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Arlington Million Day

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Great chance of Irish success in Chicago as Ballydoyle throw three good horses at the Arlington’s big annual meeting.

First up in the Listed American St Leger is Eye Of The Storm. He’s a winner over the 16f trip already when beating Missunited (since a winner of the Lillie Langtry and 3rd in the Ascot Gold Cup) last year at the Curragh and comes here after a nice confidence booster when beating Roheryn in the Ballyroan (G3) last time out at Leopardstown.

Opposition seems light with last years winner Dandino not firing in the Hardwick Stakes or the Princess Of Wales Stakes this year. Suntracer second last year went down to The Pizza Man in the prep for this, The Stars and Stripes  and the latter may prove best of the home team.

Adelaide goes in the first of three G1’s on the card, the Secretariat. He was a shade unlucky last time in the Belmont Derby when going down a neck to Mr Speaker, another few strides would have seen him get up so he’s a deserving favourite. Aidan employs a pacemaker this time in the shape of Belisarius. Gailo Chop put the form in good light at Deauville today (4th at Belmont) in the G2 Prix Guillaume D’Ornano.

Looking at the Beverly D Kiyoshi didn’t uphold the form in Deauville , second to Euro Charline in the Woodcote recently at Ascot she didn’t fire in the G3 Prix De Lieurey today. This may open it for an ex Tipperary filly in the shape of Tannery (formely with David Wachman) winner of last years Ep Taylor (G1) at Woodbine now in the care of Alan Goldberg.

Magician is the Ballydoyle representative in the Million. He’ll be back on Laxis for the first time since The Breeder’s Cup Turf win of last year. He couldn’t cope with the soft ground at Ascot in the King George and that run is best forgotten. Previously at the Royal meeting he lost out to the Fugue (whom he collared at Santa Anita) with Treve a length behind. Fast ground is the key to him now. Real Solution the Manhattan winner is best of the home team.

Recommendations :

American St Leger : Eye Of The Storm

Beverley D : Tannery  

Secretariat Stakes : Adelaide 

Arlington Million : Magician  

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The Breeders Cup (Grade 1) Day 2

The Fugue on Irish Champions Stakes Day

The Fugue on Irish Champions Stakes Day. Photo Pattern Racing.com

A bumper day of Grade 1 action with 9 top level races in Santa Anita on day 2 of the Breeders Cup 2013.

European horses struck gold in 3 out of the 5 on day 1 and come into the day 2 with some real big guns. Again there’s not a lot of depth to the challenge with only 7 European runners.

Sir Michael Stoute’s Dank will go off favourite in the Fillies and Mares Turf over 10f with with Romantica from the Andre Fabre team priced up second favourite. The Stoute filly has already won in America when last time out she took the Beverely D Stakes on Arlington Million day. The Fabre filly won the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville in August before running 12 L behind Treve in the Arc. Opposing are the ex Irish trained Laughing and the ex French trained  AlteriteLaughing certainly benefited from the move to the States having won her last 4 including 2 G1’s The Diana Stakes and last time out the Flower Bowl Invitational where she beat Tannery who then franked that form taking the G1 EP Taylor Stakes at Woodbine.

In the Turf over 12 f The Fugue has very strong claims proving herself top drawer this summer taking the Yorkshire Oaks against her own sex and then following up in the Irish Champion Stakes beating the colts Al Kazeem and Trading Leather. She’s joined by the Irish Guineas winner Magician who rattled home on firm at the Curragh. Last years first and second are back Little Mike and Point Of Entry. The former looked to have lost his way a little but bounced back to form in the Joe Hirch Invitation while the latter has only run twice since. Both were winning Grade 1 performances. In February he beat Animal Kingdom in the Gulfstream Park Handicap and in June he won the Woodford Reserve at Belmont. This has been his target all year.

In the mile Aidan O’Brien runs Cristoforo Colombo who would look to be up against it and Richard Hannon runs Olympic Glory who must have an outstanding chance if he can handle the ground. He put in a great performance when just touched off by Moonlight Cloud in the Jacques Le Marois and capped that on champions day winning the Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes on soft ground. Wise Dan is probably the most consistent turf horse in training at the moment. Since winning this last year he’s added 5 G1’s since but was surprisingly beaten by Silver Max in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keenland at the beginning of October.

