Arc letdowns may not be so bad for St Nicholas Abbey and Sarafina
It has become a relatively common occurrence in the last decade that a horse bounces back from failing to triumph in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe by winning the Breeders Cup Turf and both Sarafina and St Nicholas Abbey will be looking to tread this same path this year.
High Chaparral on two occasions in 2002 and 2003 won the Breeders Cup Turf having failed to win the Arc at Longchamp in that same year, while Shirocco did the same in 2005 and Conduit was the most recent in 2009.
Sarafina was sent off favourite for the Arc this year, but a wide draw proved too big a mountain to climb as she could only finish seventh after being forced to take the wide route around Longchamp.
However, this result may be better than her placing suggests as Sarafina only finished within a length of second spot.
Sarafina is the 7/2 favourite in the Breeders Cup odds to win the Turf, but there are two main obstacles that she will need to overcome.
The home straight at Churchill Downs is noticeably short and may not prove long enough for Sarafina to be delivered with one of her customary late blistering bursts to scythe down the opposition.
Meanwhile, all of the last 11 Breeders Cup Turf victors had finished in their first four on their penultimate start.
This statistic also goes against St Nicholas Abbey, who weakened significantly in the final furlong of the Arc to eventually finish fifth.
However, he should be well suited to the flattish nature of Churchill Downs and will arguably run a similar race to the Arc, where he will be wound up in front 3f from home and then given the task of fending off the fast finishers.
Beginning from stall one will help his cause and if Joseph O’Brien can time his kick for home right, like he failed to in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and maybe slightly in the Arc, he may be overpriced to win the Breeders Cup Turf at 5/1.