Saturday 16 December 2017

Wachman's Legatissimo looks to have the best chance of making US trip worthwhile

Trainer David Wachman. Picture credit: Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE
Trainer David Wachman. Picture credit: Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE

A massive weekend of racing kicks off at Keeneland this evening as the Breeders' Cup gets underway and hopefully it'll be a memorable weekend for the Irish-trained runners.

O'Brien himself is responsible for seven of the eight Irish runners in action at the Breeders' Cup, which is being staged at Keeneland for the first time, but it is probably the other Irish challenger, Legatissimo, trained by David Wachman, that has the best chance coming from this side of the world.

It has been a marvellous season for Wachman who has trained Legatissimo to win two Group Ones as well as Curvy, who took Group One honours in Canada earlier this month and if Legatissimo can produce her normal level of form it is hard to see her getting overturned in the Fillies And Mares race tomorrow evening.

The Classic runner-up is a short-priced favourite, and rightly so, especially given the rain that has fallen over there this week.

Secret Gesture looks overpriced in double figures for Ralph Beckett and may entice some support from each-way players. Obviously, Gleneagles is the main Ballydoyle-trained runner as he, somewhat surprisingly, will step up in trip for the first time beyond a mile when also making his debut on the dirt surface and taking on the Coolmore-bound American Pharoah.

It is a bold move by O'Brien who admitted to regretting letting Gleneagles run at Ascot when he was beaten in the QEII earlier in the month and while it is almost impossible to see Gleneagles or anything else beating American Pharoah, it's not like O'Brien has to send him over there for the weather so there is significance when they are taking a chance with their flagship three-year-old.

Personally, I'd find it hard to back him, but there is a niggling fear that the 14/1 might look astronomic by tomorrow night.

All that said, American Pharoah is bidding to follow up his Triple Crown by winning what they have called the 'Grand Slam' and he looks a sensational colt who sets such a high standard.

One of the most exciting prospects over the weekend is the career finale of Golden Horn who will take in the Breeders' Cup Mile before embarking on his new career at stud next month

The Epsom Derby and Arc winner has only managed to be beaten by one horse in his career when the filly Arabian Queen memorably caused a major shock earlier in the year. That was on soft ground so the rain wouldn't have been welcomed by Golden Horn's connections, but against the calibre of the field he's facing tomorrow, Golden Horn should be able to go out in style.

The O'Brien juveniles take centre stage this evening with Alice Springs looking the pick of them in the Juvenile Fillies' Turf.

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