The fact that European raiders have claimed 14 of the last 20 Breeders’ Cup Turf renewals (including High Chapparal’s dead heat in 2003) probably explains the high foreign turn out this time round, but are times changing?
Not only are there four runners trained in the UK, Ireland and on the continent set to line up, but all four of the quartet are in the top five of the betting.
We have taken a look at previous winners to run the rule over this year’s candidates.
One thing that is apparent is that it pays to follow the form book, with only four winners priced at bigger than 8/1 in the past two decades. Little Mike caused a shock in 2012 at 25/1, but we will be concentrating towards the top of the market.
While he has been a relatively consistent campaigner, we simply cannot have Telescope at 5/2. Eight of the last 10 winners had previously won Group 1s, with the other two either not attempting it previously, or being placed in both goes at the top level.
Sir Michael Stoute’s four-year-old is good, but whether he is of the very top class is yet to be confirmed.
And even though they have won Group 1 races, we are discounting Chicquita and Brown Panther for other reasons. The former’s tendency to drift across the track could run her into trouble, while Michael Owen’s horse looks better over further.
That leaves us with four, and next to go is Hardest Core. He was last seen winning the Arlington Million, but with that run 77 days ago, he may have preferred a shorter gap to this race than over two months.
So with just two left in our reckoning, it is the former UK inmate that we are siding with over his French challenger.
Having finally got his preferred sound surface, Flintshire ran a huge race in the Arc to finish in second, and with the ground set to be even more rattling this time, could go well again.
But despite the fact he meets all the trends, that race in Paris might have taken an awful lot out of him ahead of a long trip across the Atlantic, so is opposed at 9/4.
So representing Ladbrokes News’ best hope in the Turf is MAIN SEQUENCE (6/1). Since switching from David Lanigan’s yard in Lambourn to Graham Motion’s stable in Maryland, the 2012 Epsom Derby runner-up has thrived.
He is now three from three since the switch to the States, and although those wins have been by narrow margins, seems to have had a little more in his locker.
With one of the top Breeders’ Cup jockeys John Velazquez on board, he could get one over on his former contemporaries.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing
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