We preview all the British and Irish runners at the 2020 Breeders’ Cup
International travel may be at a premium in 2020 but Britain and Ireland are charting a course for Breeders’ Cup success this weekend with a host of familiar names making the trip across to Keeneland.
Aidan O’Brien, John Gosden, Ger Lyons and Jessica Harrington are just four of the 16-strong contingent hopping across the pond for the ‘World Championship of Horse Racing’ on Friday and Saturday.
And with such immense British and Irish interest, we’ve got the lowdown on each and every trainer and their prospects ahead of the first race on Sky Sports Racing at 19:30 on Friday night.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Battleground (Juvenile Turf), Circus Maximus (Mile), Magical (Turf), Mogul (Turf), Peaceful (Filly & Mare Turf), Mother Earth (Juvenile Fillies Turf), Lipizzaner (Turf Sprint), Lope Y Fernandez (Mile), Order Of Australia (Mile), Snowfall (Juvenile Fillies Turf)
Aidan O’Brien is the third most-successful trainer in Breeders’ Cup history with 12 wins to his name, and the Master of Ballydoyle appears to have a good opportunity to improve on that tally at Keeneland over the weekend.
The Irish handler looks set to have a team of nine horses to go to battle with on Friday and Saturday, with the well-travelled and loveable Magical heading his chances alongside Mogul in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Magical is as honest as they come and should prove a formidable favourite in a season which has already produced three Group 1 wins and an impressive defeat of Ghaiyyath in the Irish Champion Stakes.
The Galileo mare has been handed a perfect draw in stall two and it’s no surprise that Ryan Moore has opted for her over stablemate Mogul, who is drawn right on the wing in stall ten.
Chesham and Vintage Stakes winner Battleground is another top chance for the O’Brien team in the Juvenile Turf, while Peaceful and Circus Maximus hold claims in the Filly & Mare Turf and the Mile respectively.
The latter of those isn’t a particularly exciting horse but is always on the premises in these top level races. He holds both Siskin and Kameko based on their respective runs in the Sussex, and he’s well-drawn in stall one.
Elsewhere, Mother Earth was third in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket last time but probably lacks the quality to see off Aunt Pearl and Campanelle, while Lippazaner will need to step up from his recent Listed win.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Mighty Gurkha (Juvenile Turf Sprint)
Our traders aren’t giving Mighty Gurkha much of a chance in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, and in truth, it’s difficult to make a case for the two-year-old, who has won twice in six outings this term and both times on the all-weather.
One of those victories did come in a Group 3 at Kempton, but the form of that race hasn’t really worked out and a subsequent run at Newmarket would suggest Hollie Doyle’s ride has a lot to find with the likes Golden Pal here.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Ubettabelieveit (Juvenile Turf Sprint)
Whisper it quietly, but Nigel Tinkler could have a smart one on his hands in Ubettabelieveit. The Kodiac colt has posted a series of impressive performances over 5f and won the Group 2 Flying Childers last time out.
He beat a number of decent yardsticks that day including Lowther runner-up Sacred and Molecomb winner Steel Bull. There are questions over whether he’ll handle the ground at Keeneland, but he’s worth his shot stateside.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Glass Slippers (Turf Sprint)
Glass Slippers has spent most of his season playing second-fiddle to Battaash, but just like Cinderella, there’s every chance she could be the belle of the ball come 17:39 on Saturday evening.
Kevin Ryan’s charge is a bonafide Group 1 winner who operates on all types of ground, and while she’s just short of that top-class star quality, she’s always there or thereabouts in this type of company.
The four-year-old filly has finished out of the places just once in her last seven starts, and we think the extra 1/2f on offer at Keeneland could be to her benefit too.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Safe Voyage (Mile)
Safe Voyage may not be getting any younger but he’s well worth his spot at Keeneland after another impressive season for trainer John Quinn.
The seven-year-old landed a Group 2 double over 7f this term before coming up just short over a mile in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret at Longchamp last month.
