The Annual Yankee:
NAP OF THE NIGHT: I Can Fly, (1936 Churchill Downs), 1pt win, 8/1 generally available
Aidan O’Brien may hold the key to the Mile. Stable jockey Ryan Moore is on board the useful favourite Gustav Klimt but he has a very wide draw in 13 that is tactically awkward. Stablemate Happily will love the ground and should go close, but it’s the third string I Can Fly that grabs our attention. You wouldn’t have put her in this class, but her latest run, on soft ground, saw her run Roaring Lion to a neck at Ascot. Put him in here and he’d be odds-on. Jamie Spencer looks an ideal booking.
Lost Treasure, (1638 Churchill Downs), 11/1: We’re in the Aidan fan club tonight. This is one quirky fella and a very difficult ride, but this race may just be what he needs. He regularly fails to get over the line in weaker races, but he showed what he can do as a 100/1 shot in Europe’s leading sprint the Prix De L’Abbaye last time. He rocketed through from the rear that day to such effect he would surely have been placed but for some late interference. The going here, the extra half furlong, and the genius of Ryan Moore may just be the combination he needs.
Wild Illusion, (1804 Churchill Downs), 2/1: We’re not trusting many favourites on what looks a tricky night, but this looks like the one value option at the head of the market. She is a very consistent mare, second in the Oaks and winner of her last two including a professional effort at Longchamp last time. Has shared a few verdicts with inconsistent rival Magic Wand but looks to have progressed the better of that pair and can hold her rival once again.
Waldgeist, (2056 Churchill Downs), 7/1: clearly odds-on dual Arc heroine Enable is the one to beat. That said, Arc winners have struggled here, she somewhat scraped home after a charmed run, and the impression is she is priced on last year’s best when this year’s efforts look about 7lbs down on those peaks. We are tempted by big local outsider Glorious Empire to make all, but Andre Fabre is a king at this event, and although he brings back last year’s champ Talismanic, it’s the improving Waldgeist that gets our vote. He was a closing 4th in the Arc, and looks reasonable value to turn that around.
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