Breeders' Cup - At The Races

The Euro Challenge

    ATR's Matt Chapman is at Santa Anita covering all the action on the run up to the 2016 Breeders' Cup. Here, Matt gives his verdict on the chances of the European team.

There's no doubt the creation of Champions Days in Ireland and QIPCO British Champions Day in Britain has changed the way trainers feel about the Breeders' Cup, but I can assure you as someone lucky enough to be out at Santa Anita when you are in the mix of the great meeting there's no bigger event.

In terms of the 2016 European raiders, team Europe is very much reliant on Aidan O'Brien to bring home the bacon, but of course there's also Limato for Henry Candy. He could be huge in the Turf Mile.

So let's have a closer look at those flying the European flag (we're still all Euros here!).


SANTA ANITA - FRIDAY

Juvenile Turf

Lancaster Bomber (Drawn 1) - Aidan O'Brien

Excellent runner-up to Churchill in the Dewhurst and the way he rallied there suggested the extra distance will be no problem. By War Front and tackles proper fast ground for the first time in his life despite being bred for a firm surface. Should run huge if not missing the break in stall 1.

Intelligence Cross (8) - Aidan O'Brien

Fourth behind The Last Lion in the Middle Park, rallying close home which bodes well for this extra distance. That said has stamina to prove and is a War Front who has already shown what level he is on fast ground.

Rodaini (12) - Simon Crisford

Tailed off in Group 3 company at Newmarket last time and hard to fancy on that form despite being progressive earlier in the season.

Summary

Intelligence Cross is probably more of a two-year-old than one for the future and has loads of experience. That probably makes him best of the raiders with 6f pace possibly being key to a closing kick.

Juvenile Fillies' Turf

Hydrangea (1) - Aidan O'Brien

Excellent second to Rhododendron in the Fillies' Mile having been beaten a short-head by Intricately in the Moyglare in Ireland. Stays well and ground conditions to suit.

Intricately (7) - Joseph O'Brien

Surprise winner of the Moyglare at 25-1 and just a feeling that may flatter her. That said, she had solid form prior to that success and equally she might just be improving at just the right time.

Roly Poly (13) - Aidan O'Brien

Beaten a short-head by Brave Anna in the Cheveley Park and now steps up in distance from a poor draw. Ryan Moore has chosen her over her stable companion.

Summary

Ryan Moore has chosen Roly Poly and you might think he knows more than me! But if I had the choice I'd be on Hydrangea who has proven stamina. The draw could be an issue, but I can't help but feel she's better than Roly Poly.

SANTA ANITA - SATURDAY

Filly & Mare Turf

Seventh Heaven (3) - Aidan O'Brien

Hugely progressive towards the end of the season and stuffed Arc heroine Found in the Yorkshire Oaks. However, flopped badly at Ascot last time from a terrible draw. Faster ground will help as will the perfect starting gate.

Queen's Trust (11) - Sir Michael Stoute

Well-beaten by Seventh Heaven at York but turned that form around at Ascot last time when third behind easy winner Journey. Hasn't run on very fast ground many time so might show more on the surface. Needs to.

Pretty Perfect (12) - Aidan O'Brien

Seemingly used as a pace-setter on a few occasions, but wasn't beaten far when fourth behind Journey at Ascot, and had previously given former Leger heroine Simple Verse a fright at Doncaster. Tight bends may well suit her.

Summary

If Seventh Heaven is back to her progressive best she's going to be hard to beat. Her best ever run came at York, the only time she's encountered fast ground.

Turf Sprint

Home of the Brave (4) - Hugo Palmer

Appears a 7f specialist and will be hard to dominate as he likes to do over an extended 6f Stateside. One or two classy efforts in top company, but all in all likely to find a few too good.

Karar (5) - F-H Graffard

French Challenger who chased home Limato in the Foret at a distance. Not impossible could go well here, but probably something to find on previous efforts.

Washington DC (8) - Aidan O'Brien

There's a big win in this boy soon. Chased home Marsha in the Prix de l'Abbaye and a useful fifth to Limato in the July Cup. Getting better with each run.

Summary

Suedois having a stress fracture is a big loss to the Euro team, and it's hard to see the raiders having the winner for all that all three are capable of big efforts in Europe. They won't know what's hit them here.

Turf

Mondialiste (6) - David O'Meara

Decent horse at home but a superstar in the States, landing an Arlington Million, finishing second in last year's Breeders’ Cup Mile and taking a Woodbine Mile. Has every chance of making the frame as so tough, but distance here is a big issue.

Ulysses (7) - Sir Michael Stoute

Get the feeling there's a big win in this horse at some stage, but hard to believe it will be here despite being trained by a legend. Bred to be a super star

Found (10) - Aidan O'Brien

Just a monster. Ultra-consistent at the top level and the defending champion and Arc heroine. Had a long season and the draw could have been kinder, but these are her conditions and no one would be surprised at all if she wins.

Highland Reel (12) - Aidan O'Brien

Top class colt who has won a Secretariat, Hong Kong Vase and King George. Likely to go forward from the outside box and give something for Found to aim at. Suspect Found will be too strong, but he won't be far away.

Summary

Found has every chance of going back-to-back after winning the Arc and running great races in defeat behind Almanzor. However, ex-Euro Flintshire will be no pushover, and has Arc form to match Found's success.

Mile

Alice Springs (2) - Aidan O'Brien

Tough filly who got first run when landing the Sun Chariot last time. Had previously taken the Matron in Ireland and finished third in the 1,000 Guineas. No reason why she can't hit the frame.

Dutch Connection (7) - Charlie Hills

Not good enough on British form, but hasn't had many chances on fast ground recently and might improve for the surface. Gut feeling is he won't be up to this.

Limato (10) - Henry Candy

Top class firm ground specialist. Brilliant in the Prix de la Foret and July Cup and far from disgraced in the Nunthorpe. No reason not to think he won't stay this tight mile - he might just relish it. Exciting opportunity.

Hit it a Bomb (12) - Aidan O'Brien

Brilliant winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland in 2015, and has raced since then as if he might have one or two issues. Runs on Lasix here which might help. Big price for one with his ability, but takes a leap of faith to back all the same.

Cougar Mountain (14) - Aidan O'Brien

Talented animal at Group 2 level, but will be a major shock if he is good enough.

Summary

Limato is so exciting over this trip and should prove best of the raiders. However, Tepin will still be a tough nut to crack.

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