Paddy Power International Racing Trader Sean O’Sullivan and TVG’S Mike Joyce have taken a deep dive into Friday’s Breeders’ Cup card at Keeneland.
Speaking on the latest episode of our twice-weekly From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, the pair have picked their top tips for the day as well as identifying short-priced favourites worth taking on.
This is an absolutely wide-open affair, but Battleground just about heads the market at the moment. He is three wins from three runs for Aidan O’Brien and is currently favourite for the 2,000 Guineas. He is of a bit of a lay-off though – we haven’t seen him in three months – and the form from his wins at Goodwood and Ascot is starting to fall apart under scrutiny.
Cadillac was a good winner at Leopardstown two starts ago, but got stuck in the mud at Newmarket last time out, and NEW MANDATE was a good winner of a Group race at Newmarket the last time. Frankie Dettori is on board and I think he will probably be the best of the European horses from Stall 2.
Princess Noor is one we’re going to try and go after. She’s looked absolutely sensational on her three starts, but she’s beaten some very average horses. We just don’t know how good she is. I really like VEQUIST, and thought she ran a really nice race in the Frizette Stakes last time out at Belmont. She lost out to Dayoutoftheoffice in a slowly-run race but closed late in that and the change to two turns and the extra distance here will play into her favour. Joel Rosario will be far more aggressive on her this time, use her speed early and should get her into a really nice position. Princess Noor will have to go by her in the straight if she is to win.
AUNT PEARL has won two races now, the last of which was a trial for this one at Keeneland. She broke the Stakes record there, going fast early and just kept going. They came at her in the far turn and she just picked up again, giving the suggestion that she had more in hand. She’s drawn really well here so if she gets loose on the rail and gets to set anything resembling reasonable fractions then she will take some catching.
Campanelle isn’t slow, and she’s probably the forgotten horse since she ran in Deauville in the Prix Morny so she’s probably in the back of the mind, but the form from that race hasn’t worked out as well as she would have liked. The second horse, Nando Parrado, got beaten at Longchamp on Arc weekend so I think Aunt Pearl has been nudged into favouritism. You still have to respect Campanelle as she’s going to be ready to run, so those two could go early and will be difficult to peg back.
One to avoid…
22.15: Jackies Warrior
Jackies Warrior is short-priced favourite and could get even shorter. He’s looked unbelievably good on his three starts to date. He beat Reinvestment Risk in a Grade 1 at Belmont last time out. He does have to go an extra turn this time, and extra distance so that will bring stamina into play a lot more than speed. He’s been a front-runner on all three of his starts, but he’s got speed on the inside and outside and if he’s on the lead then he’s going to quickly. If he’s not on the lead, then we’ve never seen what he’s done taking a lead off other horses before. Given it would be around the even-money mark, I would have to look elsewhere.
Sean’s best bets
I’ve got two best bets at big prices. The first is ROMBAUER [22.15], trained by Michael McCarthy. This is a horse who should really relish the conditions here and is just a stone-cold closer. He’s been running in really slowly-run races, making some big moves off the pace which wouldn’t suit the way the races have been run. He’s going to get a really fast pace to run at here and that’s going to bring him into the race. I’m expecting to get over 20/1 on him
The other one I’m going to back is in the Juvenile Turf called ABARTA [20.10], who was second to Mutasaabeq in the Bourbon. This is a Brad Cox horse and was an absolute baby when he lost to Mutasaabeq. He wouldn’t go on the bridle and fell out the back but came down so late on the outside and was only beaten by two lengths in the end. He has blinkers on here, and Brad Cox has a 30 per cent strike-rate when doing that. If he has learned how to concentrate and actually race properly, I think he could be a big danger.
The US horses are always very fast, but I actually think the European horses have a better chance in the Juvenile Turf Sprint than they do in the Juvenile Turf. Of the Europeans, I do like the French horse Sealiway after their win in Longchamp – that was a brilliant run and he ran exceptionally fast. Of all the European invaders, he is the one who I would fear the most.
But there are two horses that you’re going to have your hands full with from the US. Todd Pletcher’s MUTASAABEQ had a really nice run last time out in the Bourbon Stakes. He went two turns for the first time in that race, and also tried the turf for the first time, and ran his best race. I just think he’s going to get better. He has got that really good turn of foot that really good turf horses show at a top-level. I think they’re all going to have their hands full with him and if they don’t get a good bit of distance on him then good luck holding him off because he can really rally.
OUTADORE for Wesley Ward has to contend with a couple of turns here but this colt was just sensationally good first time out and then last time – that Kentucky Downs turf course was very soft and a lot of horses couldn’t handle it, but he handled it brilliantly. He’s coming off the fastest number of anybody in the field, so that’s going to be a tough one with Jose Ortiz in the irons.
I like Aunt Pearl, but I’m not sold on Campanelle and would play against her here. Aunt Pearl ran sensationally at Keeneland in the Jessamine Stakes and she set a Stakes record, but I don’t know that it was excellent due to the drier ground than usual. The horse that finished behind her that day, Spanish Loveaffair, is a really talented animal and I think she can get to Aunt Pearl with another go.
— NYRA (?) (@TheNYRA) October 4, 2020
The horse I like the most in this is PLUM ALI for Christophe Clement. I just love the progression for this filly. She is three for three at three different racetracks – she went from Saratoga to Kentucky Downs to Belmont, winning at a mile and mile-and-a-half. She won her Conditions, a £500,000 Stakes and a Grade 2. The timing is beautiful, and the progression of how fast she’s gone is as perfect as can be. She’s not going to be too far back, winding up a move where she has to pick off the whole field. She will sit in fourth, fifth or sixth and could get a really good trip. If Aunt Pearl gets loose, yes it could be all over very quickly but Plum Ali has the most talent in this field and she’s progressing best into this race.
I just don’t think anyone is going to beat JACKIES WARRIOR. This colt is just so much better than everybody else. I know that two turns is a little bit of a question, but I’m not too worried about it, and if someone gets the lead from him then he can race. He’s a brilliant, brilliant animal and the numbers he is putting up are faster than the numbers that half the horses in the Breeders’ Cup Classic are running. They’re just sensational, and he passes every test. He looks regal, and he made Reinvestment Risk look cheap last time out. He was just on a different level. There are a lot of really nice horses in this field, but unless Jackies Warrior scratches I don’t see them beating him. It’s one of those prohibitively short prices, but you’ve just got to play around and find a way because he’s going to be five from five and a champion two-year-old when all is said and done.
One to avoid…
8.50pm: Princess Noor
Princess Noor is not a stand-out, by any stretch of the imagination. There are horses in this race that have run faster than her, but the caveat is that if you have ever seen her run it’s like she’s in a workout. They’ve never come close to getting to the bottom of this filly, so there’s certainly a lot more there, but for the price that she’s going to be offering this is the short-priced favourite that you try to beat. Dayouttheoffice was brilliant at Belmont and Vequist is a very nice runner while Simply Ravishing has a chance as well. Princess Noor just hasn’t run faster than this field. Could she? Absolutely, but I’m going to try and play against her.
Mike’s best bet
I think the Aidan O’Brien horse LIPPIZANER [19.30] is very live coming out of that race at Doncaster last time out. The sprint horses in the turf division stateside are just okay, outside of the Wesley Ward runner Golden Pal – and what you see is what you get with him. I’d be gambling that Golden Pal’s outside draw means he would have to get clear and might be used up, so I’d take a chance on Lippizaner.
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change
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