Breeders' Cup: Bookies' verdict
We quiz the layers on this weekend's Breeders' Cup meeting to get their views on all the major issues set to be decided.
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Giovanni Boldini, Wilshere Boulevard, Outstrip and Shamson go for Europe in the Juvenile Turf - which has been the most popular European raider in your book?
Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: Outstrip is the only one that has a realistic each-way chance as far as I'm concerned. The other challengers, although good horses in their own right, would need to step up considerably to get in on the action.
Hayley O'Connor, Ladbrokes: The most popular has definitely been Giovanni Boldini. With the O'Brien/Moore combo successful in the race last year with George Vancouver, punters seem confident they will have another winning raid. He is well drawn in stall two and the American challenge appears to lack depth.
Rory Jiwani, Stan James: Outstrip has been the most popular of the Europeans here but we've not seen enough to warrant cutting his price from 4/1 which is the same price as leading home hope Bobbys Kitten. Giovanni Boldini is currently our 7/2 favourite.
Andrew Griffiths, Betfred: The Juvenile Turf has not been the busiest ante-post market, but of the Europeans, Shamshon has been attracted some interesting each-way support. We're not too concerned about him though, as he seemed to have his limitations exposed in the Mill Reef last month.
Jon Ivan-Duke, William Hill: Giovanni Boldini has been the best-backed European raider in the Juvenile Turf and it's easy to understand why, given Aidan O'Brien's record in the race. Wrote started at 9/1 for the race in 2011 and George Vancouver was 6/1 last year - it looks likely that Giovanni Boldini will go off a much shorter price.
Vorda, Al Thakhira and Chriselliam head the betting for the Juvenile Fillies' Turf - what chance a European 1-2-3 here?
Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: Absolutely none! Realistically to get one of the European horses to win the race would be a major achievement. I'm keen on Al Thakhira and was really taken by her win last time out. This looks a real after-thought with Vorda and I would be keen to take her on. Chriselliam did well to win at Newmarket but I'm not sure about the strength of that form and this looks much harder.
Hayley O'Connor, Ladbrokes: They sit in the first three in the betting for the race and the American turf horses haven't appeared to be vintage bunch. With the best of the US horses My Conquestadory being drawn in stall 14, a European 1-2-3 is far from an impossibility.
Rory Jiwani, Stan James: Al Thakhira really impressed at Newmarket last time out and she's the one we want to keep on side. There's a real stamina doubt over Vorda who looked all speed in winning the Cheveley Park while Chriselliam had the run of the race in the Fillies' Mile and she may not be so lucky here.
Andrew Griffiths, Betfred: On paper you would have to say our prospects look rather rosy. We have the front three in the betting, but around a tight circuit such as Santa Anita we will need plenty of luck in running to keep the home team out of the frame.
Jon Ivan-Duke, William Hill: All three are potential winners so a 1-2-3 isn't out of the question. Vorda really impressed me in the Cheveley Park and I don't think she will have any trouble with the step-up in trip. Chriselliam was a shock winner of the Fillies' Mile and it remains to be seen whether she can repeat that sort of effort. Al Thakhira has done nothing wrong and certainly deserves a crack at the highest level.
Is anything being backed against The Fugue in the Turf and what is your personal opinion of her chances this year?
Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: The market has yet to really take shape although The Fugue is bound to be the best-backed horse in our book. As for her chance, this mile-and-a-half race against the boys is the right race for her rather than the 10-furlong Filly and Mares' Turf she was third in last year. She has a favourite's chance - unfortunately this is a really bad race for favourites!
Hayley O'Connor, Ladbrokes: The opposition to her in the market at the moment probably comes from Big Blue Kitten, who was unlucky to be beaten by a nose on her last run. However, The Fugue has been laid out for this contest, is lightly raced this season and certainly in great form. She loves fast ground and will like the tight turning track so everything seems to her favour. We have laid plenty of her at 7/4 and I think she has an excellent chance of winning. She was beaten in America last year having met trouble in running but we expect she'll hit the target this weekend.
