Breeders’ Cup Friday

THE Breeders’ Cup Friday began in controversary when two of the leading Irish-trained fancies Aidan O’Brien’s River Tiber in the Juvenile Turf and Jessica Harrington’s Givemethebeatboys in the Sprint were not allowed to run after inspection by the on-course veterinary team.

Harrington criticised the trotting up procedure and the fact that they had no way to appeal the decision.

“Where the trot up is not a level place. They pushed him and poked him, and they said no. We have no appeal, they haven’t actually told us where he is lame,” she said in an interview with Nick Luck.

When racing got under way the feel-good story of the evening was victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint by the Mick Appleby-trained Big Evs. The Blue Point juvenile was partnered by Tom Marquand and was adding to wins at Royal Ascot, Goodwood and Doncaster.

He was bought by Mickey Cleere for just 50,000gns at the Tatts October Book 2.

The other notable event of the juvenile races was two Grade 1 wins for young sire of the year, Justify, also sire of Europe’s leading juvenile City Of Troy.

All-sources handle for the 10-race first day of this 40th Breeders’ Cup was over $61million.

Prevagen Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1)

RYAN Moore took the ride on the new Turf favourite Unquestionable. The son of Wootton Bassett, after racing in third much of the way in the mile test, pulled away in the final furlong for a length and a half victory in a one-two without their number one for Ballydoyle as Mountain Bear and Dylan Browne McMonagle swooped down the outside to take second in the final time of 1m 33.65secs.

The winner, French-bred and an Arqana August €340,000 purchase, carries the colours of Al Shaqab Racing, Westerberg, Sue Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor.

O’Brien said afterwards: “He’s a very tough horse who we’ve always had a lot of faith in. Ryan gave him an unbelievable ride. He won very well in the end and I’m delighted. He did everything right in the preparations going into the race, so for him to go and win is brilliant.”

Mountain Bear suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture to the left fore but is expected to make a recovery for next year.

Big day for Evs fans

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (Grade 1)

EUROPEAN juveniles often don’t have the pace to cope with their US compatriots but from the gate, the Queen Mary winner Crimson Advocate and Big Evs flashed into stride and ran the first flying two furlongs of 20.71secs.

Into the straight, Tom Marquand asked for everything on the British challenger and he found more to go two clear. In the final half-furlong the danger emerged out wide as Adrian Murray’s Norfolk Stakes winner Valiant Force made a valiant bid from the back down the outside but was a half-length behind at the line in a time for 55.31secs and in a finish of Europeans as Ralph Beckett’s Starlust and Frankie Dettori took third.

The win prompted great celebrations on track and from the stable at home as the owners RP Racing Ltd had reportedly turned down big sums for the colt. Part-owner Paul Teasdale of RP Racing had lost his longtime friend Paul Evans to lung cancer a year ago and named the colt in his memory.

Winning rider Tom Marquand said of his first Breeders’ Cup winner: “We were just hoping he’d be fast enough out here. I think he’s tough as well. He had that speed today.”

Amo Racing’s Valiant Force is likely to remain in the US. Current trainer Adrian Murray said: “The plan for the last two or three months was pretty much to go to the Breeders’ Cup and probably stay there. He’s going down to Florida I think.”

No denying Repole’s Fierceness

Fanduel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented By Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (Grade 1)

MIKE Repole had his colours carried to Juvenile success last year with a favourite in Forte and had a more unexpected success this time with Fierceness. The Todd Pletcher-trained City Of Light colt had been a wide margin debut win at Saratoga in the mud in August but had been equally disappointing in finishing seventh, beaten over 20 lengths over a sloppy track in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes last month at Aqueduct Racetrack.

“Todd and I have said all week it he’s sixth by 12 (lengths) or first by five, we wouldn’t be surprised.’ We’re not surprised, but we’re pretty happy right now,” the owner said after he had seen off Bob Baffert’s Muth by six and a quarter-lengths with favourite Locked in third.

The time of 1m 41.90secs was much faster than the 1m44.58secs posted by Just F Y I in winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies earlier.

A Repole homebred, Fierceness is almost certain to be champion two-year-old colt and Eclipse Award winner.

And similar to Forte last year, Fierceness will likely become the early favourite for next May’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

F Y I - Justify has a flying filly

Netjets Breeders’ Cup

Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1)

AS a Grade 1 winner already, the Bill Mott-trained Just F Y I had strong claims in the Juvenile Fillies but all the attention was drawn to champion mare Beholder’s daughter Tamara.

That filly had been ultra impressive in her two wins, the last in the Grade 1 Debutante at Del Mar. She was sent off at odds-on under Mike Smith but with a question mark over this extra furlong and a half. That became a bigger issue when Smith rode her forward from the off.

She was headed after two out, weakened over a furlong out, and was eased inside final furlong to finish seventh, and was found to have sustained a small fracture in her splint bone in her left hind “that will not require surgery,” according to owners Spendthrift.

The winner, bred by her owner George Krikorian held Jody’s Pride by a neck in 1m 44.58 secs to scoop the $1,040,000 first prize and champion two-year-old fillies’ honours.

Not Hard for Justify again

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade 1)

THE two juvenile fillies’ races were run after each other and the Turf gave Justify a Grade 1 double.

Chad Brown’s Hard To Justify under Flavien Prat held on in a driving finish as Irish challenger Porta Fortuna made a run through horses and held on to edge second place, beaten by just half a length with fellow raider Content just beaten a length and a half in fourth.

It was three wins from three for the Wise Racing LLC-owned winner who was coming off a Grade 2 win at Aqueduct.

“We had a good enough run around throughout and we got a run towards the rail up the stretch, unfortunately we couldn’t quite catch the winner,” Porta Fortuna’s jockey Oisin Murphy reported.