TRAINER Aidan O’Brien saddled two winners on the first day of the Breeders’ Cup meeting at Keeneland on Friday.

Ryan Moore was seen at his best on both winners, swooping late on Meditate to win the Juvenile Fillies Turf by two and a half lengths, before guiding Victoria Road through a narrow gap in the Juvenile Turf and holding on by a nose.

There were five Breeders’ Cup races on the ‘Future Stars Friday’ card and all three turf races went to European-trained horses, as the Charlie Appleby-trained Mischief Magic won the Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Meditate was arguably the most impressive winner of the day. Runner-up in the Moyglare Stud Stakes and Cheveley Park Stakes, the daughter of No Nay Never was stepping up to a mile here and wasn’t certain to stay the trip. Moore held up his mount before launching his charge in the straight which saw him shoot through the field.

At the post Meditate was almost three lengths clear of the US-trained Pleasant Passage. Richard Fahey’s Midnight Mile finished fast to take fourth. Joseph O’Brien’s Basil Martini and Willie Browne’s Spirit Gal (made the running) finished down the field.

Classic campaign

O’Brien confirmed a classic campaign is uppermost in his mind after the daughter of No Nay Never successfully stepped up to a mile for the first time.

He said: “The last twice she was beaten at the Curragh and Newmarket, she encountered bad ground in Ireland and then I think the other race came a bit quick for her, so there were genuine excuses.

“After that in her training, I gave her every excuse not to come here but she kept passing all the tests.

“We were thinking of bringing a filly called Never Ending Story over for this race but Michael (Tabor, part-owner) felt this was the right race for Meditate.

“Ryan rode her to get the trip and I will now train her for the Guineas. Ryan said he would rider her more patiently which is exactly what he did and she looked very high class.

“She’s by No Nay Never who is a big influence on speed, but with the No Nay Nevers, we were a little bit worried they all might end up being sprinters, while mindful that they could stay further.

“Looking at this filly today, she’s a good mover has a good mind and relaxes very well.”

Moore was also impressed with Meditate’s performance. He added: “She was always comfortable having started well. There was bit of speed beside us, but the pace steadied round the bend when I worked her out wide and she went up to them very quickly and I knew I had a lot under me well over furlong out.

“I felt she was a level above them and hopefully there will be more to come.”

Battling performance

O’Brien and Moore doubled up when Victoria Road put up another battling performance to win the Juvenile Turf. The Saxon Warrior colt was drawn on the rail and enjoyed a dream trip into the home stretch but Moore had to thread the eye of the needle to get the 5/1 shot to the front about a furlong from home.

The drama wasn’t over yet as the favourite Silver Knott finished rapidly to almost join Victoria Road on the line but the camera confirmed Moore’s mount had held on.

Silver Knott’s connections (Godolphin, Appleby and Buick) had earlier continued their great run of success at the Breeders’ Cup when Mischief Magic won the Juvenile Turf Sprint by a length from Karl Burke’s filly Dramatised. Richard Hannon’s Persian Force finished a respectable fourth but Richard Fahey’s The Platinum Queen had no luck from her wide draw after racing freely.

Buick said: “He really enjoyed coming off the turn, he’s a closer and I expected him to come from off the pace.

“He’s worked into the race and it opened up for us. He was always going to do enough. When I set him alight, he switched his legs and he just flew.

“He’s a very straightforward horse to ride and he was very tough today.”

Mischief Magic was last seen finishing fourth to the now-retired Blackbeard in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket in September and Appleby felt that had been a good prep outing.

The Godolphin trainer said: “Going into the Middle Park, we were always mindful that it was a stepping stone to this race and that he was pitching with the best colts in the UK.

“The plan was for him to sit a bit closer but after missing the break, Will let him find his legs and it was a great ride. He’s such a willing horse and it’s also great that he’s a homebred.

“He will have the winter off and with his scope, I can see him developing into a contender for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.”

Dirt races

The two Grade 1 dirt races both produced worthy winners. Todd Pletcher’s Forte (by Violence) got the better of Bob Baffert’s Cave Rock in the Juvenile, the pair nicely clear of the field.

Mark Casse’s Wonder Wheel (by Into Mischief) looked top-class in the Juvenile Fillies, moving smoothly through the field to score by three lengths.

The two-day Breeders' Cup meeting concludes on Saturday with nine Grade 1 races. See the full racecard and preview in the latest edition of The Irish Field.