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2018 Breeders’ Cup tips - Through the card tips on Classic Saturday

A view of the Classic the last time the Breeders' Cup was staged at Churchill Downs.

Our expert takes a look through the card on Future Stars Friday and provides readers with his tips for all the major races at Churchill Downs.

Our expert takes a look through the card on Classic day at the Breeders’ Cup and provides readers with his tips for all the major races at Churchill Downs.

After some of the finest juveniles in the world lit up the track at Churchill Downs on Saturday, the more established stars get their chance to sign on the second day of the Breeders’ Cup. With nine Grade Ones and over $3m in prize money set to be handed out, the eyes of the world will be firmly fixed on Kentucky tomorrow afternoon and a stunning afternoon of flat racing is expected.

Our expert takes a look through Saturday’s card at the Breeders’ Cup and provides tips for all the major Group One races.

4:00pm Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Grade 1) (Dirt) 7f



Selcourt handed Marley’s Freedom quite the beating when they clashed in the Santa Monica Stakes back in March. While John Sadler’s winner has been inactive since, Marley’s Freedom has scooped Grade Three, Two and One prizes and travels to Churchill Downs as the favourite.

There have, however, been plenty of upsets in this race down the years, most recently when Bar Of Gold carried odds of 66/1 into the winners’ enclosure. With that in mind, I think it’s worth looking a little further down the betting and taking a chance on MISS SUNSET bouncing back to form over seven furlongs.

The last time Jeff Bonde’s filly tackled this trip, she lost out by just a nose to Finley’sluckycharm in the Grade One Madison Stakes. Miss Sunset has been kept over six furlongs since them, losing to two of her Breeders’ Cup rivals in Graded races at Santa Anita and Keeneland, but Bonde’s four-year-old clearly has talent and returning to seven furlongs could bring about a change in fortunes.


4:38pm Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (Grade 1) (Turf) 5½f



Havana Grey could be a decent each-way angle here, as could Will Call, who’s a course-and-distance winner and ran well behind Bucchero the last day. World Of Trouble is a bit of an unknow quantity here, having only run four times, but he travels to Kentucky on the back of two Listed wins and could be in with a squeak.

Disco Partner had to settle for third in this race last year as Stormy Liberal claimed a surprise win. The rivals lead the betting for Saturday’s race, but with the Churchill Downs turf set to come up good or even softer, CONQUEST TSUNAMI’S extra staying power could be vital on Saturday.

Since moving to Peter Miller’s yard in February, Conquest Tsunami has impressed over longer trips, comfortably beating Stormy Liberal on his stable debut before suffering narrow defeats in good quality sprints.

Florien Prat’s mount has experience running on soft ground and brings good form with him to the Breeders’ Cup. A wide draw is a worry, but I still fancy Conquest Tsunami to go well on his first start over this trip since his debut victory in 2014.

5:16pm Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (Grade 1) (Dirt) 1m



Some will argue John Sadler’s unbeaten colt has faced little competition in any of his three runs, which he has won by an aggregate distance of 17 lengths. Yet, the form of his San Diego Handicap victory was boosted by third-placed Dabster winning next time out and the favourite comfortably saw off Battle Of Midway – who won this race last year – when winning the Pat O’Brien.

Catalina Cruiser was eased down in the closing stages of that seven-furlong Grade Two and still stopped the clock in a time less than a second slower than Marley’s Freedom – favourite for the Filly And Mare Sprint over that trip – managed in the Grade One Ballerina Stakes. I expect the favourite to live up to his name and claim a maiden Grade One crown.

Wild Illusion powering to victory in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.


6:04pm Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Grade 1) (Turf) 1m3f



I’ve been backing WILD ILLUSION throughout the campaign and been handsomely rewarded on plenty of occasions. Charlie Appleby’s filly may have come up short in the Oaks and under a penalty in the Ribblesdale, but Wild Illusion has let those defeats phase her, comfortably seeing off some capable rivals in the Nassau Stakes before holding on to deny Magic Wand in the Prix de l’Opera.

Charlie Appleby and William Buick were successful in the Filly And Mares Turf last season, as Wuheida upset Rhododendron over the unique, nine furlong trip. American rival, Sistercharlie has won two Group Ones over this distance this year and has the home-field advantage. Yet, Wild Illusion has enough class to cope, she’s proven herself a successful traveller and her extra staying power should see her through in the closing stages.

6:46pm Twinspires Breeders' Cup Sprint (Grade 1) (Dirt) 6f



A small, select field for this year’s Sprint, where Roy H will attempt to retain the crown he won impressively last year. Imperial Hint was second on that occasion, but Luis Carvajal’s sprinter return to the Breeders’ Cup on the back of two Grade One victories, most recently in the Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park.

Promises Fulfilled held off Whitmore to win the Phoenix Stakes last time and both have to be respected. Yet, it’s LIMOUSINE LIBERAL – a three-quarter length third in that Grade Two – who get’s my each-way vote on Saturday.

Consistency is a trait I really like in sprinters and Ben Colebrook’s gelding hasn’t finished outside the top three places in any of his 12 runs in the past two seasons. This year, Limousine Liberal has won two Grade Twos over seven furlongs, beating Whitmore by a length in the Belmont Sprint Championship.

Limousine Liberal is a regular performer here in Kentucky, winning six of his eight outings around this track. Colebrook’s six-year-old has won on all of his last four runs at Churchill Downs and Jose Ortiz’s mount can challenge again after landing a nice draw in stall eight.


7:36pm Breeders' Cup Mile (Grade 1) (3yo+) (Turf) 1m



Many of the names in this Grade One will be familiar to British fans, with Freddie Head’s Polydream leading the betting ahead of the likes of Expert Eye, Gustav Klimt and One Master. None of the raiders at the head of the field, however, are proven over a mile and – while I’m finding it hard to get the image of I Can Fly powering home to almost snatch the QEII away from Roaring Lion out of my head – I fancy OSCAR PERFORMANCE will outshine his European adversaries.

Bryan Lynch’s charge is the highest-rated horse in the field and has claimed four Grade Ones on home soil. His most recent top-level success came at Woodbine in September, where he comfortably saw off a field containing 166-rated Lord Glitters to claim the $282k first prize.

At last year’s Breeders’ Cup, Oscar Performance finished well down the field in the mile-and-a-half Turf. Dropping down in trip has clearly done the trick for Lynch’s classy four-year-old and I fancy he will teach his European counterparts a lesson.

8:16pm Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (Grade 1) (Dirt) 1m1f



Abel Tasman has won a couple of Grade Ones over this trip, but could have her work cut out following a tricky inside draw. Three-year-olds have had to play second-fiddle to their elders in that past three renewals of the Distaff, but I’d be surprised if this race didn’t go the way of the youngsters and MONOMOY GIRL remains the outstanding candidate.

Brad Cox’s filly was the second-favourite behind Midnight Bisou heading into the Kentucky Oaks, but produced a strong showing over course-and-distance to deny Wonder Gadot. It looked like her unbeaten record was set to continue at Parx in the Cotillon Stakes the last day, until old rival Midnight Bissou decided to crash the party.

Monomoy Girl weaved in front of her rival under pressure, but still managed to hold on for the win. The stewards may have decided that the interference denied Midnight Bisou victory, but I’m not so sure it had that much effect on the outcome of the race and I expect Monomoy Girl to right that wrong back over nine furlongs.

Enable (left) holds on to win her second Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.


8:56pm Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (Grade 1) (Turf) 1m4f



I won’t beat around the bush here, as I fully expect ENABLE to get the job done at Churchill Downs and cement her position as the best racehorse in the world.

John Gosden’s girl was clearly a little under par in the Arc and it was no surprise to hear Gosden say they had run into a complication during the build-up. Yet, the queen of Longchamp was still good enough to put the likes of Waldgeist and Cloth Of Stars in the rear-view mirror and hold on to deny the late-charging Sea Of Class.

Enable goes on all surfaces, she travels well and Frankie Dettori should have no problems grabbing the ideal position from gate two. I can’t see a shock result coming in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf.

9:44pm Breeders' Cup Classic (Grade 1) (Dirt) 1m2f


Mckinzie has only been beaten once in his career and could improve over this new trip. Catholic Boy comfortably saw off Mendelssohn when they clashed on the dirt at Saratoga and Jon Thomas’ colt has to be respected. West Coast ran a fine race to claim third in this race last year and could improve on that, but I’m finding it hard to get away from ACCELERATE and the favourite should be good enough to claim the Classic.

Accelerate and West Coast clashed in the Awesome Again Stakes in September and it was Saturday’s market leader who claimed the bragging right, recovering really well from a sluggish start to triumph easily in that nine-furlong Grade One. Accelerate has been even more impressive over a-mile-and-a-quarter this year, securing three Grade One titles with the minimum of fuss.

It may not be the most novel idea, placing my faith in the favourite again. However, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Accelerate is the best horse entered over this trip on dirt and a wide draw puts another tick in Accelerate’s box. He could take some stopping.



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2018 Breeders’ Cup tips - Through the card tips on Classic Saturday

Our expert takes a look through the card on Classic day at the Breeders’ Cup and provides readers with his tips for all the major races at Churchill Downs on Saturday 3rd November.

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