Breeders’ Cup Turf 2013 Preview

The Breeders’ Cup Turf is one of the highlights of the Breeders’ Cup meeting and European runners have a fine recent record in the race. They have dominated since Daylami won in 1999 with Little Mike being only the third outright American-trained winner since then when he held off Point Of Entry last season.

The Favourite

The hot favourite this year is The Fugue, owned by Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber and trained at Newmarket by John Gosden. The filly was expected to win the Epsom Oaks last season but had to settle for third after suffering interference. She later proved herself the best staying filly of her generation by winning the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.thefugue1

Twelve months ago she was sent off 11-8 favourite for the Filly & Mare Turf but again suffered a nightmare passage before flashing home in third. She would almost certainly have won with a clear run in the home straight and has added to her reputation with victories in the Yorkshire Oaks and the Irish Champion Stakes this season.

The Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe and the Champion Stakes were bypassed owing to soft ground and Gosden has taken the bold move of going for the Turf this season. She has won over a mile and a half and favours a fast surface so it is not surprising to see her as short as 2-1 with Bet365.

The Challengers

Just as The Fugue suffered Breeders’ Cup frustration last year, so too did Point Of Entry. He had to be snatched up going into the first turn in this race and made up a lot of late ground to finish just half a length behind Little Mike at the wire.

That was his only defeat in eight races and the son of Dynaformer has been aimed at this race all year. Little Mike seemed to go off the boil a little, notably when running moderately in his attempt to record back-to-back victories in the Arlington Million in August. He could do no better than sixth that day but has since won a Grade 1 to put himself back in the picture here.

He got home by a nose from Big Blue Kitten who reopposes on Saturday night, the bookmakers finding it hard to split the pair at around 7-1. Perhaps the least exposed of the challengers is Aidan O’Brien’s Magician who looked a useful colt when winning the Irish 2000 Guineas in May. The form of that race has not worked out particularly well and he made no show at Royal Ascot in June. He also faces a tough task as the only three-year-old in the race.

The Outsiders

Gary Stevens has a habit of stealing the headlines at this meeting and he teams up with Indy Spirit for Richard Mandella. He ran a shocking race when last at Arlington but bounced back in the John Henry Turf Championship to record a Grade 2 success.

Real Solution was controversially awarded the race at Arlington after suffering interference from The Apache. He looks held by Point Of Entry on earlier form but usually runs a good race and could be thereabouts.

If there is to be a major upset it could come from Vagabond Shoes who breaks from the one barrier. He ran on from well back to finish just over a length behind Indy Point last time and should be kept closer to the pace this time.

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