Thursday, November 1, 2012

A look at Breeders Cup 2012

Another good past week-end where only Bayern failed to deliver while other selections were spot on.

This coming Friday and Saturday is all about the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita. Whether it is still the world thoroughbred championship remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that the creme of US racing is there. This year, the 2-year olds will be racing without Lasix, so don't be surprised if the form is reversed in the juvenile races because of the absence of this diuretic. Over the years, I found it beneficial to just stick with a few races where I believe there are certainties, and this year is no different. Right or wrong, I think there are the following 4 certainties to go by in the next 2 days.

The first one looks to be a bold one that could bite but I'm sticking with it; Royal Delta will not win the Ladies Classic. This year's race is possibly the most competitive championship filly race in the US for a long time. Seven out of the eight runners are Group 1 winners. Two champions, Awesome Feather and My Miss Aurelia, are undefeated. The favourite Royal Delta has the highest rating of field, is the defending champion, and comes to Santa Anita from a near-ten length romp of a Group 1 field in her last outing. According to connections, she's in top form. But I believe she won't win, here's why.

Awesome Feather is undefeated in 10 races. She's injury-prone, but her last comeback race showed her talent hasn't been diminished by the long layoffs when she destroyed the field by over 11 lengths. I like the way she finishes her races and the mile and a furlong distance will be right up her alley. I think she'll be in the first 3, and will go each-way on her.

Then there's Questing and My Miss Aurelia who last battled in the Group 1 Cotillion Stakes, with the latter prevailing by a nose at the finish. Prior to the race, Questing was considered by many as the best 3-year old filly in training. Both are very talented and look set to give a race to their elders on Friday.

Royal Delta is way too short at the exchanges. I'll lay her all day. She is very good on her day, but she's been beaten three times this year already. She will have to deal with the 3 no-nonsense fillies above. Awesome Feather looks to be a better pick.

The Mile Turf. This promises to be a great race among the 3 main contenders. Wise Dan, the US champion, Excelebration, the best miler in the world with the retirement of Frankel, and Moonlight Cloud, a high-class filly who's highly rated by her conditioner Freddy Head, who also trained the mighty Miesque and incomparable Goldikova. Wise Dan has the advantage of being at home; he's dominated the North American mile scene and the Santa Anita hard turf and bends will suit him to perfection.If he'd race in Europe, he would not be as competitive. There isn't much more to say on Excelebration that hasn't been written. On his best form, he will annihilate this field. The only negative is that he's running his second Group 1 race in just 2 weeks. His fitness won't be at its mighty peak. Moonlight Cloud has solid grounds to be in the placings and is possibly around two lengths behind Excelebration on their best form.

I believe Wise Dan will run his race and should thus be in the first 3. If Excelebration has recuperated enough from his last race, he'll be tough to beat. Moonlight Cloud won't be far back if she takes to the Santa Anita track. Thus the only certain thing is that Wise Dan is destined for at least a place and that's the selection.

Filly and Mare Turf. If there is a trainer from the European team who knows US racing and form, it's John Gosden. He has targeted this race for The Fugue for a long time and the Dansili filly looks destined to play a major role in this year's race. She will love the fast ground and she will be well rested from her last race where she was a good second to high-class Shareta in the Yorkshire Oaks. She has a first-class chance to win this, and should she fail, I cannot see her out of the first 3. Her main opponents look to be from the European raiding party in Ridasiyna and Nahrain, as well as the American Lady of Shamrock. I will oppose the first one because she very much prefers soft ground; Nahrain's form is inconsistent at best, and Lady of Shamrock still has a few pounds to find to The Fugue. Each-way on The Fugue is the recommendation.

Will not win: Royal Delta
Each-way: Awesome Feather, The Fugue
Place: Wise Dan

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