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Angus McNae

Captain's Blog - Monday 5th November

Breeders Cup Debrief

First up, our three Ante-post selections were Royal Delta (1st), St Nicholas Abbey (3rd) and Wise Dan (1st). A decent return at a meeting where there were some shock results and a moderate showing from the Euro raiders.

Fort Larned won the Breeders’ Cup Classic on a Santa Anita surface that suited him a lot better than Belmont Park, where he was defeated under a poor ride last time out. This was a good Classic, but far from a vintage one.

Fort Larned would be of some interest if he opted to have a crack at the Dubai World Cup, but we must remember that racing on Tapeta is a whole different ball game.

Wise Dan is a monster, but Excelebration clearly did not give his running. Wise Dan ran a huge figure in winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile and even an on-song Excelebration would have been hard pressed to beat him. There is no doubt that Wise Dan is the best American turf horse we have seen for many a year and he will continue to be hard to beat. Excelebration clearly recoiled off a massive effort at Ascot where he ran a big speed figure and the effort of doing that had its consequences here.

Most of Excelebration’s best efforts have been with give in the ground and the turf at Santa Anita was rock hard.

Is Champions’ Day too close to the Breeders Cup? I suspect it is if you want to win two Grade 1 races in a fortnight and travel across the world.

Shanghai Bobby won the Juvenile Dirt after looking as if he would be swamped turning into the home straight where he applied the brakes and only got going again when challenged for the lead. He is clearly a talented if quirky two-year-old, but whether he has enough talent and in particular stamina for a Kentucky Derby is open to question. This race does not have a good record as a Kentucky Derby trial.

There was plenty of trouble in running and a number of European runners were the sufferers. I thought Sky Lantern was particularly unlucky in the Juvenile Turf. Do we slate the riders of these horses or simply admit that the Santa Anita Turf is a very tight track where trouble in running is inevitable? I am inclined towards the latter. The inexperience of some European jockeys on the track was also obvious to see.

Those are just a few thoughts for a Monday morning. I am sure you have some views and if so do let me know.

Our selection on Saturday was Silviniaco Conti who obliged at 11/10. Today I am going to rely on Black Thunder in the 2.40 at Kempton. Quite simply this horse is the reason Ruby Walsh is at Kempton today. This horse won three from four last season and makes his handicap debut today.  He could prove not only to be well treated, but a cut above his rivals today.


Today's Selection

2.40 Kempton - Black Thunder



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