This is without doubt his toughest test yet, but connections think the track and, in particular, the bend will suit, so he’s arguably not without place claims.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Siskin (Mile)
The mile division has been fascinating to watch this season, so much so that it’s easy to forget about the way Siskin took apart the field to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas at The Curragh in June.
Since then the First Defence colt was narrowly touched off in a red-hot renewal of the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood before being soundly beaten in the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp.
Trainer Ger Lyons hinted that the Breeders’ Cup would’ve been the plan in 12 months’ time had the classic winner stayed in training, but with retirement looming, he’s been aimed at Keeneland for one last hurrah.
Only three three-year-olds have won the Mile since 2003, which hints at the task facing Siskin as he takes on the likes of Kameko, Uni and Digital Age.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Audarya (Filly & Mare Turf)
James Fanshawe has been towards the top of the game for well over 25 years, so it may be a bit of surprise to learn that Audarya will be his first ever runner in the Breeders’ Cup.
The fact that he’s choosing to send the progressive four-year-old filly across the pond could be a clue in its own right for a trainer who clearly doesn’t make the trip lightly. Audarya has plenty of credit in the bank this season having progressed from a Newcastle Handicap to win the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet before a 1l third in the Prix de l’Opera.
Like all Breeders’ Cup hopefuls, a lot will depend on both the draw and how she handles the track at Keeneland, but if both of those factors are in Audarya’s favour, then expect to see her challenging.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Kameko (Mile)
2,000 Guineas winner Kameko has only won once since his success at Newmarket in June, but that doesn’t quite tell the full story of his season. The Kitten’s Joy colt can consider himself extremely unlucky not to have gone closer in both the Derby or the Sussex Stakes, with circumstances just not going his way.
There’s no doubting at all that he’s a talented horse, and he showed that again when putting away a decent enough field in the Shadwell Joel Stakes last time. We make him a worthy favourite for the Mile up against the likes of Uni for Chad Brown and Ivar for Paulo Lobo.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Cadillac (Juvenile Turf), Cayenne Pepper (Filly & Mare Turf), Oodnadatta (Juvenile Fillies Turf).
This is Jessica Harrington’s second successive season at the Breeders’ Cup, and after finishing fourth in the Juvenile Fillies Turf 12 months ago with Albigna, she looks to have a fair chance of doing a little bit better this time around.
Guineas hope Cadillac would appear to be her most likely hope after the colt pushed subsequent Verterm Futurity winner Mac Swiney all the way at The Curragh before romping home to land a Group 2 himself at Leopardstown.
That experience of going left-handed should prove helpful at Keeneland in the Juvenile Turf, while Cayenne Pepper’s 4l demolition job in the Group 2 Blandford Stakes see her not without a chance in the Filly & Mare Turf.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Devilwala (Juvenile Turf), New Mandate (Juvenile Turf)
Devilwala and New Mandate are both entered in the Juvenile Turf, and if the odds are anything to go by, it’s the latter who holds the better claims up against the likes of Battleground and Mutasaabeq.
The gelding has progressed nicely this term and is seeking a fourth win on the spin after landing a Handicap at Sandown, the Listed Flying Scotsman at Doncaster and the Group 2 Royal Lodge at Newmarket.
Gear Up, who was fourth that day, subsequently went out and won a Group 1 in France to frank the form, and with New Mandate drawn in stall two at Keeneland, he should be in a handy position from the off.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: The Lir Jet (Juvenile Turf)
The Lir Jet’s best form this season has come over 5f, so it’s a ballsy if somewhat strange move from connections to step him up to 1m for the first time in the United States.
Michael Bell’s first Breeders‘ Cup runner has been given a nightmare draw in stall 14, and having failed to impress over 6f, we think it’ll take a herculean effort for him to get on the premises in Kentucky.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Tarnawa (Turf)
Tarnawa has moved up another gear this season so it’s no surprise to see her in alongside Magical and Mogul as favourites for the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
The four-year-old filly kicked off her season with a Group 3 at The Curragh before tasting back-to-back victories in Group 1 company at Longchamp.
