The Breeders’ Cup Turf and Breeders’ Cup Mile are two races that put the ‘world’ in the world championships, and once again the European challenge looks more than a match for the home defence. In the latest of our overviews, we look at the prospects of Turf contenders Rebel’s Romance, Nations Pride and War Like Goddess, and Mile hopes Modern Games, Kinross and Annapolis. Here our Breeders Cup Turf & Mile Top Horses Preview.
Breeders’ Cup Turf
Grade 1, $4,000,000, 1m 4f turf, 3yo+, Keeneland, November 5
If there is a race at the Breeders’ Cup that the Europeans can call their own it is the Turf, as they have won seven of the last ten editions and 11 of the last 15. They come in strength again against a generally weak US division – with one exception.
Last year’s winner Yibir is absent but trainer Charlie Appleby has fine replacements in Rebel’s Romance and Nations Pride, with Adayar still having a very slim chance of joining them but Hurricane Lane staying at home. Rebel’s Romance has been a revelation since switching to turf, going unbeaten in four over a mile and a half including two G1s in Germany, and there is probably more improvement in store given his relative inexperience on the lawn.
His barnmate Nations Pride has already left his mark in the US, winning two legs of the Turf Triple – G1 Saratoga Derby and G3 Jockey Club Derby (1m4f) at Aqueduct – and bringing a similar profile to that of Yibir 12 months ago. Rebel’s Romance is probably the stronger stayer but Nations Pride has more speed and jockey William Buick will have a difficult choice to make.
The globetrotting Mishriff will make his final start before retirement and at his best would play a big part, but he is riding a seven-race, year-long losing streak, ran poorly in the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe although he wasn’t suited by the mud, and has always been better over ten furlongs. His barnmate Emily Upjohn is unlikely to travel.
Last weekend’s Ascot G1 Champion (1m2f) winner Bay Bridge has never tried a mile and a half and is also unlikely to travel, Westover isn’t coming, and Aidan O’Brien’s pair Stone Age and Tuesday have had busy campaigns and are a cut below the master trainer’s usual contenders.
Andre Fabre has always been a trainer to fear at this level and his Botanik can be forgiven a poor performance over an inadequate distance on bad ground at Longchamp. He is best at a mile and a half and victory in the G2 Grand Prix de Deauville entitles him to respect.
All will have to be at their best to turn back the majestic local star War Like Goddess, who is nine-for-12 lifetime and beat males with a degree of comfort in the G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (1m4f) at Aqueduct last time, with the inconsistent Adhamo a well-beaten sixth. War Like Goddess is a thorough stayer and belongs at this level, and although this will be a much tougher test than the Joe Hirsch she’ll be a tough nut to crack.
Godolphin, lavishly represented anyway, also have G1 Arlington Million (1m1f) winner Santin in the mix, but his suitability for this distance can only be guessed at and in this class he could well be a short runner.
Breeders’ Cup Turf Free Betting Pick
War Like Goddess is an admirable mare but this looks one for Europe, and the progressive REBEL’S ROMANCE has the right mix of class and stamina.
2022 Breeders Cup Turf Odds
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Breeders’ Cup Mile
Grade 1, $2,000,000, 1m turf, 3yo+, Keeneland, November 5
Contrary to general expectations, the European raiding party hasn’t had overwhelming success in the Breeders’ Cup Mile – four wins in the last ten editions – but that’s certainly the place to start this year.
The future-book favourite is a familiar name to US racefans, with Modern Games having already struck twice at G1 level on the western side of the pond, infamously in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf when he was withdrawn, reinstated and ran for purse money only, and in last month’s Woodbine Mile, when he ran the opposition out of town and won by five and a quarter lengths.
He was slightly disappointing when only runner-up in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II (1m) at Ascot last weekend, but the tacky ground was a plausible reason and he is capable of bouncing back. QEII third Jadoomi came out of the race with a minor injury and won’t travel, neither will the lacklustre sixth Inspiral, andG1 Champion (1m2f) third My Prospero is an unlikely tourist.
Going one better on Champions Day at Ascot was the phenomenal Kinross, who has been almost untouchable at seven furlongs and completed a four-timer when dropped to six furlongs in the G1 British Champions Sprint, with Tenebrism a one-paced fifth. Soft ground is important to Kinross, who has a very similar profile to last year’s BC Mile winner Space Blues, and he does have a win at a mile on his record.
Modern Games and Kinross are a cut above the other potential European travellers, such as the tough front-runner Pogo, another seven-furlong specialist who has to be on the lead and went all the way in the G2 Challenge at Newmarket this month, beating Sacred by a length and a quarter; Real World, who has been absent since chasing home Baaeed in the G1 Queen Anne (1m) at Royal Ascot in June; and Homeless Songs, who needs ease in the ground and has been pretty disappointing on her last two starts.
By far the best of the home defence is Annapolis, who has never finished out of the first two in seven starts, and moved into the big time when a comfortable winner of the G1 Coolmore Turf Mile over course and distance, with 2020 BC Mile winner Order Of Australia third and Casa Creed – who could go instead for the BC Turf Sprint – fifth.
His consistency and talent make him a worthy adversary for the more battle-hardened Europeans, and there is likely to be improvement in store. Annapolis is certainly more of a threat than the long-absent Domestic Spending, who hasn’t been seen since a surprise defeat in the G1 Mr D at Arlington in August 2021. It would be a major shock if he could cope with this level of competition off such a long absence.
Breeders’ Cup Mile Betting Prediction
The Europeans are in charge this year and the in-form KINROSS, a 7f specialist who stays a mile, could be the one as long as the ground is not too fast.
2022 Breeders Cup Mile Odds
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