Breeders' Cup - At The Races


World Approval
  • Trainer: Mark Casse
  • Likely Jockey: John Velazquez
  • Owner: Live Oak Plantation
  • Age & Breeding: 5-year-old gelding; Northern Afleet – Win Approval
  • Season Form Figures: 11511
  • Career Highlight: Beating a strong European team in the Woodbine Mile.

World Approval has had the season of his life after a career typified by consistent and excellent performances at the highest level. World Approval rarely runs a bad race, and when he does it is usually over a mile-and-a-half or a mile-and-a-quarter. Dropped back to a mile on his last two starts – for the first time since 2014 – World Approval has taken his form to another level.

World Approval has always had plenty of ability and made his Grade 1 breakthrough last year, having struggled outside of Grade 3 company in 2015. For all that he has a victory over eleven furlongs, Mark Casse's charge has always shown plenty of speed and often succumbed late to stronger stayers, as seen in races such as as the Turf Classic and Canadian International.

The same fate befell him in this year's Manhattan Stakes, over ten furlongs, having won his first two starts of the season over shorter. Having travelled up well, World Approval hit the lead a furlong out but could not sustain his run, weakening inside the final half furlong and losing three places close home. The tameness of World Approval's finishing effort arouses the suspicion that he was he wasn't quite right there, particularly given his subsequent efforts.

Cut back to a mile in the Fourstardave, and ridden slightly further back, World Approval ploughed through the yielding going to record and emphatic success and was ever more impressive next time.

Facing some strong European competition including Guineas fourth Lancaster Bomber, World Approval admittedly benefited from a good trip, but it was hard not to be impressed with the manner that he sealed the race, in hand until well into the stretch and powering clear when feeling the whip to win by nearly three lengths.

It is somewhat unusual that it took so long for connections to figure out World Approval's best distance, but it's equally hard to argue with the visual impression he has created on his last two starts. And it could be that World Approval has simply improved this year, as he has done with every season, and we may only now be seeing the best of him.

Ultimately, World Approval looks a straight-forward gelding with a good blend of stamina and speed. His prominent running style should prove beneficial in the Mile. It’s difficult to offer up a numerical assessment of his chances until we know who will be shipping in to oppose him from England and Ireland but in any case, this dashing grey looks to have excellent prospects.