Trainer Dermot Weld reckons Tarnawa is his best ever chance of success at the Breeders’ Cup, and with the filly retaining her partnership with Christophe Soumillon over an optimum distance, she has a live chance.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Lord North (Turf), Mehdaayih (Turf), Terebellum (Filly & Mare Turf)
John Gosden has had four winners at the Breeders’ Cup dating back to 1984, but it’d be difficult to see any of his three runners adding to that tally this time around.
Lord North has been beaten twice by Magical this season who reopposes in the Turf, and for all that he may be capable of picking up the right Group 1, he just lacks that star quality.
Terebellum, on the other hand, has something to find on her performances this season, although she has been hindered by poor ground this term and may find the going more suitable at Keeneland.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Miss Amulet (Fillies Turf)
Could Miss Amulet prove to be the jewel in the crown of the British and Irish contenders? Cheap puns aside, she does look a tad overpriced if she takes to the mile distance.
Billy Lee and Ryan Moore both reckon she has the ability to stay 7f in the UK, so with the bend at Keeneland, connections are entitled to take their chance over 1m.
Success across the Atlantic would cap a marvellous season for Miss Amulet, who won the Group 2 Lowther Stakes in August before being narrowly touched off in the Cheveley Park.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Nazuna (Fillies Turf), Angel Power (Filly & Mare Turf)
Rogan Varian may have been firing in the winners this season but it looks as though he’ll have to go some to add to that at the Breeders’ Cup with Nazuna and Angel Power given a limited chance by our traders.
The latter has been progressing nicely this term and comes into this off the back of a Group 3 win at Newmarket, while the former was beaten only 2l in the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes last time out.
They’re a pair of progressive types, but they may struggle up against deeper company at Keeneland this weekend.
Breeders’ Cup Entries: Equilateral (Turf Sprint)
No British or Irish trainer has ever tasted success in the Turf Sprint, and it would be something of a surprise if Charlie Hills and Equilateral were to break that tag this weekend.
The five-year-old has been comfortably beaten on all five starts this term and has yet to taste success above Listed level, which suggests a Group 1 on another continent may be a tough task.
To counter that, the Equiano gelding did win on his travels earlier in the year when tasting success in Meydan, and he gains the assistance of one Frankie Dettori for the first time here too.
2020 Breeders’ Cup Schedule, Live on Sky Sports Racing
Friday 6th November
19:30 | Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint | Grade 2 | 2YO | Turf | 5½f
20:10 | Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf | Grade 1 | 2YO Colts & Geldings | Turf | 1m
20:50 | Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies | Grade 1 | 2YO | Dirt | 1m½f
21:30 | Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf | Grade 1 | 2YO Fillies | Turf | 1m
22:15 | Breeders’ Cup Juvenile | Grade 1 | 2YO Colts & Geldings | Dirt | 1m½f
Saturday 7th November
16:20 | Qatar Fort Springs Stakes | Conditions | 3YO Fillies | Dirt | 6f
17:02 | Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint | Grade 1 | 3YO+ Fillies & Mares | Dirt | 7f
17:39 | Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint | Grade 1 | 3YO+ | Turf | 5½f
18:18 | Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile | Grade 1 | 3YO+ | Dirt | 1m
18:57 | Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf | Grade 1 | 3YO Fillies & Mares | Turf | 1m½f
19:36 | Breeders’ Cup Sprint | Grade 1 | 3YO+ | Dirt | 6f
20:15 | Breeders’ Cup Mile | Grade 1 | 3YO+ | Turf | 1m
20:54 | Breeders’ Cup Distaff | Grade 1 | 3YO+ Fillies & Mares | Dirt | 1m 1f
21:33 | Breeders’ Cup Turf | Grade 1 | 3YO+ | Turf | 1m 4f
22:13 | Breeders’ Cup Classic | Grade 1 | 3YO+ | Dirt | 1m 2f
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication