“O’Brien contingent walking the course” (CC BY 2.0) by monkeywing
There was no joy for Europe at the recent Ryder Cup in Minneapolis as the United States surged to victory on the golf course. Crossing the Atlantic for next month’s Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, some of Europe’s leading trainers will attempt to put right their golfer’s wrongs.
Europe should have a strong hand, with the turf races on 4th and 5th November of particular interest. We assess four contenders currently positioned strongly in the horse racing betting for the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.
Like father, like son
As if Aidan O’Brien’s ability to capture the biggest and best prizes the world over wasn’t enough by itself, son Joseph is now a Group One-winning trainer in his own right. Just 23-years-old, O’Brien gave up his career as a jockey last year, conceding defeat in the unwinnable battle with height, weight and physical development.
Last month he trained Intricately to win the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh. Appropriately enough, he foiled two horses trained by his father in the minor placings to score his maiden Group One win as a trainer.
The daughter of Fastnet Rock is in the shake-up for the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf race at Santa Anita and Breeders’ Cup regulars won’t need reminding of how seriously the O’Brien name should be taken.
Glory Found at last
The O’Brien’s could be out in strength if the fantastic filly Found returns to defend the Breeders’ Cup Turf crown she won at Keeneland a year ago. Trained by Aidan, she was one of unluckiest horses in training across Europe for much of 2016, racking up five straight second-place finishes in Group One races in Britain and Ireland.
That all changed in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly in early October. Ryan Moore rode confidently and, from the moment Found was angled off the running rail in the home straight, the result was never in doubt.
She will be a force to reckon with if she gets to the starting gates at Santa Anita in a bid to emulate her trainer’s High Chaparral and Sir Michael Stoute’s Conduit as two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf winners.
“Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Ken Lund
Eyeing up the Candy
Limato is potentially the European star brighter than all others if trainer Henry Candy opts for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The Santa Anita trip will be perfect for Limato and he has been in blistering form since mid-summer.
Victory in the July Cup at Newmarket was visually impressive while his subsequent runner-up finish in York’s Nunthorpe was no mean effort on a first-ever try at five-furlongs.
Upped once more to six-furlongs at Chantilly he made short work of his rivals to win the Prix De La Foret with any amount in hand. He would represent a superstar at Santa Anita befitting the Breeders’ Cup occasion.
Ready to hit the high note
It was disappointing that John Gosden’s filly So Mi Dar shed her unbeaten record in France on Arc day, but given she had plenty trouble in running, it is no stretch to imagine she will soon be collecting top level prizes.
The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf is a viable option for So Mi Dar and connections already appear keen to give their filly a chance to get her over Chantilly exertions before going again.
That would possibly rule out British Champions Day at Ascot on 15th October and surely increase the likelihood that So Mi Dar will attempt to become the first European winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf since Ryan Moore steered home Dank for Sir Michael Stoute in 2013.