There are so many imponderables as the Breeder’s Cup meeting gets underway at Keeneland tonight that the odds look heavily stacked in favour of the bookies.
As well as this being the first time the meeting has been staged here, there is uncertainty over the going and the effect of the draw.
These variables are likely to have greatest impact in the two juveniles races on today’s opening card, where the young horses turning up to face the starter will have their stamina stretched further than ever before.
Not only will the soft ground tax the runners, but the distance is unknown territory to some and the likely breakneck gallop will only accentuate the effect of these challenges.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
Backing the 3 or 4 biggest outsiders in both races may not be the worst tactic in the world, but the two double figure price colts we like in the opener are the Chad Brown pair of RAY’S THE BAR and CAMELOT KITTEN.
The latter has had one run for the trainer having started life with Michael Bell in the UK. He looks the type to improve considerably on his second start for his new handler and there is every chance he will handle underfoot conditions.
Camelot Kitten was only just behind one of the favourites here, Airoforce, last time out despite running green and getting behind early on. With that experience behind him he can reverse those places today and be in the mix at the death.
We can’t resist covering those two bets by having a saver on CYMRIC, who nearly pulled off a big coup for us at Longchamp last time out. He may have no chance from his berth here, but we won’t know the effect of the draw until after this race so given his proven stamina and ability to handle soft ground he has to be supported.
|Cymric (ew)||7.30 Keeneland||6/1||Stan James|
|Ray’s The Bar (ew)||7.30 Keeneland||18/1||Stan James|
|Camelot Kitten (ew)||7.30 Keeneland||14/1||Stan James|
Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
In the Dirt Mile that follows it is impossible to look beyond LIAM’S MAP.
This trailblazer has a great draw in 3 that should allow him to hit the front early and, hopefully, stay there. The drop back in trip will suit him and the only risk is his jockey overdoing the front running tactics, as he did when his mount suffered his only defeat so far on his penultimate start.
|Liam’s Map (win)||8.10 Keeneland||4/5||Ladbrokes, William Hill|
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
Europe’s best hope on day one could prove to be ALICE SPRINGS in the Fillies Turf.
The step up in trip should bring about further improvement in the Coolmore juvenile, who seems to be improving with every race.
TIME AND MOTION is a much more speculative selection, but she has run well behind a few of these before and those efforts suggest she is way overpriced here.
She has looked all about stamina on those two starts and an end to end gallop could see her passing plenty of rivals up the straight.
Last Waltz looks one of many dangers to the selections.
|Alice Springs (ew)||8.50 Keeneland||10/3||Stan James|
|Time and Motion (ew)||8.50 Keeneland||40/1||Stan James, Ladbrokes, Coral|
Breeders’ Cup Distaff
The Distaff looks the night’s most competitive heat, although Wedding Toast is a worthy favourite for Godolphin.
At slightly bigger odds, we are going to take a chance on STELLAR WIND, who’s only defeat in five starts so far this season came in the Kentucky Oaks, where she met plenty of trouble in running.
She’s had a nice break since her last run and should go well.
|Stellar Wind (ew)||9.35 Keeneland||9/1||Coral|
Ladbrokes are offering customers money back as a free bet (up to £25 per race) on all four of these Breeders Cup races – if your horse finishes second.