herald

Monday 23 October 2017

The Toast Of California

Spencer to bow out in style at Santa Anita

It may well be a case of believing it when we don't see it, but imagining a season without Jamie Spencer next year is still hard to get used to and the prospect that he'll never ride again is still a long shot with many within British racing.

However, as it stands at the moment that is his wish and as a jockey who often divided opinion, what better way for him to leave it all behind than to win one of the sports biggest prizes on TOAST OF NEW YORK in Santa Anita tomorrow night.

The Jamie Osborne-trained three-year-old made a big impact when winning in Dubai earlier in the year and while he has got two and a half lengths to find with Breeders' Cup Classic favourite Shared Belief from their last meeting, it would be a fairytale end to a roller-coaster career and the three-year-old certainly look a proper each way bet if nothing else.

Dermot Weld has reached targets that he didn't even dare dream at the start of the season but one thing that is missing from the 2014 calendar year is a Group One victory and don't be surprised if he manages to rectify that with MUSTAJEEB.

The Royal Ascot winner is now Weld's sole representative at the meeting after opting against sending over TARFASHA but it could still be worth the trip if the youngster can turnover Toronado which is very possible indeed.

DIFFICULT

Whatever punting you do get involved in during the Breeders' Cup however, you must remember at all times that it's one of the most difficult betting propositions in the sport with the Europeans trying to handle both the dirt track and the prospect of taking on rivals who can be medicated with substances that are rightfully banned on this side of the water.

Of course, the Europeans can themselves take up the option of using medications and some will but it is certainly a point worth remembering when going punting over the next 24 hours or so.

One of the locals that may be very familiar to people is the Royal Ascot winner No Nay Never who blitzed the field in the Norfolk Stakes last year for Wesley Ward and although having some setbacks since then he warmed up for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint by winning last time out and he is one to keep on the right side of with Frankie Dettori onboard.

The weekend is not only dominated by the great and the good of the flat sphere but between the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and the JNWine.com at Down Royal tomorrow there will be some good Gold Cup clues flying around as well.

Mouse Morris has opted to go across the border with First Lieutenant rather than across the water and he could well go off favourite at Down Royal but Morris is known for leaving his horses with a bit to work on for their first start and the first Grade One of the season in Ireland could go where the majority of the rest of them will and that is to Willie Mullins who sends up Aintree and Punchestown winner BOSTON BOB.

Paul Nicholls can take the Charlie Hall with SILVINIACO CONTI and that will surely be a popular cross-channel double among punters.

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