Breeders’ Cup 2018 really kicks off on Saturday with nine of the biggest races on the planet all live on Attheraces.
So let’s try and get a few quid off Paddy. You hear me Paddy?
Here are my hopes for the main events.
Filly and Mare Sprint – Saturday 16:00
Last year saw the longest priced winner since its inception, with Bar of Gold getting home at greater than 66-1 locally.
Prior to that, things had gone reasonably to form with five of the winners in the first two spots on the odds board and only a couple of them at double figure odds.
Marley’s Freedom is much improved for Bob Baffert, but I’ll take her on with Selcourt, who has not raced for seven months. However when last seen did slam the favourite. Hoping to give John Sadler a first Breeders’ Cup success.
Turf Sprint – Saturday 16:38
Despite the fact that there is not an extensive programme of graded events for turf sprinters in the US, nine of the ten winners of this event entered the starting gate with a graded score on their record.
Peter Miller’s Conquest Tsunami has knocked around with both Stormy Liberal and Disco Partner this season and has a fine each-way chance of reaching a place at the very least despite a poor draw.
Dirt Mile – Saturday 17:16
An odd race as full of horses who usually aren’t quick enough to contest the sprint but don’t stay the ten furlongs of the Classic.
Catalina Cruiser is another big player for Sadler. Unbeaten and untested in four starts, he could be anything, although he’s won with such ease it’s a shame he hasn’t been put to the sword before this event.
Filly and Mare Turf – Saturday 18:04
Four of the first eight runnings of this division went to the favourite but in recent times the jolly has found it more difficult.
Some familiar names here. Many will lump on Oaks runner-up Wild Illusion, who has every chance of scoring after two bigs wins over a mile and a quarter.
However, I think Magic Wand, the Ribblesdale winner, is a fantastic each-way bet at about 6-1 and will be hard to keep out the frame. This distance of 1m3f will be perfect.
Sprint – Saturday 18:46
Seven of the recent winners of this event arrived at the Breeders’ Cup off a win and three others had taken the runner-up spot. Nine of them had won in the top two grades with six boasting G1 scores in their careers.
This is one division where California holds its own, with the Golden State usually home to some pretty hot sprinters. Imperial Hint is an absolute machine, and he has every chance. One word of caution, though, is that while the Vosburgh win so easy, the opposition was very poor.
Mile – Saturday 19:36
This is definitely one of ‘our’ races with Europe providing just short of 40% of the winners of the Mile overall, a rate that has been maintain in the recent renewals.
The jolly has thrived in recent runnings of this division with World Approval adding to the favourite’s Roll of Honour last year.
But in this case, with the withdrawal of Polydream I’m going with Happily each-way. Tough and consistent and strong place claims in a poor renewal.
Distaff – Saturday 20:16
The last couple of renewals of this division have been crackers, with Beholder beating Songbird by a nose in 2016 and Forever Unbridled swooping late to take the prize last year.
The market leaders usually take all the stopping as it is a division lacking depth. Abel Tasman was a shocker for Baffert last time and was beaten at 1-10! However, at her best she is the one to beat and worth the risk.
Turf – Saturday 20:56
This has been a bit of a favourite’s minefield in recent years. Only one favourite has succeeded and that was Conduit (2009) at 9-10 when he followed up his success of a year earlier.
However, the other two odd-on shots, Dylan Thomas (2007) and Golden Horn (2015) came up short. That is not good news for Enable, but we all know the dual Arc winner is much the best of these if she runs to form for John Gosden.
Has to become the first Arc winner to land a Breeders’ Cup race.
Classic – Saturday 21:44
In the last three years we have been spoiled with the Classic living up to its name – although American Pharoah’s 2015 success was a bit of a procession.
Last year Steve Asmussen brought Gun Runner to the thwart Bob Baffert’s attempt to run up a four timer – from a strong quartet of runners.
Accelerate has a poor draw in 14 and was far from impressive when defeating West Coast last time. However, he’s better than that and Sadler is bullish. Can land the odds.
So best of luck and hope for Yeeehaas! Hear me Paddy?