The two-day Breeders Cup meeting begins at Del Mar this evening and there is a strong European challenge for both juvenile turf events.
Aidan O’Brien’s Happily is 7/2 joint favourite for the fillies’ event but I’m not convinced the tight Del Mar track will suit and preference is for Chad Brown’s Rushing Fall (9.25) who has won both starts to date in the manner of a top-class juvenile. Her draw in stall 11 is less than ideal but at 7/2 with BetVictor, she is taken to get the hosts off to a flying start.
In the colts’ event, Masar (10.50) pulled hard and didn’t get home on the soft ground behind the filly Happily at Chantilly on Arc Day and this evening’s faster ground will suit Charlie Appleby’s son of New Approach who is priced at 9/2 with BetVictor.
In the last at Wetherby this afternoon I’m looking forward to the hurdling debut of Rose Dobbin’s dual Bumper winner Planet Nine (3.45) with this intermediate 2m 4f trip looking ideal. The selection who scored at Thurles at the beginning of February cost connections £135,000 when sold at Cheltenham’s Horses-In-Training Sale later in the month and the selection subsequently defied his penalty when scoring at Perth at the end of April.
Who’s My Jockey (1.35) was all the rage for his hurdles debut over the minimum trip at Uttoxeter but his hurdling lacked fluency and he looked like he would appreciate stepping up in trip. He returns to the Staffordshire track with the best part of another half a mile to travel this afternoon and can get off the mark over timber at the second time of asking.
The Beginners Chase over two miles is a very hot race and Barry Geraghty comes across the Irish Sea to ride Hell’s Kitchen on his seasonal reappearance for Harry Fry. The 6-year-old hasn’t been seen since finishing third over 2m 4f at Ascot last November and connections apply a hood this afternoon given he was very keen on his last start.
War Sound is returning from an even longer absence, but remains a horse of some potential although if he jumps soundly it is hard to get away from River Wylde (2.45) who finished third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle back in March and his subsequent Aintree defeat is readily overlooked given that was not his true running. He is an exciting recruit to the chasing ranks and is currently priced at 25/1 with BetVictor for the Arkle at Cheltenham in March.
Trainer Neil King had a treble at Fakenham midweek and his Big Meadow (3.20) can go close in the 3m handicap hurdle despite the fact that he may prefer slightly softer ground.
At Newmarket Fleabiscuit is worth a second glance on her belated seasonal reappearance especially if the market speaks in her favour but Ralph Beckett’s lightly-raced Star Story (2.55) has only raced on soft ground and her breeding suggests she should be at least as effective on today’s better ground.