the consistent Authenticity and outsider Street Girl.
European runners have won the last two runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Marathon at this venue and have an each-way chance with London Ridge this year. Jo Hughes has won three races with the son of Arch and he was not disgraced when fourth in a listed race at Deauville last time out.
Our best hopes for the opening day look to rest with the juvenile turf races. Aidan O’Brien saddles two in the colts and geldings race with Giovanni Boldini (Ryan Moore) and Wilshire Boulevard (William Buick). Shamshon looks to have a tough task from a wide draw but Outstrip could prove the best of the Europeans.
The invasion force is even stronger for the fillies juvenile turf with Cheveley Park winner Vorda joined by Rockfel Stakes winner Al Thakhira and Fillies’ Mile winner Chriselliam. Vorda has been quite brilliant over five and six furlongs but now steps up to a mile for the first time.
Selections: 8.45 London Bridge (each-way), 9.25 Outstrip, 10.05 Golden Ticket, 10.50 Al Thakhira, 11.35 Royal Delta