Moon up for the Cup

THE Breeders' Cup Turf (8.45) has been a European benefit since its inception in 2000 and it looks like coming back across the atlantic once more.

Sarafina heads the market at 5-2 but that seems short enough about a filly that failed to make the anticipated impact in the Prix de l'Arc. Sure, she was beaten little more than six lengths from her wide draw, but she didn't really sparkle as she had done in previous outings and I would again have reservations about backing her at her current price.

In a curious way, Midday has some of the most solid credentials but the 2009 Filly & Mare Turf winner (she was runner-up in the race at this track last year) hasn't been at her very best this year and, on evidence of those runs, there must be some doubt that the return to a mile and a half will be in her favour at this stage of her career.

In the Coronation Cup over this trip, she looked to have one of today's rivals, St Nicholas Abbey, beaten until succumbing to his late dash.

St Nicholas Abbey ran a cracker when fifth in the Arc and he should run a big race again but his stable companion, Await The Dawn, is of more interest. He looked very promising in his first two runs this term but he sustained an injury when third behind Twice Over and Midday in the Juddmonte International at York. He still has to prove himself at this level but he is a real danger.

The selection, however, is Sea Moon, who was a beaten favourite on his most recent start but who made a real impression when winning the Great Voltigeur on his previous outings.

Micheal Stoute's lightly raced colt has plenty of improvement still in him and he appeals as the type to appreciate this race. He's not short of speed and, even if this race is run at a steady pace, he should be able to pick up and get heavily involved. The ground won’t be an issue for him and he rates a strong each-way bet at around 9-2.

Goldikova will command all the attention when she lines up for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (10.07), seeking a fourth consecutive victory in the race.

Freddie Head’s brilliant mare will be sent off favourite but I would have distinct reservations about backing her at quoted odds of just 7-4.

She will enjoy a favourable draw along the inside rail but she hasn't quite shown the same spark this term as in previous seasons.

Understandably, all her previous outings this year would have been in preparation for tonight and I certainly wouldn't begrudge her victory and am loath to lay her. However, if she shortens up much further, it will be very hard to resist the temptation to take her on.

Gio Ponti, who chased her home last year, re-opposes and perhaps it's an indication of the lack of confidence in the home challenge that he is seen as the one most likely to keep the dollars in America. The draw isn't exactly ideal for him and if the track runs slowly (it was yielding last night) it will also count against him, but his price (9-1) is not entirely unappealing.

Strong Suit couldn't have won any easier on his most recent outing but this is a massive step in class and, perhaps most crucially of all, he's never won over the trip. That's a distinct negative, particularly with the ground likely to run slower than he likes, and he’s going to have to produce a huge performance to win.

If Andre Fabre sent the stable pony to America, it would have to be respected and his Byword commands plenty of attention in this race, despite not being a natural miler. He’s won on a wide range of ground conditions and it’d be no surprise were he to go close.

While it would be great to see Goldikova go out on a high, her task is not as straight-forward as her price would suggest and this looks a race ripe for a big upset.

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox