Breeders’ Cup European Report - Thursday

December 10, 2019

Aktabantay Declared from Juvenile Turf; Faithful Creek Draws In

V. I. Araci’s 2yo Aktabantay has been withdrawn from Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf because of a sore foot. Trainer Hugo Palmer has expressed his deep disappointment at having to make the decision to take him out of the race.

“He worked and moved really well this morning and I was growing in confidence about his chances in Friday’s race. Unfortunately, that confidence did not last long as he was found to have a sore foot when he returned back to the barn and I had to make the decision to scratch him.”

“He will be absolutely fine and we are now looking forward to the spring and we will be aiming him at the 2,000 Guineas,” Palmer added.

The defection of Aktabantay allows Decadent Racing’s Faithful Creek to draw in for trainer Brian Meehan with jockey Kieren Fallon slated to ride.

The son of Bushranger has been kept up to his work since his arrival at Santa Anita and has pleased Meehan who has been trackside for the past two days.

“We all feel deeply sorry for Hugo Palmer and his team it is all very disappointing when something like this happens,” Meehan said. “We are obviously pleased to be getting a run but not in circumstances like this. Kieren Fallon who will be on board tomorrow got on the horse this morning and said that he gave him a really nice feel and we have the horse in really great shape.”

Classic

Toast of New York – Jamie Osborne was trackside Thursday morning to see his Breeders’ Cup Classic contender Toast of New York do a routine canter on the main track. Osborne who arrived in California Wednesday night, was happy with what he saw and reported the horse to be in good shape.

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“I guess we won’t know until Saturday how he is going to handle the track, but he seems comfortable on it. He is a big horse and weighs 550 kilos which is 30 kilos more than he was when he won the UAE Derby in March.

“That has been a gradual progression and a sign of his growing maturity. Fitness-wise he is where I want him and that is my job. Jamie (Spencer) will do the steering and I will leave the race tactics up to him. I guess there will be plenty of pace in the race and ‘Toast’ will sit handy off the pace, but if the race turns out differently Jamie can adapt.”

Longines Distaff

L’Amour De Ma Vie – Pia Brandt could not be more happy which her 5yo mare L’Amour De Ma Vie who jogged half a circuit with a pony before doing a steady canter around a circuit of the track.

“She seems to really like the dirt out here and she actually prefers it to the sand back at home. She is obviously very relaxed as she seems to sleep a lot in her barn. She is behaving very well out on the track even when being passed by hundreds of colts,” Brandt said.

Longines Turf

Telescope – Michael Stoute was at Santa Anita for the first time this week to see Highclere Thoroughbred’s Telescope, the mount of Ryan Moore, stretch his legs on the turf track at Santa Anita under regular exercise rider Kevin Bradshaw. Highclere boss Harry Herbert was also at the track with several of the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing syndicate members to see their horse go through his routine.

“Everything seems to be fine, and everyone is looking forward to a big run on Saturday,” Herbert said.

Chicquita – Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien was also on hand at Santa Anita as his Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf hope Chicquita, winner of the Irish Oaks in 2013 made her first appearance on the track on Thursday morning. She did no more than a jog and light canter as she familiarized herself with her new surroundings. Chicquita is now O’Brien’s sole representative in the Turf, following the scratch of Magician on Wednesday morning.

O’Brien said, “She’s a lovely filly and I wouldn’t be worried that she got a little warm this morning – that’s just her. What happened to Magician was unfortunate, but with the fast ground here running him was not a chance we could take.”

Brown Panther – The Tom Dascombe-trained Brown Panther, who is part owned and was bred by former England international footballer Michael Owen, went out on the main track for a regulation canter under regular exercise rider Chris Ely, who reported that everything was fine with his horse.

“Nothing new to report, we are just keeping him ticking over,” he said

His trainer and Owen arrive in California later Thursday.

Flintshire – The Andre Fabre-trained Flintshire, who comes into the Turf off a second-place finish in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, continued his regular routine that he has been following all week, cantering on the main track.

Teddy Beckett, racing manager to owner Prince Khaled Abdulla, said, “He seems to have come out of his race in the Arc very well, and he ran very well to finish second to Treve in that. We think he’s in good order, and he’s had a relatively light season, so I am hopeful that he’ll go well on Saturday.”

Filly & Mare Turf

Secret Gesture – Trainer Ralph Beckett was once again on hand to supervise the exercise of his challenger Secret Gesture who ventured out on to the main track and put in a circuit and a half of a steady canter before returning to the barn. The daughter of Galileo looked comfortable in her work and all the connections were happy.

Dank – Michael Stoute was trackside for the first time to see both his horses stretch their legs. Defending champion Dank went out on to the turf with regular work rider Marie Doe in the saddle. The 5yo daughter of Dansili did not do any serious work and just did a gentle canter around one lap of the track before heading home through the paddock.

Just The Judge – Jamie Spencer, who will be riding Just the Judge in Saturday’s race, once again climbed aboard for her exercise and asked the Charlie Hills’ filly to go at a steady canter out on the grass. The 4yo daughter of Lawman will be trying to follow up on her success in the E.P Taylor Stakes at Woodbine earlier in the month.

