Ladbrokes' Hayley O'Connor talks us through the Breeders' Cup, the Melbourne Cup and the meaning of class
Looking for some advice for the racing world's two big events this week? Then look no further than Ladbrokes' Hayley O'Connor.
The word 'class' is grossly misused on these shores, and in my experience, those beyond the periphery of Dublin are most guilty. Here is an example of what I mean in a fictitious conversation between two characters, Laura and Maura.
Laura: “Nice shoes”
Maura: “Yeah, I really like them myself and I got 15 per cent off.”
Laura: “Oh, class!”
To all perpetrators of this crime - please stop. You’re ruining the word for everyone. You need to be more discerning, because it’s losing its effect and should only be used when really deserved.
For instance; I am definitely allowed use it when discussing the horse racing across the globe over the next few days, because it is brilliant.
Today, we’re due the first course of a supersized serving of world class Group One action when the two-day card at Santa Anita gets underway for this year’s Breeders' Cup. And just as the dust (or in this case dirt) settles in America, the Melbourne Cup will be gearing up Down Under.
The European challenge heading to the States is strong and none more so than Dank. She was awesome on her last American raid when blitzing the field in the Beverly D Stakes. She is drawn in stall one for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, which means her jockey Ryan Moore will have to be conscious of not getting blocked in and may have to negotiate a nifty path. Her speed, however, will ensure she avails of the necessary opportunities and to be completely honest, I just took a break from writing this so I could go and back her for a second time. BANKER!
In the $3million Breeders’ Cup Turf, we have seen some money for Chad Brown’s Big Blue Kitten but I think John Gosden’s runner, The Fugue, will finish in front. She was unlucky last year to manage just third in the Filly and Mare Turf, but connections have taken the bold step of aiming her at this tougher contest and have laid her out for the race. She’s in cracking form, conditions look all to her favour and I think she can put another win on the board for the Europeans.
The hosts will land the spoils in the Breeders' Cup Mile with Wise Dan, despite a strong British challenger in Olympic Glory and the last bet I will be having in Santa Anita will be on the lesser known Unbridled's Note in the Turf Sprint. Runner-up in last year’s renewal, beaten under a length, I reckon she can go one better this time.
With all the money that I’ll have raked in across the Atlantic, I plan to reinvest in the southern hemisphere on Tuesday. Footballer Michael Owen won’t be alone in cheering home his Melbourne Cup contender Brown Panther, as he’s one of the best backed horses in the race so far. His supporters will have been lifted by reports in the Racing Post that the flamboyant Aussie training icon Gai Waterhouse reckoned that, apart from her horse Fiorente, his prep work on the gallops looked the best.
For an individual that is partial to dictating the pace, I don’t think he’ll get it all his own way, SOOO a safer bet would be last year’s fifth, Mount Athos. Events in the 2012 race seemed to conspire against him and he must have better luck this time around. His trainer Luca Cumani will be hungry to break his duck in this competition and has campaigned Mount Athos with this target in mind all season. Hopefully justice will be served as he’s a tough brave athlete and in my opinion, the classiest contender in the field.