The most consistent dirt horse is Game On Dude who will go off favourite in the Classic the finale event. He held the same status this time last year when beaten by Fort Larned but has run and won six times since with the highlight being the Big Cap here at Santa Anita when he simply looked awesome. Two European challengers come into the field with Ballydoyle sending Declaration Of War and Marco Botti sending PlanteurThe Coolmore bound Declaration Of War has not been seen since winning the International at York in August. This will be his last run and it was revealed he went to work on Southwell’s fibre sand to get some experience of the kickback he’ll have to cope with here. He worked with two G1 winners sitting in behind before readily pulling clear. The manner of the workout was enough to convince Aidan O’Brien that this was his best chance of capturing the classic since Giant’s Causeway who was so narrowly touched off by Tisnow in 2000. If he can handle the dirt he has the class to beat Game On Dude.

Recommendations :

Fillies and Mares Turf Laughing PMU Price win and place

Breeders Cup Turf : Point Of Entry 5/1 Win

Breeders Cup Mile : Wise Dan 1/1 Win

Breeders Cup Classic : Declaration OF War PMU Price win and place

The Racing Post Trophy (Group 1)

How quickly the season comes to an end.

The last Group 1 in England sees us already looking forward to next year and thinking about spring and summer classics. Something to ponder over the long nights ahead. Tomorrow’s winner will no doubt feature high in the Guineas and Derby betting next year.

After declarations 11 were left in. Unfortunately Toormore isn’t one of them as Richard Hannon has decided not to run him on the forecast rain softened ground reckoning it will blunt his speed. He relies on Chief Barker instead who will make his fourth appearance on the racecourse having kept a 100 % win ratio thus far. All three runs were over the mile and last time out in a Listed race at Haydock he put in his best performance beating Chriselliam a neck. She went on to surprise in the G1 Fillies Mile winning at 28/1.

Charlie Appleby has made a fine start as the new Godolphin trainer and sends out Pinzolo. He’s also unbeaten in two outings both over a mile and the horses in second both won next time out.

Roger Varian’s Kingston Hill is also unbeaten in two runs. A maiden over 7 f was followed up with a Group 3 win where he had Aidan O’Brien’s Oklahoma City back in second.

Sir Michael Stoute runs Snow Sky a progressive type who was third first time out fourth next time and then won 11 L last time out. They were all in maidens so a big step up needed to win here.

Somewhat is the most experienced in the field having had five runs two of them in Group 2 company where on both occasions he found one too good. In the Superlative Stakes Good Old Boy Lukey beat him a head and in the Royal Lodge he went down a neck to Berkshire. Decent form.

The Grey Gatsby also brings a decent level of form. A maiden winner first time out he stepped into Group company running second at G3 level and then repeating the feat at G2 level behind Godolphin’s Outstrip in the Champange Stakes. That form was not given the boost hoped in last weeks Dewhurst when Outstrip could only manage third to War Command.

The Irish are made of a threesome from Ballydoyle, one from the Johnny Murtagh yard and one from Pat Shananhan who can be ruled out.

Altruistic won his maiden and ran third to Geoffrey Chaucer and Oklahoma City in the G2 Beresford at Curragh. On the book this puts him behind Kingston Hill.

The form might well have given Aidan O’Brein encouragement to run his three having a line through to the English opposition. Joseph O’Brien will ride the once raced Century who was an easy winner at the Curragh two weeks ago. Clearly talented, he could be anything. Buonarroti stepped up on a fourth first time out to win by 8 1/2 L next time at Tipperary but is likely to set the pace here.

The other O’Brien colt is Johann Strauss a son of the 2001 winner and subsequent Derby winner High Chaparral. He’s run twice, first in a Newmarket maiden where Joseph gave him the tenderest of rides and last week at Naas where over 7 f where he couldn’t collar Sniper when a 1/3 shot. That doesn’t sound great but he travelled well and those educational rides may well pay tomorrow and also at Epsom next June.

Recommendation : Johann Strauss 12/1 ew Racing Post Trophy 

  Ante Post            Johann Strauss 50/1 ew Epsom Derby 2014

E/W Double on both races

The Champion Stakes (Group 1)

Aidan will be in action at Ascot for Champions Day

Aidan will be in action at Ascot for Champions Day

Massive day’s racing at Ascot with the 3rd instalment of Champions Day.

