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Adam McNamara on The Breeders Cup
All attention turns stateside this weekend for The Breeders Cup, arguably the biggest international meeting of the year. There are no fewer then nine grade ones on Saturday, each one containing obscene amounts of equine and human talent.
The European contingency looks to be incredibly strong and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how they fare against the best from around the globe when they clash at Keeneland.
The Breeders Cup Turf Sprint is the first race on the night where we will get to see some homegrown heroes get a notch on the board for Europe, and with five entries that’s certainly obtainable. The American favourite Golden Pal won this race last year, although on that occasion it was ran at Del Mar, and he hasn’t been beaten on his home turf since his debut in April of 2020. He has put in some rather underwhelming performances on English soil but this is a different ball game.
A glance at his form will show you a very definite pattern. There’s a lot of “started quickly”, “made all” and “led” in there and that’s a serious advantage here. It will take a rocket to reign in him, and the rocket to lead the charge will be Highfield Princess. She’s no stranger to being up in the van herself and she’ll be looking to pressure the local boy from the word go.
If her form this year is anything to go by then I’m sure she will make her presence known, and what a fairytale it would be for John Quinn and Jason Hart. Since her first win in September 2020 she’s climbed 52 pounds in the ratings. A lot of credit must go to John for his ingenious placement of this filly and no one has ridden her to more success then former champion apprentice Jason. We also can’t rule out Ascot winners Creative Force and Campanelle. Creative Force has won a Champion Sprint as well as winning previously over seven furlongs so has the stamina to match his speed. He could well pick up the pieces should those speed demons in front falter late in the day.
Europe’s best chance of taking home some silverware could well be with Nashwa in the Filly and Mare Turf. The Prix de Diane and Nassau are already in her trophy cabinet and I’m very strong on her chances of giving Hollie Doyle a winner at this illustrious meeting. Hollie may strike a day earlier aboard The Platinum Queen for my old boss Richard Fahey, although I think steering Nashwa to victory for her own boss Imad Al Sagar would be a dream come true. Her main danger could come from Aidan O’Briens Tuesday, whom she finished ahead of in their last meeting in the Prix de l’Opera. Chad C Brown carries a strong American challenge with three runners and you could make cases for them all but I’m putting my faith in Hollie to take this one for Europe.
Charlie Appleby deserves an honourable mention as he attempts to replicate last years success at this meeting, and judging on the betting he shouldn’t go home empty handed. Modern Games looks to follow up on last years victory in the Juvenile Turf with a win in the Bredders Cup Mile. He probably has more air miles to his name the a Ryanair stewardess and clearly enjoys the travelling as he’s won in France and Canada already this year. Kinross will look to spoil the party and has shown us time and time again how versatile he is regarding trip and ground. It’s difficult to make a case against him, and the same could be said for Dreamloper. She may not be quite as well travelled as the other two but she’s almost looked like the unfinished article at times this year. Improvement from her is likely and if she handles her travels and the preliminaries she could well take this race for Ed Walker and Kieran Shoemark. I wouldn’t want to have a bet on this race as I genuinely couldn’t decide on a winner.
The UK season has all but come to an end after a wonderful few months and I think there have been some outstanding individuals to grace our racecourses throughout the year. I have always found William Buick to be the consummate professional and he exemplified that professionalism all year without fail. He simply rode like a man possessed at each meeting. It seemed he could do no wrong at every turn and he showed up day in, day out and finally has his just rewards after what will have been a frustrating outcome last year.
It cannot be denied that William has earned his title as Champion Jockey and I imagine it will mean a great deal to not only him but all the team at Godolphin. Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand were his closest pursuers. They finished a joint second, which is a little ironic considering they got married earlier in the year and as well as sharing their lives and a surname, they will be fairly content to share second place as well. I was lucky enough to be invited to that wedding and I can confirm that what you see is in fact what you get with Tom and Hollie. Hard working, dedicated and genuine would sum them up in short. They have ventured to Japan for the winter where I’m sure they will have even more success and upon return they will be in the hunt once again. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before one of them will be crowned champion jockey, and quite likely that at some stage both of them will have a trophy each to adorn their already overflowing mantelpiece.
Harrowells offers specialist legal support to trainers, breeders, racecourses, owners and jockeys. We first came into contact with Adam in 2016 when we sponsored him under the apprentice jockey scheme we were running at that time. In the same year, he went on to win the prestigious Ebor Race at York and posted a number of well received blogs on horse racing. We have asked him to return as a regular guest commentator and to offer up some insights into racing life.
Adam is not an employee of Harrowells Limited. The views he expresses in his blogs and on his social media accounts are his own.
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