A bloody nose for the Brits at the Breeders Cup with one exception….

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Frankel – ignored the Breeders Cup for home soil targets.

Sadly the results in Santa Anita, Los Angeles, at the well heralded Breeders Cup meeting went pretty much the way I expected and we returned with a bloody nose, our best chances failing to live up to expectations but a brave run by Toast Of New York who only went down by a nose in the Classic that effectively rounds off the card. As a champion of racing abroad and all it offers (culture, food, weather, and quality racing) it may well show us that perhaps our horses are not head and shoulders above the rest as some would have you believe, but on the other hand, early November hardly fits in with the rest of our racing and trying to keep a horse at his or her peak from the Guineas meeting in May all the way through is clearly a close to impossible task. In a sport awash with cash at the highest level, it never ceases to amaze me that cash is most certainly NOT king in this game as the likes of Frankel would have made more money at the Breeders Cup and then the Dubai World Cup than anywhere else, yet the very thought was almost instantly laughed out of the room. History and kudos still rule the Sport of Kings and until that changes and our best horses are targeted at the Breeders Cup as a prime aim and not as an afterthought, we will keep coming up close to empty handed.

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Paul Nicholls – will he try blinkers on Silviniaco Conti I wonder?

Meanwhile, the National Hunt season moved up a gear on Saturday with the Charlie Hall Chase for Wetherby and a decent enough meeting from Ascot as well but they both seemed to leave more questions than answers? I was (and perhaps still am) fairly convinced that all was not well inside the Paul Nicholls yard last season for whatever reason, leaving some of his horses well handicapped and able to win a decent enough contest or two this season, until the handicapper eventually catches up with them. Ulck Du Lin was a strong fancy of mine at Ascot for exactly that reason an duly obliged with a it in hand as well, confirming my theory and leaving me dreaming of future riches with my “cunning plan”. Other horses from the yard also ran well in handicaps with Solar Impulse winning at odds on (worth following too and value for a bigger winning margin after his rider lost his irons), and Black Thunder running a blinder in the United House Gold Cup – so what does that say about the disappointing run of Silviniaco Conti? In previous years I have been lucky enough to visit the Champion trainer at his yard in deepest darkest Somerset, and I can assure you he has always been adamant that this now eight year old is a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner waiting to happen – not on the evidence of my eyes at Wetherby on Saturday he isn’t! Although I suspect the old “fitness” arguments will be rolled out as an excuse he looked as fit as any of his rivals in the paddock to me, and was positively tanking along at the head of affairs until finding nothing when challenged and fading rather tamely in to fifth at the line if it isn’t fitness then I have heard rumours they may try blinkers to wake him up a bit which would be interesting to put it mildly?

One horse I took out of the weekend as one to keep on my side was the Warren Greatrex trained Kaysersberg who won a little three-runner novice chase at Wetherby almost unnoticed. We all know three runner races are invariably tactical affairs and it didn’t look to me as if Doing Fine went that fast in front, yet the winner clocked a time faster than standard (as did all the winners on the card to be fair), and may be worth keeping on the right side of next time out?

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