"Frankly, it's been one-way traffic for the Gosden filly and she is an incredibly ugly blot in our ante-post market."
Andrew Griffiths on The Fugue
Rory Jiwani, Stan James: The Fugue is pretty much the only horse we've laid in the Turf and she's a strong favourite at 9/4 which is the biggest price about. A repeat of her displays in the Yorkshire Oaks and Irish Champion Stakes would suffice but I'm certain Point Of Entry would have won last year's renewal had he not been badly hampered at the start and he would be my pick at the prices.
Andrew Griffiths, Betfred: We went up at 4/1 on The Fugue, which in hindsight looks more than a little generous. Frankly, it's been one-way traffic for the Gosden filly and she is an incredibly ugly blot in our ante-post market. She enjoyed a nightmare passage in last year's Fillies & Mares Turf and we, for one, will be hoping for more of the same on Saturday.
Jon Ivan-Duke, William Hill: The Fugue is incredibly popular in the Turf and she is well backed. There has been very little interest in the opposition, but Point Of Entry - who was a bit unlucky in the race last year - must go down as a strong challenger.
Is there plenty of patriotic money for Olympic Glory to turn over big home hope Wise Dan in the Mile?
Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: There is money around for Olympic Glory and I expect this trend to continue as I was mightily impressed with his performance on Champions Day. In what looks simply a two-horse race, it is a no-brainer value wise as Wise Dan shouldn't be as short as he is and Olympic Glory shouldn't be as big as he is. If the blinkers work as well as they did at Ascot then he has every chance as Wise Dan doesn't look as good as he was this time last year.
Hayley O'Connor, Ladbrokes: The market suggests punters are hopeful rather than certain. He was so impressive in the QEII, and Wise Dan was defeated last time in the Shadwell Turf Mile when attempting a 10th consecutive victory, but this race is a different kettle of fish than Ascot for Hannon's charge.
Rory Jiwani, Stan James: Olympic Glory has been backed but it's more a case of bad each-way money than patriotic money for the British Champions Day hero with Wise Dan the odds-on favourite.
Andrew Griffiths, Betfred: Off the back of his QEII romp, it's surprising how easy to back Olympic Glory has been for the Mile. Patriotism appears to have gone out of the window in this race as punters have been lumping on Wise Dan to record back-to-back wins in the race.
Jon Ivan-Duke, William Hill: I have to be honest and say we haven't seen much for Olympic Glory. Richard Hannon has confirmed that the horse will be one of the few at the Breeders' Cup not to be on Lasix, which you have to respect. It's hard to say whether that has put punters off backing the horse. Either way, Wise Dan is a worthy favourite.
Dank in the Fillies & Mares Turf. Is she the European banker?
Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: Absolutely not - this is quite a deep field and she probably couldn't have got a worse draw coming out of post position one as it is likely that she will get badly squeezed early on the turn that comes up straight after the start.
Hayley O'Connor, Ladbrokes: Yes, without doubt. She was electrifying at Arlington in August when winning the Beverly D Stakes and the US challengers simply do not look good enough.
Rory Jiwani, Stan James: Absolutely. Sir Michael Stoute's filly is our biggest loser of the whole meeting having been backed in from 10/3 last week to 7/4 now. She was 9/2 at the start of October and we'll be hoping something beats her on the day.
Andrew Griffiths, Betfred: We were very taken with Dank in the Beverly D. She destroyed her rivals at Arlington and if she can reproduce that effort, her rivals will just be scrapping for the minor places.
Jon Ivan-Duke, William Hill: Yes. The way she stormed to victory in the Beverly D suggests she will be very hard to beat. Sir Michael Stoute has won the race once before with Islington and Dank has a similarly progressive profile. William Hill HQ report some interesting support for Tiz Flirtatious at bigger prices, but Dank would be a poor result for us if she wins.
Does the money suggest Declaration of War will take to the surface in the big one, the Classic?
Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: He should take to the surface as he is bred to go on American dirt and he has the same preparation for this race as Giant's Causeway had before he was second to Tiznow when the race was run at Churchill Downs in 2000. Like the Iron Horse, he was taken to work in the kickback at Southwell and reportedly came through that workout with flying colours.
