The Breeders’ Cup Turf, run over 1m4f, traditionally attracts the top middle distance performers from Europe and North America. This year’s renewal is no different with a total of seven Group 1 or Grade 1 winners amongst the dozen runners (10.18pm GMT, Saturday, Santa Anita, California).
Aidan O’Brien’s five-year-old St Nicholas Abbey (16/5) is disputing favouritism with Claude McGaughney III’s four-year-old Point Of Entry (10/3) in the Breeders’ Cup Turf betting.
St Nicholas Abbey won this race last year, having been 5th in Danedream’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. His form going into the race this year looks a little less promising. He did win the Coronation Cup at Epsom in June, but has been beaten in four starts since.
He was very disappointing when trailing in 11th of 18, beaten 15½ lengths, in the Arc on his most recent start. The fact that Aidan O’Brien has sent the son of Montjeu across the Atlantic to defend his title suggests that he expects a betting showing. However, St Nicholas Abbey hardly looks a ready-made winner in waiting and is difficult to recommend, especially at the short odds on offer.
By contrast, Point Of Entry is highly progressive and has won all five starts, including the last three at Grade 1 level, since making his racecourse debut in a claiming race at Gulfstream Park in February. He holds Aidan O’Brien’s other entry, Treasure Beach (14/1) as well as Kindergarden Kid (40/1) and Little Mike (25/1) on their running in the Turf Classic Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park. This American may be the right type to break the European stranglehold on the Breeders’ Cup Turf in recent years.
That said, European turf performers tend to be a cut above their North American counterparts, as illustrated by the fact seven of the last 10 winners of the Turf, including High Chaparral, who dead-heated for first place in 2003, were trained in Britain, Ireland or France.
The French have just one representative this year, in the form of Alain de Royer-Dupre’s fantastic four-year-old filly Shareta (5/1). The daughter of Sinndar is another who failed to cut much ice in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, plugging on in bad ground to finish 9th, beaten 12½ lengths, behind surprise winner Solemia. Her trainer is adamant the going was against her that day.
Too few horses that ran at Longchamp have run since to tell whether or not the form is reliable. Indeed, the fourth, Haya Landa, and the sixth, Great Heavens, have both been beaten in lower grade contests since, so the form looks dubious at present.
Prior to the Arc, Shareta had been on an upward curve, winning the Yorkshire Oaks, on good to firm going, and the Prix Vermeille, on good to soft going, on her two previous starts. On the latter occasion, she beat Solemia by a comfortable 2¼ lengths, which adds weight the argument that the Arc form is unreliable.
This week George Rimaud, racing manager for Shareta’s owner the Aga Khan, reiterated her trainer’s view by stating that the filly is better suited by the firm going at Santa Anita than the heavy going she encountered at Longchamp. She’s had nearly a month to recover from her exertions there and, if she can resume her previous improvement, she appears to represent excellent value at her current odds.
Of those at longer odds, Trailblazer (7/1), trained in Japan by Yasutoshi Ikee, appears exposed as just short of Grade 1 class. Dullahan (12/1), named after an Irish mythological figure, but trained in the USA by Dale Romans, has won three times over 9f and 10f on Polytrack, but never over 1m4f and never on turf.
Breeders Cup Turf Betting Tips Verdict
In a race where the bookmakers are betting 25/1 bar the front five, back SHARETA to win at current best odds of 5/1 with Betfred or Paddy Power (keep an eye on the latest odds using the link below). Shareta is capable of beating her market rivals St Nicholas Abbey and Point Of Entry and can provide the Aga Khan with his fourth winner of the race since its inaugural running in 1984.