Category Archives: USA

Breeders Cup Night Preview


Breeders Cup Juvenile: US Navy Flag 9/1 win

Breeders Cup Turf: Decorated Knight 9/1 ew 

Breeders Cup Classic: War Decree 40/1 ew

Churchill returns after The Irish Champion Stakes

The Classic is the richest race on the card and it is one in which Aidan O’Brien hopes to create a surprise to cap on his monumental season.

He runs two, War Decree and Churchill.

Churchill is on somewhat of a retrieval mission having been champion two year old and a dual Guineas winner however the latter part of the season has gone somewhat downhill. Aidan has said the run in the Champion Stakes has given him the encouragement to come here and have a crack on dirt against America’s best. In his trainers mind he retains all the ability he sees at home.

War Decree’s road to Del Mar has been very different. As a two-year old he beat Thunder Snow in the G2 Vintage Stakes and a lot was expected of him at the start of his three-year old season. He began it in April going off favourite for the Craven Stakes but he didn’t fire and was well beaten.

He then went to Chantilly for the French Derby where again he got beat when fifth behind Brametot. Ryan Moore described it as a much better effort than it seemed to the eye. He didn’t get a clear run and never got a chance to impose himself on the race but Ryan was satisfied the engine was there. Aidan has since said that is when the plan for Del Mar was hatched.

He was put away until the Diamond Stakes at Dundalk in late September. It’s a race Aidan has identified as good preparation for his aspiring Breeders Cup candidates whom he thinks will like a dirt surface. His past winners include Mastercraftsman in 2009 and Declaration Of War in 2012. The latter went on to contest this race in 2013 just getting beaten in a three-way finish.

The Classic is a race that has eluded Ballydoyle, War Decree and Churchill will try to put that right. Churchill has been on the go throughout a long season, it’s the fresh War Decree who could spring the surprise and outrun his odds.

He might just land it.

Decorated Knight has a look round after winning the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown

In the Breeders Cup Turf unfortunately Ulysses is declared a non runner on veterinary advise and Highland Reel is now a short price to defend his crown. Like last year you expect him to be ridden prominently and to boss the race. He might find Roger Charlton’s Decorated Knight coming late to pip him on the line just as he did to Poets Word in the Irish Champion Stakes.

US Navy Flag on Debut at Naas

US Navy Flag has come a long way since making his debut at Naas on the 1st of May. He runs here in the Breeders Cup Juvenile on dirt. He won his maiden at the fifth attempt but has since won the G1 Middle Park Stakes and G1 Dewhurst Stakes where he beat Mendelssohn comfortably . The Dewhurst form was given a considerable boost last night with Mendelssohn’s win in the Juvenile Turf. He’s got to have a great chance here if he handles the dirt.


Breeder Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1)


Happily 4/1 win

Happily & September, Reverse Forecast

Happily going out to win the Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown. 27th July 2017

The first race in the Breeders Cup series presents one of the best chances for the Europeans to score.

There’s a strong in depth team led by Aidan O’Brien’s Happily and her stablemate September. Aidan’s son Joseph sends Now Your Talking and Fossy Stack will be hoping his 2nd reserve Goodthingstaketime will get in if two come out. The English team is led by John Gosden’s Lady Capulet and Roger Varian is sending Madeline.

The Ballydoyle pair are led by Happily who took the G1 Moyglare Stakes over seven furlongs (September back in third) , Ireland’s leading juvenile fillies race. She then went to France and contested the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc day, France’s leading two-year old race, where she beat the colts over a mile. September followed up the Moyglare third going to Ascot for the G1 Fillies Mile where she was denied a nose by Laurens.

Juliet Capulet owned by Cheveley Park Stud won the Rockfel Stakes, a G2 at Newmarket over seven furlongs while Madeline ran third to Clemmie over six furlongs in the G1 Cheveley Park Stakes also at Newmarket with Now Your Talking a head back in fourth. If Clemmie were here she’d start favourite for this.

The American fillies can’t boast anything like the form of the Europeans at G1 level because the pattern racing programme doesn’t cater for two year old fillies on turf until this event. That doesn’t mean they can’t compete. Chad Brown’s pair Rushing Fall winner of the G3 Jessamaine Stakes over this trip and Significant Fall who beat Best Performance in the G3 Miss Grillo Stakes can’t be dismissed. In Canada Capala Princess did win the Natalama Stakes upgraded to G1 status this year where she beat Dixie Moon.

