With the approaching finale of the 2013 British flat racing season, attention switches to Santa Anita in California for the annual Breeders Cup meeting during the first weekend in November.
As per usual, there are several challengers from Britain, Ireland and Europe contesting the races among a strong American contingent.
The John Gosden trained The Fugue is the most favoured of the British horse and she is 9/4 with William Hill to succeed in the Breeder’s Cup Turf over 1m 4f. Having bypassed the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe due to the softer ground conditions, she has won her last two starts and may improve upon her close third in the fillies and mares turf race at the meeting last year.
The Fugue may be opposed by the Aidan O’Brien trained Magician who hasn’t appeared since trailing home in last place in the St James’s Palace Stakes in June. With some sprinting blood in his breeding, this distance may stretch his stamina although Paddy Power are offering 13/2 for his chances.
Both are quoted at 7/1 by Boylesports. Five year old American horse Point of Entry will hope to improve upon his second place in the same race last season but has only raced once this summer when winning at Belmont Park in June. Coral offer him at 9/2.
In the other main feature race, the Breeder’s Cup Classic over 1m 2f on dirt, Aidan O’Brien will be hoping that Declaration of War can emulate his success in the Juddmonte International at York in August. He has not raced since that victory but is priced at 10/1 by SkyBet with Game On Dude quoted at 4/1 favourite also with SkyBet.
The six year old American gelding appears somewhat fragile with only three races in the past two years culminating in a victory on dirt in April. Fort Larned has not appeared since winning the same race last season while second placed Mucho Macho Man returned to winning ways with a comfortable win on this track in September and is offered at 9/2 by BetVictor to win this year’s renewal.
Of the other British contenders, QEII winner Olympic Glory may try to win the Turf Mile race but may not have his favoured soft ground conditions. Last year’s winner and 2012 American horse of the year Wise Dan will provide the main opposition but a nine race winning sequence was ended recently when he was second to Silver Max. Wise Dan is Evens at William Hill to retain his crown with the in-form Silver Max offered at 13/2 by BetVictor.
Meanwhile Aidan O’Brien will be attempting to win the Juvenile Turf prize for the third successive season. He will rely primarily on Giovanni Boldini and although he is priced at 4/1 by Bet365, there is just the suggestion that he favours the all-weather track at Dundalk to the turf.
With American horses expected to win the majority of the contests, European horses do retain hope in the feature races.
The Fugue image courtesy of Meteorshoweryn