By News Team
6th November 2020
The second day of the Breeders’ Cup looks set to be an absolute cracker with nine Grade Ones for us to enjoy!
Here are Nick Luck’s thoughts and selections for Saturday’s big-race card at Keeneland.
Filly and Mare Sprint
SERENGETI EMPRESS is taken to run them ragged on her final racetrack appearance at 11/4. Tom Amoss’s likeable filly will blaze away hard from the gate here, and she has shown that tactics that look over-aggressive on most horses seem to be effective for her over this distance. She forces connections of Gamine and others into a bit of a quandary: if they lock horns with her, she’ll probably break their hearts; if they sit off her, she’ll be hard to peg back.
Favourite LEINSTER (4/1) might be the answer here for Rusty Arnold, a prolific trainer of winners at this track, including this horse, who absolutely loves this five-and-a-half-furlong turf course. I’m not sure that Leinster is the most talented of this group, but he’s in great form and may well be able to get a very good position in a race that is unusually lacking in early speed, a dimension that would play against the likely favourite Got Stormy. British filly Glass Slippers (13/2) makes a much more compelling case than some previous shippers to this race, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in the money.
KNICKS GO (10/3) has exploded into form for his new trainer Brad Cox on his last two starts and looks the coming force here, particularly as his dominant rout last time came at this track. The compelling evidence is that he is not a fraud or a cheap horse suddenly made good, but one who had stacks of ability as a juvenile before losing his way for his previous trainer. He may face some pressure from Art Collector, but has a better post and should be able to dictate the tempo. Last year’s Preakness winner War Of Will is not out of this at a 14/1.
Filly and Mare Turf
John Gosden’s TEREBELLUM can take advantage of the shorter distance of the race this year (nine-and-a-half furlongs), which makes this a relative test of speed at 9/1. Her form early in the season was very strong, including behind Circus Maximus at Royal Ascot, and she has been somewhat stuck in the mud in two starts since. She should be able to adopt a lovely stalking position behind Mean Mary (for whom this might be too short) and Rushing Fall (for whom it might be too far) and then I’ll trust Frankie Dettori to do the rest. This could be a decent race for the Euros, with Cayenne Pepper (9/1) and Audarya (10/1) no forlorn hopes.
YAUPON may lack experience, but he couldn’t have been more striking in four starts undefeated this year for a trainer who knows a fast horse when he sees one and raced the brilliant Mitole in these silks last year. I don’t mind his outside post here, because there’s not that much early pace on to his inside, and I can see him running this bunch into the ground at 15/8 with Vekoma scratching this week.
DIGITAL AGE (11/1) has been a slow burner for Chad Brown – perhaps unsurprisingly given his regal old-school European pedigree from the Time Charter family – but he’s really started to progress this summer and posted a cosy victory in a Grade One last time. What I really like is that he cuts back in distance here, and I suspect he’ll be ridden close to the pace from a decent post position. His stablemate Uni (11/2) won this last year and is cycling back to form on ground that she’ll enjoy – she may be the biggest threat, but the glut of Euros can’t be ignored and while Kameko (7/2) and particularly Siskin (17/2) have plenty going for them, I’ve a sneaking fancy that LOPE Y FERNANDEZ, whose form with Pinatubo makes him of real interest, might smuggle his way round the inside to claim a bit of place money at 18/1. He’s certainly worth a small interest each-way.
DUNBAR ROAD can be the spoiler here at 16/1 in what is being billed as a match between two top-notchers in 2018 winner Monomoy Girl and Preakness heroine Swiss Skydiver. Chad Brown’s filly ran a tremendous race behind the hugely underappreciated Blue Prize at this track last autumn (sent off a heavy favourite) and has been moving well in her training for this. She had a wind operation after winning in the summer, so was entitled to need her comeback run, where she ran promisingly with a wide trip.
TARNAWA is inching her way to being a very good horse and can cap a fine season by becoming the fifth filly in history to win this prestigious prize at 10/3. It seems certain that Aidan O’Brien will seek to dominate with Mogul (7/2) and Magical (5/2), but Tarnawa is relaxed enough to adopt a position just behind them, yet has a smart turn of foot which could prove potent against slightly more one-dimensional horses. Last year’s runner-up United (12/1) was only just beaten but he Horse of the Year in this race, and probably deserves a fair bit more respect than he’s getting, while the Gosden/Dettori Breeders’ Cup experience makes Lord North (7/1) a bit more interesting than otherwise he might be.
TIZ THE LAW gets the confident vote here at 10/3, with only a mild reservation about the draw. There’s no doubt that connections would have preferred a wider gate for him (the three widest are all taken by the Baffert trio), but I believe his raw talent will overcome all. He didn’t run at all badly when beaten by Authentic in the Derby, but I am happy to subscribe to the view that this wasn’t quite the same horse that we saw in New York and he recoiled off a monster effort in the Travers. There is also possibly more than a coincidence that both his defeats have come at Churchill. He has been training well here and can show his class again.