It’s action from the North, the South and across the Atlantic this weekend as the Breeders’ Cup takes place in Santa Anita. A little further North, back home, it’s Charlie Hall Day at Wetherby with Bravemansgame making his reappearance alongside Ahoy Senor. Ascot also has a good handicap card to get stuck into too. A intriguing weekend for Four To Follow.
The Girls are alright with me
1:50 – Mares’ Hurdle (Listed) – Kateira @ 5/2 (William Hill)
Kateira is still new to hurdles but is no longer a novice and comes into a tricky race, after finishing runner-up in a Grade One last April. But she loves to race fresh, with figures after a 50+ break reading 5112. She’s constantly on the upgrade and will love the soft ground up at Wetherby. Expect more progression from this horse throughout the season.
Stainsby Girl represents the value in the race for me. An established front-runner, it’s her first foray into level weights. And she comes in with one of the highest marks in the field at 138, she’s not one to be dismissed. She’s a mud-lover and could be hard to peg back if she’s given some racing room in front. 7/1 (General) is a nice price.
Drashing through the mud
2:25 – West Yorkshire Hurdle (Grade Two) – Dashel Drasher @ 9/4 (Betfred)
Another tricky contest, but I’m surprised the 10-year-old isn’t favourite for the race. He has a consistent reappearance record, never finishing outside the top three, and loves soft ground. Thyme Hill is the one to oppose and comes back to hurdling after a season over fences didn’t work out.
Dashel Drasher was ultra consistent last season, with four seconds, including narrowly losing to Sire Du Berlais in the stayers. I expect him to be favourite at the off.
Mucho macho man
3:45 – Sodexo Gold Cup (Premier H’cap) – Mucho Mas @ 6/1 (General)
Mucho Mas a progressive chaser for Ben Pauling having competed at the levels below Premier chases last season. But he was entered for the Sandown Gold Cup but was scratched due to the ground. This may be a big ask, but the ground is a big plus for him. A four-pound rise looks lenient given the missed end of season targets and can run a big race. He’s certain to feature in similar events throughout the season, nonetheless.
A former winner of the race also puts forward an intriguing case. Larry won the 2021 edition off a mark of 132. This year it’s only 135 on soft ground. He also loves Ascot at this time of year with two wins over C&D in the last two years. Ground won’t be a problem, and can break the Moore’s poor run of form at 11/1 (General).
Rodin’ the wave
Santa Anita 9:50 – Breeders’ Cup Turf (Grade One) – Auguste Rodin @ 5/2 (William Hill)
It’s the race that he has been preparing for all season. His avoidance of a tilt at the Arc and the Champion Stakes made sure that this would be his destination. Auguste Rodin is ready to be the star of Tinseltown. It was a gutsy, yet impressive, win in the Irish Champion which puts him at the head of the market.
King Of Steel was the big impresser at Ascot, but just how much did that race take out of him for him to be running two weeks later?
Mostahdaf has the US media talking on his final start, but his best form comes over 10 furlongs. Can making it a fairytale end to his career?
I think the dual Derby and Irish Champion has the race to lose, and add to Ballydoyle’s excellent Breeders’ Cup success.
War Like Goddess is a peach of a price at 14/1 (William Hill), after finishing third in the contest last year. She won a Grade One at Belmont in some style to prep herself for her tilt to go two better this year.
The very best of luck!