The Breeders Cup is the annual end of season jamboree for US racing. The ever-burgeoning mix of turf and dirt championships spills over to a Friday card which, appropriately enough, offers a four-legged affair of Cup events that just couldn’t be squeezed into tomorrow’s main programme.
Del Mar in San Diego is a tight track even by US standards. The dirt course has a pace-setting bias emphasised by a finishing straight not much longer than Wimbledon dogs, and the turf course is inside even that.
Tonight’s main action opens with the Juvenile Fillies Turf (2125). A strong European raiding party is headed by Aidan O’Brien’s pair, Happily and September. It is hard to pass over any of his runners, but both are bred for middle distances, and this mile blast on tight bends and quick ground may not be ideal.
Chad Brown has trained the winner of this race a few times and heads the home challenge. Rushing Fall heads the market, but stable chum Significant Form has followed the route of his previous winners and may do better.
Either way, this race could be run to suit Best Performance. She has been runner up to two of these, most recently Significant Form, but she gets a weight pull and has a great draw in box 1 on this tight circuit, she is well overpriced.
The Dirt Mile (2205) should be an easy win for Mor Spirit, but he has been off the track since early June and rumours abound of disappointing work. The pace battle between Sharp Azteca and Accelerate could prove crucial with the latter marginally favoured. We’ll keep stakes to a minimum and although a wide drawn closer is hardly ideal, that looks priced in to the generous odds of Battle of Midway whose course win suggests he can pick up the pieces if they go too fast.
We may not favour Aidan’s in the Juvenile Fillies, but we think he has a great chance in the Juvenile Turf (2250) in the shape of Mendelssohn. With a rich US pedigree, it was no surprise to see him improve for better ground in the Dewhurst. That’s about the best form here, the rock hard ground should suit him even better, he has stall one, is comfortable racing prominently and has Ryan Moore up top.
The home challenge is weak and the other main European challengers have less obvious form and conditions claims as Mendelssohn. Bet of the night.
The closing Distaff (2335) should be a blinder with outstanding filly Stellar Wind looking to right some wrongs having been pipped in this race 2 years ago and fourth last year having missed the break.
She has to overturn last year’s form with the third that day Forever Unbridled. This track should help Stellar Wind’s running style, but although unbeaten this year she hasn’t quite looked her old self yet.
In contrast Forever Unbridled has looked improved and she looks capable of confirming the old scores and winning what should be a cracker.
Best Performance (2125 Del Mar), 0.5pts each way, 20/1 generally available (1/5th top 4)
Battle of Midway (2205 Del Mar), 0.5pts each way, 16/1 generally available (1/5th top 3)
Mendelssohn, (2250 Del Mar), 2pts win, 11/2 William Hill
Forever Unbridled, (2335 Del Mar), 1pt win, 10/3 William Hill
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