HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, October 15, 2021 — Just when I thought I was out of Breeders’ Cup preps, Ascot pulled me back in. Not only that but it’s another Saturday where there is no choice; it’s early to rise. But then we get to see the event live, starting at 8 am.
Are you ready for British Champions Day? Indeed, the concept has had its share of critics. We’re sure Breeders’ Cup would like to see it run at least one week earlier, giving those so inclined three weeks respite before running back in the New World.
The locals, meanwhile, would like to see it move forward to somewhat mitigate the heavy ground that often develops during England’s rainy season. Others lament the lack of juvenile racing on the program.
What is not lacking, however, is high quality Thoroughbred stock. Now, with a decade of history behind it, British Champions Day has delivered, indeed giving Breeders’ Cup its share of promotional fodder. Anecdotally, it has succeeded by any metric.
To name a handful, Frankel, Cracksman, and Magical won in the event’s first decade. upset followed. Tomorrow, the focus is a rematch of the exacta finishers in the Group 1 King George Queen Elizabeth on this course. Who do you like, Mishriff or Adayar?
Or will another Irish-bred, Addeybb, one of three William Haggas entrants, upset them both? Haggas will be busy on this continent, too, with Gr 3 winning Cloudy Dawn in today’s G1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. Post time for the Gr.1 Qipco Champion Stakes is 10:50 am.
At Ascot, however, the open counterpart event, in the Qipco Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, something has to give. Can four-year-old Palace Pier keep his win streak going for John Gosden and Frankie or will streaking three-year-old Baaeed keep his roll going for Haggas. At 127 pounds, Baaeed is getting three pounds from his older rival.
In other Group 1 matchups, looking forward to seeing whether uber talented three-year-old filly Snowfall can make amends for her heavy-ground drubbing as the favorite in the storied Arc de Triomphe two weeks ago in the British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes. Snowfall won on yielding ground on this course in June.
And in the first Gr.1 of the morning, the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes, which of the 20 entered will win going three-quarters of a mile. These five are likely to view for favoritism but whoever wins this, horseplayers will get paid, should Art Power or Creative Force, Dragon Symbol, Minzall, or Rohann emerge from the pack in front. Post time is set for 9 am.
The morning begins at 8:25 am when the redoubtable seven-year-old marathoner, Stradavarius, will attempt to win yet another marathon for Team Gosden/Dettori as the 4-1 7-5 second choice in the two-mile Gr.2 British Champions Long Distance Cup. Trueshan is the 7-5 early line favorite to take his third straight for Alan King and Hollie Doyle.
We’ll assess several American races of interest and will provide HRI A-B-C Betting Grids starting with Saturday’s Grade 1 at Keeneland, and will return with updates on events from around the country:
G1 QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP
A: 3-Shantisara (7-2), 4-Empress Josephine (3-1), 1-Burning Ambition (6-1)
B: 2-Technical Analysis (4-1), 9-Cloudy Dawn (15-1)
C: 8-Flippant (15-1), 10-Closing Remarks (8-1)
PRELIMINARY ALLOWANCES Race 5
A: 4-Show Me The Honey (10-1), 9-Union’s Gem (3-1)
B: 5-Highway Queen (9-2), 6-Get the Candy (4-1)
C: 7-Write This Down (10-1), 10-Happy Hill Lil (6-1)
G2 SANDS POINT Race 6
A: 5-Higher Truth (2-1), 6-Plum Ali (8-1)
B: 4-Runaway Rumour (8-1), 8-Our Flash Drive (12-1)
C: 3-Harajuku (3-1)
CALIFORNIA DISTAFF HANDICAP Race 7
A: 1-Warren’s Showtime (9-5), 5-Bella Vita (5-2)
B: 4-Anna Fantastic (8-1)
C: 2-Cassie Belle (6-1)
Where multiple choices are listed in a category, preference read from left to right. Handicappers can move horses up or down if they choose, but one grade only
this is a live column and will be updated periodically