The Europeans will have the edge in experience at the level required however what will be new to all of them will be the tight turns and short straight common to American tracks. It’s more particular pronounced at Del Mar where the straight measures just 919 feet. They will also have to cope with a firm track something they won’t have come across either before.

There’s little between the Ballydoyle pair and they are both a cut above the rest.

In early summer when September won the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot she would have been ahead of Happily in the pecking order. Since Happily has had her behind on the two occasions they met, in the Moyglare and earlier in the Debutante Stakes.

The draw is a big issue here and wide is not where you want to be. Happily will break from gate two with September in ten. Happily’s win in France against the colts was very impressive, she had Godolphin’s Masar 1 1/2 L back in third who runs later tonight in the Juvenile Turf Mile. September also beat him 2  1/4 L in the Chesham and the line just came too soon for her in the Fillies Mile last time out.

Marginal preference is for Happily on account of the draw. If they can handle the turns (and the ground) then they can fill the first two spots.

Breeders Cup Turf (G1)


Found on her way out to contest the Irish Champions Stakes

Found is one of those rare things in flat racing, a mare the public have fallen in love with. It’s what she gives that his created this, her all.  She’s been second eleven times in her life but each time she tried her heart out. Her last three run’s have been the best of her life. At Leopardstown over 10f, short of her best trip she was the only one who could give Almanzor a run for his money. In the Arc over 12f her best distance, none could live with her and again at Ascot in the Champion Stakes she only went down to Almanzor’s wonderful turn of foot. No wonder the public love her so much. She’s here to defend her crown against another quality field.

Highland Reel leave the ring at Leopardstown for the Irish Champion Stakes

Highland Reel leave the ring at Leopardstown for the Irish Champion Stakes

Her stablemate Highland Reel presents the biggest threat. He comes here a little fresher. He was given a break since the Arc where he chased home Found and did not return to Ascot for Champions Day, the scene of his greatest triumph when he took the King George there in the summer.

They both will love the trip and ground and will produce an epic battle coming down the stretch. It will be one of head and heart with the heart to come out on top.

Recommendation : Found 3/1 win

                                         Found and Highland Reel RFC 


Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf (G1)

Lancaster Bomber on his way out to win his maiden at Leopardstown in August

Lancaster Bomber on his way out to win his maiden at Leopardstown in August

This is the tenth running of the Juvenile Turf and Aidan O’Brien will attempt to win it for the fourth time with Lancaster Bomber and Intelligence Cross representing Ballydoyle. Ryan Moore has chosen the latter leaving Seamie Heffernan to get the leg up on Lancaster Bomber.

Intelligence Cross is the higher profile of the two and will line up to face the starter for the seventh time. All his runs to date have been over 6 f and he’s troubled the judge twice so far winning a maiden at the Curragh and returning thereafter to take the G3 Round Tower Stakes. In between he was stepped into G2 company where he ran second in the July Stakes at Newmarket to Mehmas and then third to the same colt in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood. The fact that he ran in those two tells you he was held in high regard at home. He returned to Newmarket for his last run where he was again stepped up in class for the G1 Middle Park Stakes. He ran well to be fourth getting closer to Mehmas beaten a 1/2 L, with The Last Loin winning from Godolphin’s Blue Point in second.

Blue Point then contested Europe’s most important juvenile race the Dewhurst at Newmarket over 7 f. He ran third behind Churchill and the 66/1 shot, Lancaster Bomber. Going off at that price the expectation was Lancaster Bomber was there to set the fractions for his illustrious stablemate. He had been asked to play the same role in the Futurity for Churchill at the Curragh in August but wasn’t able to do so. He hung that day never acting on the yielding to soft ground falling away to finish last of four.

In the Dewhurst the price suggested a repeat the dose tactic for Lancaster Bomber, he was there to do a job for his illustrious stablemate Churchill. The expectation was he’d wind it up before folding in the final two furlongs. Once he hit the rising ground coming out of Newmarket’s famous dip he didn’t fold, he rallied and battled all the way to line only to give way to Churchill’s turn of foot.

It was the ground and step up in trip that was the key and it’s a crucial piece of form as it puts him ahead of his stablemate through the Mehmas line of form.

The further step up in trip here to a mile will certainly suit Lancaster Bomber. He has a high cruising speed and will have time to hit top gear. He’ll act on the fast surface as he did in his maiden win at Leopardstown and also in the Dewhurst. He’ll relish the chance to blow them away.

No harm doing the forecast either as Aidan O’Brien has made a bit of a habit of getting that up lately in G1 company.


Recommendation: Lancaster Bomber 8/1 win

                                        Lancaster Bomber and Intelligence Cross RFC