Friday night started in the worst possible way: me looking like an idiot. Here I am backing a short priced favourite for the first time in ages, touting the horse as the proverbial “good thing” that will go on to win the 2000 Guineas. Yeah, that worked out well….
The winner of the Futurity Stakes is a good horse, make no mistake. He already ran twice to 99 topspeed ratings before last night, is an April foal and clearly is consistent on a high level as another 97 TS performance showed last night.
I continue to retain some faith in Kinross, nonetheless. He was pretty keen early on and once again starting issues made life tricky. Hopefully Ralph Beckett can sort this behaviour out over the winter as I firmly belief the time to shine for this colt is as a 3-year-old.
Before moving on to selections for Breeders Cup Saturday, let me say I’m properly grateful to Jose Ortiz: he gave Structor a superb tactical ride. I needed that winner badly. Particularly as Vive La Difference finished strongly once more but found trouble – obviously – at Newcastle earlier.
I have to admit in my head I was counting the money when I saw the splits and certainly when Sweet Melania turned for home in the Juvenile Fillies Turf…. shame she couldn’t quite hold on. Anyway, plenty on the menu on Super Saturday as well!
7.30 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile
Big chance for Cashel to get back to winning ways: already a course and distance winner, he has fallen to a super sexy handicap mark, having won of allot higher in the past and having run to topspeed ratings of 59+ three times this year alone! So, now down to 58 he is rather obviously well handicapped.
In my view he clearly proved this point when last seen at Kempton. Cashel had a strange break, nearly lost the jockey and was always trailing the field which isn’t his ideal style. He ran on well to finish third in what was an unusually competitive contest with form that stands the test of time already.
The 1lb drop in his mark since is a nice little bonus in combination with the 3lb claim of Theodore Ladd in the saddle. First time CP will hopefully help early on the race – the draw is bad, and he’ll need to be quick out of the blocks.
If Cashel does he’ll be hard to beat tonight.
10pts win – Cashel @ 9/2 MB
6.17 Santa Anita: G2 Twilight Derby, 1m 1f
Tricky affair and most market principles have raced each other without conclusive outcomes in the past. I think, however, one who still seems underappreciated is Tapit colt Kingly.
He remains pretty lightly raced and certainly unexposed on turf. On the other hand he showed plenty of promise in three starts on the lush green, much in line with his excellent pedigree.
He showed early promise in spring landing the Listed California Derby at Golden Gates polytrack but couldn’t bring his best to the dirt subsequently. Since the switch to turf he won a grade 3 at Del Mar, beating current favourite Neptune Storm. A 4th and 5th place finish subsequently look questionable but are exceptional pieces of form judged by circumstances.
He was lit up the next time in the Del Mar Derby, bumped right after start by the horse beside him in a bid to overcome the widest draw. He stormed to the lead soon after and that’s where the damage was done. He was less than two lengths beaten in the end.
Next time at Santa Anita, stepping up to open company, he led again, setting off way too fast, going hard all out and nearly led gate to wire in fact, only to be swept by late by the elder horses.
A wide draw doesn’t make things easy today, but there aren’t too many who are likely to compete hard for the lead, so I think he can overcome that.
If Mario Gutierrez can minimize the amount of fuel to be burned in this early phase of the race I think there is a massive chance Kingly will be hard to beg back as he stays the trip, will get a clear run, while some of the other market principles will have to hope for have to weave through traffic.
10pts win – Kingly @ 6/1 BF
8.54 Santa Anita: G1 BC Filly & Mare Turf, 1m 2f
It may look foolish to oppose Sistercharlie, given her incredible record. Even more so as I really struggle to fancy the Euro opposition. However, the one who seems to have come back to life and has run to a career best only recently, backing up other good performances from earlier this year is 2018 1000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook.
She is completely unexposed over this sort of trip, bar one try in the Nassau last year, which was an odd race to some extend and the filly potentially not at her best anyway. Her pedigree however gives her quite a decent chance of staying the distance.
Particularly with conditions she’ll appreciate. I hope Sean Levey is not afraid to utilize the excellent draw and moves instead of settling off the pace, where Billesdon Brook would only find herself around a number of other European contenders who all will be compromising their respective chances.
After a number of disappointing efforts following her superb Newmarket success last spring somehow the 4-year-old found back to her best this summer, winning three times, runner-up another time, starting in Listed company getting confidence back seemingly, all the way up to landing the Sun Chariot – which was a career best judged by tospeed, as she ran to 103, bettering her Guineas best of 101 – she also ran weeks early to 96 in Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood.
What this shows: Billesdon Brook is in the form of her life! Obvious question is whether she can hold it and bring it to Santa Anita. If she can she has a much better chance to go really close today than the big odds suggest. She also gets the added boost of running first time on lasix.
10pts win – Billesdon Brook @ 14/1 MB
8.20 Santa Anita: Grade 1 BC Mile Turf, 1 mile
I don’t think the fast ground and turns over this sharp mile will suit Circus Maximus. Two other Europeans I like a lot instead are Space Traveller for one – but the fact he usually settles off the pace plus the small issue of not racing on Lasix is enough to put me off.
The other one is Hey Gaman. This is a consistent horse, running to a high standards usually, if he gets his conditions. So throw the recent soft ground performances out of the window. Leaving those aside, he won two contests in Listed and Group 3 company and was runner-up in two more hot Group 2 races, all over 7 furlongs.
He achieved topspeed ratings of 99, 100 and 105 in three subsequent races this season. That is quite a high standard I argue not many in this Breeders Cup Mile field have achieved. Furthermore he has the racing style you want for your horse at this track.
Add to that the fact he gets first time Lasix and you have a massive chance. Negative: the draw. However, maybe not as much a negative potentially as this race could turn into affair with little early pace to shout about. Hey Gaman usually breaks well so he should be able to make it over fairly quickly I feel.
The step up to a mile on this lightning fast ground is no issue either. There is enough stamina in pedigree, he is a full-brother to a winner over a mile and himself has some fair form over the trip too.
10pts win – Hey Gaman @ 18/1 WH
11.40 Santa Anita: G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, 1m 4f
Bricks And Mortar and vulnerable over this trip. AVD has gone backwards since the Derby. Something else may spring a surprise from the front, but I feel eerily confident Old Persian will be able to cover all moves.
He’s not quite superstar status, however he certainly is a high class individual with comparatively low mileage this season, coming here potentially fresher than others.
He’s won the Northern Dancer comfortably when last seen, so had a perfect prep while having ran to topspeed ratings of 110 in the past plus to 104 at Meydan earlier this year, he looks to have the making of what should be the favourite in the race.
The draw isn’t ideal and is my main worry that Buick will “slot in” too far off the pace. I hope he is smart and brave enough to go forward, without being suicidal, and not let the pace go too far away.
If the pilot gets the tactics right then the horse will deliver with everything sure to suit: track, trip, ground.
10pts win – Old Persian @ 4/1 PP