Hope you’ve all had a good week.
We may have come to the end of the domestic flat racing season but it’s certainly not a quiet time of year for us at New Rathbride Stables.
The existing team of 2yo’s are now having a well earned break. They’re enjoying their days out in the paddocks and I can already see them thriving. We’ll build them up during the coming months and then bring them back into training in the new year for what hopefully will be an exciting and successful campaign. During the winter months we’ll have a few horses to run at Dundalk and we’ll particularly look forward to old favourite Grey Danube returning to what has been a happy hunting ground for him. He’s already won 7 races there for us and I don’t think he’s finished winning yet.
Our new team of yearlings have settled in particularly well. We like to treat them all as individuals and take them forward at the pace which is right for them. The breaking-in process can be stressful for a horse so we put a lot of focus on keeping them in their comfort zone and ensure they learn to enjoy what they are doing. I’m delighted that the breaking-in process has gone very smoothly and all are now riding.
We’ve not finished our yearling purchases yet and I was at Goffs sales this week. However, I didn’t find what I felt were the right horses and so we’ll move on to the next yearling sales at Tattersalls Newmarket in a couple of weeks. You have to walk away and wait for the right opportunity rather than just buy for the sake of it.
We must also spare a thought this week for Frederick Tylicki and his family. He was injured in a 4 horse pile up at Kempton on Monday. Hopefully, he’ll make a full and speedy recovery.
This weekend we have one of my favourite race meetings of the year, the Breeder’s Cup. Since it’s inception in 1982 it has steadily grown into one of the most exciting and international meetings in the global racing calendar. Originally a one day meeting it changed to a 2 day format in 2007 and will yet again this weekend become the focus of the racing world. The meeting moves around a range of tracks in the US and this year will be held for a record 9th time at my own favourite, Santa Anita in California. While tracks such as Churchill Downs and Belmont have produced many memorable runnings there is something special about Santa Anita. The warm Californian sunshine is obviously a great bonus compared to the cooler weather they tend to get in New York or Kentucky at this time of year, but in addition Santa Anita is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the world to watch horse racing with it’s stunning backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains.
It’s become traditional to arrive earlier in the week and make the dawn trek to the track from Wednesday onwards to enjoy breakfast while watching the contenders go through their morning workouts on the track. There’s a special feeling to those mornings, particularly at Clockers’ Corner a favourite vantage point for the morning workouts where punters mingle with owners, trainers, jockeys and celebrities as the anticipation and excitement builds towards the weekend. I’d certainly recommend a visit for any racing enthusiast. You’ll already have had an amazing experience before we even get to the start of racing on the Friday.
Friday hosts 4 of the breeders cup races while the other 9 are packed into an incredible card on Saturday. Of course the majority of the races will be won by the American horses though the international challengers have tended to fare better at Santa Anita (average of 3 winners per year) than at any of the other host venues. While there might be an impulsion for punters to let the heart rule the head and follow the international challengers, it pays to look beyond that.
Only 3 of the 26 international wins in Santa Anita Breeder’s Cup races have come on dirt so if you’re searching for international winners the turf races are where you are most likely to be successful. The exception being the Turf Sprint on Santa Anita’s unique downhill sprint course which has never seen an international winner.
The race in which the Internationals have had most success is The Turf (17 wins). It might also be worth noting that it has been a particularly bad race for favourites. Aidan O’ Brien has a strong hand with Found and Highland Reel. Arc winner Found is an incredible mare and will aim to repeat last year’s win in this race. It’s a very tough ask on her tenth start of a busy season but if those exertions haven’t taken their toll I think she’ll be tough to beat. Flintshire looks the rival to fear most.
Most talk ahead of The Classic has, not surprisingly, been about the world’s top rated horse California Chrome. However, at odds around 4/5 there’s not much value to be had on him. I might take a chance on Arrogate who has looked very progressive this year including when breaking the track record in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga and there could be better to come from him.
My overall selections as follows:
7.05 Juvenile Fillies
Yellow Agate – Each Way
7.43 Filly & Mare Turf
Seventh Heaven – Win
AP Indian – Each Way
9.05 Turf Sprint
Celestine – Each Way
Gormley – Each Way
Found – Win
11.01 Filly & Mare Sprint
Haveyougoneaway – Each Way
Ironicus – Each Way
Arrogate – Win
Effinex – Each Way
Enjoy a great night’s racing. Best of luck!
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