America looks the place to be this weekend
26 September 2014
The three-year-olds have proved to be a dominant force in Britain this season, and for once in a long time it is very much the same on the other side of the Atlantic.
Kingman in the Prix Jacques Le Marois, Taghrooda in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and The Grey Gatsby and Australia in the Irish Champion Stakes, all have elevated the Classic generation above their elders.
Taghrooda and Australia are set for their dotage at the end of the season, while Kingman’s name has been inscribed in indelible marker above his love nest of a barn at Juddmonte Farms.
A glance at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe market suggests that a three-year-old is odds-on to win Europe’s championship middle distance event. - Taghrooda, Avenir Certain and Ectot make a compelling trio.
In America the three-year-olds hold a similar grip on the season.
For the past few years America’s Classic crop have been decimated by injury. In 2012 there were 29 horses that had either won a Group race prep for the Triple Crown or finished in the top four in a Triple Crown race.
By the third weekend of September of that campaign just seven of those were still on their feet competitively.
This season, however, the three-year-olds have held sway and it is the four-year-olds that have capitulated.
This was brought to prominence last week when Game On Dude was the latest older horse to be retired. In America only Moreno and Itsmyluckyday are flying the flag for the older horses, and if you look at the betting for the Breeders’ Cup Classic it is overwhelmingly in favour of the three-year-olds.
Shared Belief is the 11-4 favourite for the Classic this season, after California Chrome fluffed his lines last week.
On Saturday night Shared Belief lines up in the Awesome Again Stakes, one of nine Grade One Win And You’re In races in America.
The only Win And You’re In race happening in Europe on Saturday is the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes, which can act as a springboard to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Frankel aside, the Group Two event over a mile has been won by some very good horses and Barry Hills can add to his haul at the Cambridgeshire meeting with Nafaqa.
The son of Derby winner Sir Percy was fourth in a red-hot Chesham Stakes, which has resulted in the third, Dick Whittington, go on to land the Group One Phoenix Stakes and the second, Toscanini, finish second in the Group One National Stakes .
Nafaqa was markedly inexperienced when victorious in a Listed race at Doncaster this month, having recovered from ringworm.
He looks bombproof.
The Betfred Cambridgeshire is a race that is a lot harder to be so dogmatic about and rather than pin my hopes on to one horse, I am once again going to favour the small investment, big return policy and go for the combination exacta.
Hugo Palmer’s Extremity is improving with every run and looks well in, the inform William Haggas has two excellent chances with Homage and Queensberry Rules, while Niceofyoutotellme is still unexposed at the distance and ran a blinder in a big field to win the Suffolk Stakes at the Guineas meeting.
Geoffrey Riddle's Saturday tip:
3.50 Newmarket: Combination exactas Extremity, Homage, Queensberry Rules and Niceofyoutotellme.