Legatissimo leads the top 5 British and Irish Breeders’ Cup hopes


The return of just four placed horses in the 2014 renewal of the Breeders’ Cup for UK and Irish trainers was a far cry from the five wins and three places the year previous, so at Keeneland the visitors will want to get right back on track.

A strong team have made the long trip with the duo of John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien leading the way as they look to show up the Americans in their own back yard.

We’ve picked out five horses trained this side of the Atlantic that can be fancied to do the business when proceedings get underway this weekend in Lexington, Kentucky.

Cymric – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

The opening Breeders’ Cup contest of the weekend sees a strong British and Irish challenge with four of the top five in the betting trained on these shores.

With the last eight winners having run at least three times, it could be worth siding with John Gosden’s colt at the expense of favourite Hit it a Bomb.

The Godolphin-owned juvenile was bearing down late on in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagarde on Arc day, but just failed to reel in Andre Fabre’s Ultra.

A repeat of that run will surely see him go close. With a win on soft already under his belt, the deluge Kentucky has received this week should pose no problems for the son of Kitten’s Joy.

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Illuminate – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf

She needs to prove she stays a mile, but if Richard Hannon’s charge sees out this longer trip, she could be a real danger to Aidan O’Brien’s favourite Alice Springs, a filly she has already beaten.

The pair were second and fourth behind Lumiere in the Cheveley Park Stakes last month in a race that looks an excellent measure of their talents.

Frankie Dettori’s mount won the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot before taking Newmarket’s Duchess of Cambridge Stakes, while her market rival has been downed on all four attempts at Group company.

If she has the requisite stamina, she could be outstanding value.

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Legattisimo – Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf

A model of consistency this term, David Wachman’s filly has proven herself to be as versatile as they come, winning on both good-to-firm and yielding ground and winning at a mile, while proving she stays 12 furlongs to boot.

She has a few pounds in hand with all five of her European opponents in the race, so it could be construed that her biggest danger could come from the home team.

However Stephanie’s Kitten, the shortest priced of the US-trained horses, has been beaten favourite on three of her four starts at Keeneland. She looks vulnerable and it would be easy to see the 2,000 Guineas winner far too good for the 12-strong field.

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Time Test – Breeders’ Cup Mile

Roger Charlton’s colt is likely to have a quartet of French raiders as his main danger in the penultimate turf contest on the cards.

A horror draw on the wide outside will really test his credentials, but in truth we don’t know just how good his is yet.

His career has been on a steady upward trajectory since winning a Newbury handicap in May, culminating in victory in the Group 2 Shadwell Joel Stakes last time out. Keep improving and he has a chance.

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Golden Horn – Breeders’Cup Turf

The rain that has hit Keeneland wouldn’t have pleased John Gosden for his Derby and Arc winner, with his two least impressive performances this term coming when there was cut in the ground.

Berthed in stall one, it will be important that Frankie Dettori can get out quickly to avoid being boxed in on the rail in a race where the home team are well represented by a couple of classy soft ground performers.

Throw in the Irish challenge of Found, who has won on soft ground before, and he will have plenty to think about, but it would be a surprise if his class didn’t see him through.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.