Ridasiyna to strike for France
Our Man On The Spot previews Friday's feature action at the Breeders' Cup meeting at Santa Anita.
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Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint
MERIT MAN will be a banker for the home team to kick-start this year's challenge and by the way he outclassed previous winner South Floyd over the course and distance last month it will take a massive performance to beat him. Bob Baffert will have winning debutant Super Ninety Nine revved up and though his victory on the track came over 7f he was always in the front rank and the drop back in trip won't be a problem. Sweet Shirley Mae has reportedly worked well since finishing second in the Grade 1 Spinaway, a recognised trial race for this, but Hazardous and Hightail look outmatched. Ascot's Queen Mary winner, Ceiling Kitty, has also won on the Polytrack but Santa Anita's main track has reverted to dirt since staging the 2009 Breeders' Cup and Tom Dascombe's filly will do well to figure on this surface.
Breeders' Cup Marathon
Last year's Gold Cup winner Fame And Glory is the obvious class act here though he's yet to race on dirt. However, he's become a bit disappointing recently and capitulated very quickly in the Group 3 Long Distance Cup at Ascot last time after looking the likely winner. Eldaafer won this at Churchill Downs in 2010 and though well beaten last year has looked on his way back to his best in his last couple of runs. He beat Not Abroad at Del Mar earlier but the latter has subsequently won over 1m4f and may well reverse running here. The three-year-old ATIGUN has been competing at Grade 1 level though over shorter trips. He was a strong-finishing third behind Union Rags when tackling 1m4f for the only time in the Belmont Stakes in June and gets the vote on that form. Worth Repeating won a Grade 3 over 1m4f here last year and arrives in very good heart and Commander makes more appeal than the Dermot Weld-trained Sense Of Purpose.
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
Sky Lantern was certainly impressive in the Moyglare when quickening very well to gain a decisive victory and connections believe she will be even better over a mile though conditions will be much quicker. Fellow raiders Waterway Run and The Gold Cheongsam will need to up their game but both are capable of doing so, particularly the former, who will also be suited by the fast surface. Spring Venture has been a very easy winner of all three starts at Woodbine but hasn't beaten much so far and it didn't look a strong Grade 3 race when Moonwalk beat Kitten's Point a neck at Keeneland. WATSDACHANCES was much more impressive when beating previous winner Sustained at Belmont last time. Originally with Ger Lyons when scoring at Navan in April, she's won both starts on Turf in America and stamina is no problem for Chad Brown's progressive filly.
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies
EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE is unbeaten in five and by the way she powered home to land the Grade 1 Oak Leaf over the C&D last time, win number six looks likely. Bob Baffert's filly had beaten Beholder earlier in the season and the latter has since recorded a huge speed figure when winning an allowance race here, although the form looks suspect in this grade. Dreaming Of Julia is also a major threat as she won her first two races by an aggregate of 26 lengths before stepping up to the highest level and landing Belmont's Grade 1 Frizette Stakes. The latter's trainer, Todd Pletcher, also runs the unbeaten Kauai Katie, who has sauntered home in all three starts though she's never raced beyond 7f. Spring In The Air and Renee's Queen race on Dirt for the first time with Almost An Angel and Broken Spell looking outclassed in this company.
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf
Marketing Mix and Zagora head the home contingent with the former preferred having won a Grade 1 over C&D last time. However, both were beaten earlier in the year when coming up against a couple of today's European raiders. I'm A Dreamer beat Marketing Mix in the Beverley D at Arlington in August with Up well behind but couldn't follow up in the Flower Bowl at Belmont when Nahrain bounced back to form. Roger Varian's filly beat Zagora on that occasion and Frankie Dettori was on board when she finished runner-up in this race last year at Churchill Downs. She'll be thereabouts again along with The Fugue whose latest victory in the Nassau Stakes suggests today's distance may well be her optimum trip but the French filly RIDASIYNA makes most appeal. The three-year-old has made rapid strides this year culminating in a three-length defeat of good yardstick Izzi Top in the Prix de l'Opera and Mikel Delzangles' charge may not have finished improving yet.
Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic
Many local observers believe this could be the race of the whole meeting. Royal Delta won the race at Churchill Downs a year ago beating It's Tricky by a couple of lengths and could hardly have advertised her claims better by slamming the runner-up by almost 10 lengths in a Grade 1 at Belmont in September. My Miss Aurelia has had six runs and won the lot including a head defeat of tonight's rival Questing in a Grade 1 last time. There's nothing between that pair while Love And Pride beat Royal Delta half-a-length in a handicap at Saratoga in August but was receiving 10lb and is unlikely to confirm the form. AWESOME FEATHER is living up to her name having remained unbeaten in no fewer than 10 starts including two Grade 1s. Drawn away from the inside rail, she can take up her preferred position of pressing the pace and continue her winning ways. Grace Hall has come up short at this level before but still makes more appeal than Include Me Out and Class Included.