| 7.9°C Dublin

Smullen relishing his American challenge

Irish champion jockey Pat Smullen is hoping to cap off his seventh championship crown and maiden century season with Group One glory at Santa Anita later in the Breeders' Cup with Dermot Weld's Mustajeeb his main hope in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

The Offaly native enjoyed Royal Ascot success on the Hamdan Al Maktoum owned three-year-old at Royal Ascot earlier in the campaign and after Weld's other leading hope for America Tarfasha had to be retired, Mustajeeb now solely carries the weight of the Rosewell House team.

"Mustajeeb felt very well when I sat on him for some light exercise but he seems to have taken the travel well and he seems to be fresh in himself so it is so far so good," Smullen said from the California track.

Reflecting on the season so far for Mustajeeb, Smullen added: "He is a horse we always thought had plenty of ability and he showed that at Royal Ascot and he had a good long break through the mid-summer and I thought he put up a very good run at Leopardstown and that set him up nicely for here.

"We think he is a horse that will take to the tight turns and a mile around here should suit him well.

"Toronado is the stand out horse and Mustajeeb has to improve to be there with Toronado," Smullen admitted, "but we hope the improvement is there and we are good enough to shake him up," he added.

Weld is still looking for an illusive first Breeders' Cup winner despite his global success and Mustajeeb "fits the bill" according to his jockey.

Smullen, who has been among the winners at the Breeders' Cup in the past, will also be on board the Ralph Beckett-trained Secret Gesture in the Fillies & Mare Turf for the Qatar Racing team, while he also rides David Simcock's Caspar Netscher in the Turf Sprint


Privacy