The pre-entries for the 2016 Breeders’ Cup, hosted at Santa Anita, California, have been announced this afternoon. Europe has 28 of the pre-entries, though a number require luck to make the cut, and are currently hovering in the ‘Also Eligible’ lists.
Aidan O’Brien is responsible for 18 of the European pre-entries, five of them cross-entered in multiple races, and outlined his plans earlier today. Of his trio in the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf, Promise To Be True is more likely to run in France this weekend, but both Roly Poly – who has stamina to prove – and dual Group 1 runner up, Hydrangea, are expected to board the plane from Ballydoyle on Monday.
O’Brien is doubly pre-entered in the Juvenile Turf as well, with another Group 1 second, Lancaster Bomber, joined by Intelligence Cross.
On Saturday, the Coolmore squad spread out across the turf races and may also saddle Found in the Classic. Seventh Heaven will attempt to show her Ascot Champions’ Day effort to be all wrong in the Filly and Mare Turf, where she could be joined by stablemate, Pretty Perfect. Alice Springs is also entered here, as a second preference to her more likely appearance in the Mile.
Washington DC has been engaged in what could be a fascinating Turf Sprint, and Highland Reel is the main Ballydoyle runner in the Turf. The latter may also be joined by Mondialiste, whose official preference is for the Mile, but is understood to be under strong consideration for the longer event; and Sir Michael Stoute’s “forgotten” horse, Ulysses, could lay claim to being ‘the wrong Euro’ this time around in a race which rarely goes according to the European hierarchy.
Arc winner, Found, will attempt to become the first Ballydoyle winner of the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, in what would rank as one of the most remarkable CV’s in horse racing history. Found already has that Arc victory as well as a Breeders’ Cup Turf title to her name.
Henry Candy affirmed his excitement about running Limato in the Mile, a race in which Britain has not had a winner since Barathea in 1994. Limato flies out on Saturday, and will likely do very little on the Santa Anita track prior to his big date a week later.
No decision has yet been made about the application of Lasix, though the trainer is cautiously leaning towards running without the raceday medication.
The wise guy horse in the Mile may well turn out to be yet another Ballydoyle entry, Cougar Mountain. O’Brien confirmed earlier today that he was an intended runner, saying, “He loves fast ground and a good pace, like [when a length third] in the Queen Anne – that’s when he gives his best running”.
Bettors and racing fans now have slightly more shape to the race programme across Breeders’ Cup weekend, with the next – and final – stage being the post position draw and field confirmations next Monday.
Readers keen to get a head start on their Breeders’ Cup homework may be interested to know that geegeez’ Breeders’ Cup Compendium 2016 is available now. Full details can be found here.