There’s been some criticism of staging Britain’s richest days racing so late in the season but it does bring the show down in a massive crescendo. The downside is the ground is always more likely to have turned at this time of the year. Soft even heavy may be the description come post time tomorrow.

The feature is the Champions Stakes over 10f. We’ve also got the Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes over a mile, the Fillies and Mares Champion Stakes over 10f with all three carrying Group 1 status . The undercard features the G3 Champions Long Distance Cup and the G2 Champions Sprint Stakes.

All in all a day to rival Paris two weeks ago.

The Long Distance Cup

In the Cup The Queens Estimate will of course be all the rage. We haven’t seen her since the Gold Cup where she brought the house down with her emotional victory over Willie Mullins Melbourne Cup bound Simenon. She’ll have to go from G/F to handling soft to win this. There’s also a suspicion this is a better field than in June with the likes of Harris Tweed, Ahzeemah, Eye Of The Storm and Royal Diamond in the mix. It’s been won by the Irish the last two years and Dermot Weld who won with Rite Of Passage last year could surprise again with Pale Mimosa. His unexposed 4 year old last year won a maiden at Galway on heavy ground by 15L.

Recommendation : Pale Mimosa 16/1 EW

The Sprint

Another strong Irish challenge in the Sprint with Balmont Mast, Cape Of Approval, Slade Power, Viztoria and Maarek. The latter is defending the title and showed himself in rattling good form when slicing through the field to win the Abbaye in Paris two weeks ago. That was over 5f and should have him spot on for this 6f trip. However we’ll give Eddie Lynam’s Viztoria another chance stepping back from 7 f where she did well to be only 5 L behind Moonlight Cloud in Prix de La Floret.

Recommendation : Viztoria 13/2 win

The Fillies And Mares

The Fillies and Mares is an open contest. The market rates the nine runner field between 4/1 and 16/1. Again recent Paris form looks hot. Dalkala won the Prix De L’Opera getting her nose in front of Tasaday on the line. Talent the Oaks winner ran well in the St Leger while Oaks third The Lark won the Park Hill where Seal Of Approval clipped heels and fell at the Doncaster meeting. Belle De Crecy got the better of Hot Snap at the Curragh in the Blansford while Waila was a 10L winner of a Newmarket Listed race in July. Mike De Kock’s Igugu was a superstar at home in South Africa but hasn’t translated that at Meyden or Sha Tin at the beginning of the year. In prep for this she ran second in a listed race three weeks ago suggesting her form is there to come back. The German raider Nymphea is attractive. A Group 1 winner in the Preiss Von Berlin where she beat Temida 3 L who previously was a G1 winner herself in the Preis Von Bayern.

Recommendation : Nymphea 12/1 EW

The Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes

Dawn Approach has been given a rest since the Jacques Le Marois where he trailed in 8L behind Moonlight Cloud. He’d come out of a hard race with Toronado in the Sussex Stakes and can be forgiven the run. Maxios saw off Olympic Glory in the Prix Du Moulin by 5 L who’d run an absolute cracker to be a short head behind Moonlight Cloud in the Jacques Le Marois. Kingsbarns was one of the ante post favourites for the Guineas through the winter on the back of his Racing Post victory. He was pulled up in the Irish Champion Stakes but the fact that Aidan puts him in is significant. The Godolphin Mile winner Soft Falling Rain can’t be ruled out but he’s never encountered ground like this before.

Recommendation : Kingsbarns 16/1 EW

The Champion Stakes

The main dish sees a rejuvenated Cirrus Des Aigles come back to go one better than his second to Frankel last year to add to his win in 2011. We doubted him through a poor campaign but his trainer Corine Barande-Barbe kept telling us to be patient, that he was on the way back and in the Prix Dollar he put in a performance to vindicate her view. Farhh makes a welcome return from injury. Last seen when winning  the Lockinge in May it will be a wonderful training feat to bookend the season with two Group 1’s. His stable companion Hunter’s Light has some form on the ground having won in heavy in Italy last year as does Morandi who was also was winner at top level on a heavy surface as a two year old.  The Derby winner Ruler Of The World hit a pocket in the Arc and did well to finish seventh considering the run wasn’t clean. He looked sharp the previous run before that in the Prix Neil when the bob of a head separated him from Kizuna. Like Viztoria he’s worth another chance.

Recommendation : Ruler Of The World 8/1 EW