The Breeders’ Cup was a triumph for the British and Irish raiders on Saturday with the four Group 1 Turf races all going to European raiders. Coming on the back of a Melbourne Cup 1-2-3 it has been a great week for British & Irish flat racing but a chastening one for the hosts although America still reigns supreme on dirt.
It can only be a matter of time before one of the major racing superpowers approaches Colin Keane to take over as first jockey. The Irish Champion Keane and French champion Pierre-Charles Boudot were in a different class to more high-profile jockeys in Keeneland, and I would certainly want Keane on my side if I were John Magnier or Michael Tabor.
Grade 1 winning novice Esprit Du Large was never travelling or jumping with any fluency and was beaten when coming down at Exeter in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on Tuesday. He has a bit to prove for Evan Williams making a quick reappearance at Carlisle this afternoon.
Kiltealy Briggs is a fascinating chasing debutant for Jamie Snowden and will be winning races this term over fences, but the vote goes to Whoshotthesheriff (2.25) who ran a cracking race on his chase debut here last month and receives 11lbs from the favourite. His course record reads 12 and he gets the vote at 10/3 with Boylesports in a cracking Graduation Chase.
Bluefortytwo (3.30) shaped with promise on his chase debut at Hexham and drops back in trip this afternoon. His sole win timber was gained at Carlisle and Brian Hughes – who was in the plate for that course win – returns to the saddle. I will certainly be keeping an eye on the market to see if there is any confidence behind Un Prophete who has certainly dropped to an attractive mark for Venetia Williams. The each way selection is 9/2 with Unibet.
Johnny Burke has decided to go to Chepstow for four rides which leaves the way open for Ciaran Gethings to take over on Captain Blackpearl (1.10) in the Novice Handicap Chase at Kempton Park. The selection failed to get home over today’s 2m 4f trip over hurdles at Leicester, but the hope is that today’s quicker ground will see him in a better light. The selection – 9/2 with BetVictor – finished runner up in his sole point-to-point and has had his wind operated on since his last start back in March.
Nicky Henderson has a particularly good record at this meeting, and he has several good chances today including with Vegas Blue who should build on an impressive reappearance at Huntingdon last month when she beat a subsequent winner.
There is a good card at Chepstow and Anemoi makes his chase debut for Harry Whittingham from a 5lbs higher mark than when scoring at Wetherby on his first start for 700 days over timber last month. He has the scope to jump fences and is a big danger to Glajou (3.10) who gets the each way vote – 13/2 with BetVictor – for Paul Nicholls near the foot of the weights.
The four-year-old finished runner up in a Novice Hurdle at Newton Abbott on his reappearance and Nicholls’ has wasted little time in getting his charge over fences. He is certainly built for the job.