Ahead of the two-day Breeders’ Cup extravaganza in Keeneland, Conor Stroud takes a look at five of the best European contenders looking to land some big prizes Stateside this weekend.
The Platinum Queen
Juvenile Turf Sprint – Friday, 7pm
The two-year-olds kick off the Breeders’ Cup meeting and popular sprinter The Platinum Queen could get the British team off to an excellent start for trainer Richard Fahey.
She has been something of a sensation for Middleham Park Racing, beating the older horses in the Prix de l’Abbaye on Arc Day at ParisLongchamp last time out. Hollie Doyle will take the ride, and she will need to be out fast from a tricky draw in stall 12.
Other leading British hopes include Dramatised (Karl Burke) and Persian Force (Richard Hannon), but the main danger could well be Wesley Ward’s Love Reigns.
Ward has an excellent record at Keeneland and this filly won on debut here, with her sole defeat a good fourth in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Breeders’ Cup Banker – 7/10
Turf Sprint – Saturday, 4.29pm
Sprinters also kick off Breeders’ Cup Saturday and Highfield Princess will take on Golden Pal in what looks one of the clashes of the meeting.
Highfield Princess has enjoyed a remarkable 2022, winning three Group One races for John Quinn but Saturday could be the toughest test yet.
She takes on Wesley Ward’s speedster Golden Pal on his home turf of Keeneland, and whilst he hasn’t shone in the UK, he’s a different proposition in the US and will be tough to beat if showing his trademark gate speed.
Breeders’ Cup Banker – 4/10
Filly & Mare Turf – Saturday, 5.50pm
Hollie Doyle has another big chance in the Filly & Mare Turf with three-year-old filly Nashwa, who looks to have plenty in her favour after a campaign that included Group One victories in the French Oaks and Nassau Stakes.
She was beaten last time out on Arc Day by Place Du Carrousel, but was involved in a pace duel on testing ground so a line can be put through that.
The home challenge looks fairly weak, so the dangers could well be the Aidan O’Brien duo of Tuesday and Above The Curve, but the hope will be that Nashwa has too much speed and gives the John & Thady Gosden team another Breeders’ Cup success.
Breeders’ Cup Banker – 9/10
Mile – Saturday, 7.10pm
Another who has thrived towards the back of this season, Ralph Beckett’s Kinross comes into the Mile having won his last four starts under Frankie Dettori.
The earlier pair of victories came at Group Two level, before taking the Prix de la Foret and then backing that up with an easy success in the British Champions Sprint on Champions Day.
The five-year-old is clearly in the form of his life and again the biggest threats could well come from the UK.
Charlie Appleby’s Modern Games has already won Group One races in France and Canada this season, as well as having taken the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar last year.
Dreamloper is another definitely worth a second look for Ed Walker and the returning Kieran Shoemark in the saddle.
Breeders’ Cup Banker – 5/10
Turf – Saturday, 8.40pm
Godolphin and Charlie Appleby took this race last year with Yibir and looks to again have a stranglehold on the race this time around.
Rebel’s Romance is the mount of James Doyle and has won his last four, including a pair of Group One victories in Germany.
However, William Buick has opted to ride Nations Pride and that could be telling, with the three-year-old having enjoyed an excellent spell stateside after finishing eighth in the Derby.
A second in the Belmont Derby has been backed up with victories in Saratoga and Aqueduct – he might just have the edge over his stablemate as well as fellow British raider Mishriff.
Breeders’ Cup Banker – 8/10
Watch every Breeders’ Cup race live on Sky Sports Racing on November 4-5