"On breeding, Aidan O'Brien's star should take to the dirt and the punters clearly think so."
Rory Jiwani on Declaration Of War
Hayley O'Connor, Ladbrokes: The money hasn't arrived just yet, but we expect it will on the day. A son of War Front, he is bred for the dirt and his dam side indicates as well that he should have the correct credentials.
Rory Jiwani, Stan James: On breeding, Aidan O'Brien's star should take to the dirt and the punters clearly think so. After Dank, he's our worst result of the meeting but we're clear top-priced at 9/1 and still happy to lay him as this looks a wide-open affair. Palace Malice is one we want to keep the right side of.
Andrew Griffiths, Betfred: Unlike many of his European predecessors who have tried their luck in the Classic, Declaration Of War has a trick up his sleeve in that he is bred for the dirt. There has been decent support for him in the ante-post markets and we won't be going out of our way to lay him for much more on Saturday.
Jon Ivan-Duke, William Hill: Aidan O'Brien is confident that, with his pedigree, Declaration Of War will take to the dirt. I was at the Breeders' Cup press conference at Epsom where the trainer compared him to Giant's Causeway and said the Classic was a race he'd love to win. It's the only one of Aidan's that Joseph will be able to ride and he has his supporters in the betting.
What is your bet of the meeting?
Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: Ever Rider in the Marathon - similar South American profile to last year's winner, Calidoscopio.
Hayley O'Connor, Ladbrokes: Unbridled's Note in the Turf Sprint; she was second in the race last year from stall 13, beaten half a length and I expect she'll go very well again at a track she just loves.
Rory Jiwani, Stan James: Point Of Entry each way in the Turf. I can't see him out of the frame and The Fugue will have to be at her best to beat him.
Andrew Griffiths, Betfred: We can't see many chinks in Dank's armour and we'll be surprised if she doesn't come out on top.
Jon Ivan-Duke, William Hill: Number of European winners to be three or more at evens.
What is your lay of the meeting?
Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: Vorda in the Juvenile Fillies' Turf - never been beyond six furlongs, never run around a turn, and this race is a complete after-thought driven by the new owner.
Hayley O'Connor, Ladbrokes: Game On Dude in the Classic.
Rory Jiwani, Stan James: Game On Dude in the Classic. He may be unbeaten in his last six but he has been barely extended this year and this is far, far tougher.
"Vorda has never been beyond six furlongs, never run around a turn, and this race is a complete after-thought driven by the new owner."
Michael Shinners' lay of the meeting
Andrew Griffiths, Betfred: Havana has been drawn very wide in the Juvenile and we'll be out to get him on the night.
Jon Ivan-Duke, William Hill: Pass - the races are so competitive, I wouldn't want to put anyone off anything.
What is your European banker?
Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: I don't think there is a European banker in the entire series but Olympic Glory is probably the most likely Euro winner.
Hayley O'Connor, Ladbrokes: Dank.
Rory Jiwani, Stan James: While I'm not especially keen on the European challenge, it's hard to see past Dank in the Fillies & Mares Turf with her win in the Beverly D the strongest form on show.
Andrew Griffiths, Betfred: As above, our feet are firmly in the Dank camp.
Jon Ivan-Duke, William Hill: It has to be Dank.
Give us an outsider to cheer home
Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: Two decent-priced horses each way would be Bon Accord in the Juvenile Turf and Gentlemen's Bet in the Dirt Sprint.
Hayley O'Connor, Ladbrokes: Brujo De Olleros in the Dirt Mile.
Rory Jiwani, Stan James: I'm surprised Will Take Charge isn't shorter for the Classic. He's improved for every run and now looks to be the pick of three-year-olds. At a general 12/1 he looks great each-way value from here.
Andrew Griffiths, Betfred: Palace Malice has been training nicely and we expect a big run from him in the Classic.
Jon Ivan-Duke, William Hill: Centralinteligence is bred for the Dirt Mile and although he has his quirks, he's got great speed if he's in the mood.