National Hunt racing is dominating the headlines in the UK. But flat racing eyes will be trained on Florida’s Gulfstream Park this Saturday for the third edition of the $9m Pegasus World Cup.
Formerly the richest race in the world, the Grade 1 contest has been won by the American-trained Gun Runner and Arrogate in the last two years. Accelerate is aiming to make it a hat-trick in 2019.
The 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner is the favourite over 1m 1f. But we’ve checked out the star-studded competition ahead of the race with our guide to the Pegasus World Cup.
Accelerate and City Of Light
Accelerate is favourite for a reason. The John Sadler-trained six-year-old won the Classic in style at Churchill Downs in November to make it four straight Grade 1 wins and hat-trick under Joel Rosario.
He showed plenty of grit and determination that day to see off Gunnevera. More will be required here to battle second-favourite and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner City Of Light.
Mike McCarthy’s charge remains the last horse to beat the jolly when taking the Oaklawn Handicap by a neck over 1m 1f in April. Placings were reversed over 1m 2f at Santa Anita a month later.
That victory over the distance gives him a great chance here. If jockey Javier Castellano can give the five-year-old a stalking ride instead of a front-running one, he has every chance of beating the fav.
Gulfstream specialist Gunnevera
There are plenty of enticing angles about Gunnevera. Not least the price. Antonio Sano’s fancy is some way off the market leaders despite finishing just a length behind Accelerate in the Classic.
The five-year-old nearly always gives a solid account on the biggest days and he’s never been out of the frame in seven starts at Gulfstream either.
That sort of form is hard to argue with, especially when the favourite has yet to pit his wits round the Florida dirt.
Accelerate is the classier horse, but there’s no reason Gunnevera can’t challenge the places.
What about the rest?
That takes us to Kukulkan. The Mexican-trained raider comes into the race with some pedigree. He won the Mexican Triple Crown by a combined total of 34l and is unbeaten in 14 career starts.
Great, right? Well, sort of. His time figures during those runs don’t really stand up to the leading competitors here, which is why you need a telescope to locate the raider’s odds.
The good news for prospective punters is that Ladbrokes ambassador Frankie Dettori has been booked to ride. So we can’t wait to see how the long-odds outsider gets on under the experienced Italian.
Click here for the latest Pegasus World Cup odds
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication.