The Breeders Cup takes place in Churchill Downs this evening. Here I briefly give my thoughts on the Breeders Cup Turf and Classic races.
Enable to defy largely meaningless stats in BC Turf
All anyone seems to be able to talk about regarding Enable’s BC Turf bid is the fact that no Arc winner has ever gone on to win the Turf in the same year.
I’m here to tell you that this stat is largely meaningless with regard to Enable.
The logic being branded about is that the Arc takes too much out of a horse and thus the double can’t be done. This is weak logic. For sure, the Arc usually comes at the end of a long hard season and thus makes following up in the BC hard, but then again the BC Turf always comes at the end of a hard season for European horses, yet a horse from Europe wins this race pretty much every year.
Enable is an exception in that she has only raced twice this year and thus doesn’t come here after a busy campaign.
It must also be noted that two of the last three BC Turf winners were actually beaten in the Arc and then went on to win the BC. I am talking about Found & Highland Reel.
Found won the 2015 BC Turf in what was her eight race of the season and even managed to run at Ascot in between finishing ninth in the Arc and winning the BC.
Highland Reel was also running in his eight race of the year when winning the 2016 BC Turf after also being beaten in the Arc just a few weeks before.
So if Enable had also been beaten at Longchamp she would then have a better chance in the US? This is silly stuff.
Besides, only seven horses have ever even tried the double. Seven isn’t an especially large sample size and anyone who cites this stat as a negative against Enable is merely advertising their particularly weak understanding of statistical analysis.
Does all this mean Enable will win? Well, she is a filly and filly’s lose their form notoriously fast at this time of year primarily due to the change in weather, but everything is in her favour and her position at the head of the market is more than justified.
Roaring Lion & Mendelssohn go for BC Classic glory
After an imperious season on turf in Europe, Roaring Lion switches to dirt to take on the Americans in the BC Classic.
He has had a more successful season and is a better horse than Ravens Pass, who trainer John Gosden sent out to win the Classic in 2008. However, despite being bred for a dirt surface, he has no experience of dirt and the likely wet track definitely won’t help him, especially as he has drawn an inside berth in stall two and is likely to face a lot of kickback.
I like this horse though and wouldn’t rule him out, but my gut tells me he will fall short.
Mendelssohn also lines up for Aidan O Brien and Ryan Moore. Owned by Coolmore, they have been trying in vain for decades to win this race. It’s about the only big race in the World that they have always really wanted to win but could never quite manage it. The main reason for this, as has previously been expressed on these pages, is that they have been trying to win it with the wrong type of horse.
They seem to have strangely hoped over the years that fast ground turf horses might act on dirt at the highest level. This belief has it’s basis in no logic whatsoever and has been a very misleading misconception for all involved, as proven by the fact that none of these types of horses have ever even gone close in a BC Classic.
However, this year they finally have a horse properly bred for the job in Mendelssohn. Nonetheless, I believe this regally bred son of Scat Daddy to not be a very durable type who has been raced too much this season. One more run between his failed Kentucky Derby bid and the BC would have been enough. Instead he has ran three times and lost three times.
As a Tipperary horse, I sincerely hope he does the business, but I just can’t see it.
In the Filly & Mare Turf, I believe Wild Illusion is a worthy favourite and will win or go close, while Expert Eye is overpriced in the Turf Mile, and, despite popular opinion, this horse will not be inconvenienced by the recent rain.