Breeders' Cup tips including Circus Maximus in the Mile

Circus Maximus is fancied in the Mile
Circus Maximus is fancied in the Mile

Matt Brocklebank previews all nine races on the Breeders' Cup programme at Sanita Anita on Saturday.

All times GMT...

18.55 - Filly & Mare Sprint

COME DANCING looks to have developed into a mighty mare this season and while unproven at Santa Anita, her proven stamina should see her handle this really deep surface well. Covfefe is the big form danger but the general consensus is that stall one will cause her problems and the bigger threat may ultimately emerge from Bellafina who should stay out of trouble from stall six. She’s mixed in hot company all year and will relish a return to this track where she boasts a perfect 3-3 record.

19.33 - Turf Sprint

Age has been no barrier to success in this race over the years and it may pay to focus on eight-year-old Pure Sensation and EDDIE HASKELL, who is six. Preference is for the latter after his unlucky second in the Grade Two Eddie D Stakes over this course and distance at the end of September. He’s won three times over the minimum trip on firm ground this year, including twice at this track, and remains on a steep upward curve. Om should also be involved when it matters.

20.10 - Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile

OMAHA BEACH wouldn’t be out of place in the Classic, or the Sprint for that matter, following his comeback win over Shancelot at this venue. That came at six furlongs but he was running over a mile as a juvenile and looked a proper Derby prospect when winning the Grade One Arkansas Derby in April before the injury setback. He’s a skinny price but there aren’t many holes in his case. Improbable has plenty of top-class experience and Bob Baffert is quite sweet on his claims, but Pennsylvania Derby runner-up Mr Money is given the nod to chase home the jolly.

20.54 - Maker's Mark Filly & Mare Turf

The reigning champ Sistercharlie is going to be very hard to beat but her price looks short enough and a chance is taken on Richard Hannon’s BILLESDON BROOK. Last year’s 1000 Guineas heroine looks right back to her best at present following a slight tweak to her regime this season. She appears to be absolutely thriving, has a nice looking draw and could find a little more improvement for the move up to 10 furlongs on ground that will clearly play to her strengths. If there’s enough pace on early, Castle Lady could be interesting if played late by Mickael Barzalona. She, too, promises to be suited by the slight move up in distance.

21.36 – Sprint

CATALONA CRUISER could have run in the Dirt Mile but his presence really spices up this sprint contest which is run over seven furlongs. Trainer John Sadler got the Breeders' Cup monkey off his back with a first winner last year - in the Classic no less - and he could strike again with this chestnut son of Union Rags. He looked better than ever when winning the Grade Two Pat O'Brien at Del Mar last time and his will to win and sheer toughness could give him the edge. Imperial Hint is more of a speedball but could be vulnerable late on, with a stronger chance given to Shancelot and Mitole. The latter had a pretty nice set-up when winning the Grade One Forego Stakes at Saratoga last time but his work over the past couple of weeks has reportedly been exceptional.

22.20 - TVG Mile

It paid to be on or near to the pace on Future Stars Friday and it’s not hard to see CIRCUS MAXIMUS making it count if able to get out and get across from stall nine. His record since dropping back to a mile with blinkers fitted is really strong (two wins and a close second in the Sussex Stakes) and the addition of Lasix may just help settle him as he can get stewed up pre-race. If the selection uses too much gas in the first half of the race, things could be teed up for Uni, who commands a huge amount of respect having been supplemented into the race by Chad Brown and connections after showing stark improvement in the First Lady Stakes at Keeneland.

23.00 - Longines Distaff

The only real concern around MIDNIGHT BISOU is that the Santa Anita track is riding a lot slower and deeper than when she was last in these parts running for her previous trainer. However, that's not enough to put me off as she won three times here before moving to Steve Asmussen, who shipped her in very early to get plenty of work into her on this surface. She's on an absolute roll and looks a bigger and better model than the one who finished only third, and a place behind the reopposing Wow Cat, in last year's Distaff. Chad Brown's filly is feared, as is her stable companion Dunbar Road, but the main threat could be an on-song Paradise Woods who is a bit in-and-out but very capable in this company on her day.

23.40 - Longines Turf

Aidan O’Brien knows exactly what’s required to win this – he’s achieved the feat six times in the past – and ANTHONY VAN DYCK has the perfect conditions to add his name to the roll of honour. He’s tough as nails having got loads of experience as a two-year-old and put it to good use to win the Investec Derby back in June. His three runs since haven’t been perfect but the Irish Champion Stakes was a very encouraging effort. Magical has won the Champion Stakes at Ascot since to help endorse the strength of the form and while Anthony Van Dyck strictly has something to find with Bricks And Mortar on a line through Leopardstown runner-up Magic Wand, the selection will now be fully cranked up. The son of Galileo looks capable of exposing any chinks in the armour of Chad Brown’s 10-furlong specialist, especially if Mount Everest helps him out by setting a strong gallop. Old Persian commands respect on ground he’ll love but the Godolphin runner doesn’t quite look up to conceding weight to the Derby winner.

00.44 - Classic

McKinzie has really developed into a talented performer this season but his complete no-show in last year's Classic sticks in the mind and he's still unproven at the trip, for that it hasn't stopped plenty of previous winners of this prestigious race. He just looks a bit of a tricky customer and it will be a severe test which may play to the strengths of VINO ROSSO. Todd Pletcher's runner is no world-beater but it doesn't look a particularly strong renewal of the race and it's not hard to argue that he was the best horse in the race when disqualified and placed behind Code Of Honor in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He won over this course and distance at the start of the year and looks bound to handle the deep conditions. Elate has been a fantastic talent but there's a fear that her Personal Ensign battle with Midnight Bisou might just have left its mark based on her subsequent defeat. She's a big player if right back on song, though, and this trip clearly suits her style well.


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