Fiesolana – Willie McCreery was also at trackside and requested that his Matron Stakes winner Fiesolana be allowed to go out and have a look at the hill at Santa Anita. The daughter of Aussie Rules with jockey Billy Lee in the saddle went out at 9:55 and cantered down the hill before doing a 3f breeze.

“Everything went very well today and I am very happy with my filly” said McCreery.

Lee, who will have the mount in Saturday’s race reported the filly to be “A1.”

Mile

Karakontie – Jonathan Pease, trainer of this year’s Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) winner Karakontie, was at Santa Anita on Thursday morning to see his charge visit the turf course for the first time this week.

Flaxman Holdings’ racing manager Alan Cooper said after Karakontie’s solid gallop on the turf track, “The horse is very well, he’s back to his racing weight after his trip over here and is thriving here at the track. His trainer couldn’t be more happy with him.”

Anodin – Trainer Freddy Head, successful in this race as both a jockey and as a trainer on three occasions was again at the track to supervise Anodin’s preparations, and remains upbeat about his horse.

After jogging on the main track Anodin put in no more than a routine canter around 8:15 a.m. Head remains happy with his horse, “I have been pleased with him all week, he is relaxed and doing everything right. I think he should go well.”

Mustajeeb – Irish trainer Dermot Weld was at Santa Anita for the first time this week to supervise Mustajeeb’s turf work Thursday morning. His horse put in a pleasing piece of work in the company of a horse from local trainer Paddy Gallagher’s barn. His big race jockey Pat Smullen was again aboard Mustajeeb for the work.

Afterward Weld said, “I was very happy with him this morning. He went well on the track and changed his leads, which is important. I think he’s ready to run a big race.”

Smullen concurred with his trainer, “He’s in very good shape, and felt good out there.”

Veda – Alain de Royer-Dupre’s Aga Khan-owned runner Veda, a 3yo daughter of Dansili, continued her preparations by going out on the track in the company of the other French challengers Anodin (Mile) and Flintshire (Turf). She put in the strongest canter of the three, without being asked to do too much.

Toronado – With trainer Richard Hannon in attendance, the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the Mile again looked well as he went through the gates with his big race jockey Richard Hughes aboard before putting in a regulation canter on the main track.

“Everything is good with the horse, and I’m very happy with him,” he said. “I thought he was maybe a little quiet yesterday, but he was on his game today.”

Trade Storm – Newmarket trainer David Simcock saddles England’s other runner in the race, Trade Storm, who comes to Santa Anita off an international success in the Woodbine Mile in Toronto in September. Simcock was at Santa Anita for the first time on Thursday morning to see Trade Storm and his Turf Sprint hope Caspar Netscher warm up on the main track before breezing on the turf under Jamie Spencer.

Afterward Simcock said, “Both horses had a blow this morning and I couldn’t be happier with them. They are in great form. Ian (Russell) has done a great job with them out here. All we need now is a bit of luck, they are both live contenders.”

With regard to Trade Storm, Simcock added, “The track may be a bit tight for him, we’ll have to see, but they should go a good pace which will really suit him.”

Xpressbet Sprint

Wind Fire – David Brown’s Wind Fire with former jockey Kevin Darley in the saddle put in her strongest piece of exercise since arriving in California. She went out on to the main track shortly after 7 a.m. and galloped from the 4f-pole down the home stretch.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with her. She is in tremendous form, really tremendous. I asked her to do a little bit more today and she did it really nicely. She loves the dirt out there and has taken to it really well.” Brown said

Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

The Great War – The only European challenger in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is the Aidan O’Brien-trained The Great War who Thursday morning saw the Santa Anita racetrack for the first time. The 2yo followed exactly the same pattern as his stable companions and did a gentle canter out on the dirt.

“Saturday’s race will be his first run on the dirt and we will just have to see how he handles it,” said O’Brien.

Juvenile Turf

Commemorative – James Doyle was once again asked to ride Commemorative in his exercise. The solidly built son of Zamindar stretched out nicely in a routine canter out on the Turf. Charlie Hills who was successful in last year’s race with Chriselliam was happy with his charge and reported that everything was, “OK.”

Wet Sail – Charlie Fellowes’ hope Wet Sail did an almost identical piece of work to Wednesday. In the hands of regular rider Claire Mackay the son of Henrythenavigator stretched out in a strong canter down the stretch on the Turf.

War Envoy – Having cleared quarantine Wednesday, the Aidan O’Brien-trained War Envoy joined his stable companions out on the dirt track Thursday morning. Jogging half a circuit with his pony, the son of War Front then did a gentle canter down the stretch.

O’Brien was pleased with the condition of War Envoy and said, “ I am happy with him and I am pretty sure that he will get the trip on Friday.”

Juvenile Fillies Turf

Osaila – Frankie Dettori was once again on board the Richard Hannon-trained Osaila as she did a steady canter of half a circuit before walking and then going another half circuit also at a canter.

Prize Exhibit - Jamie Osborne’s Prize Exhibit, the other English challenger for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf took to the turf Thursday morning and went a steady canter before returning back to the barn through the paddock area.

Qualify – Aidan O’Brien’s raider saw the Santa Anita track for the first time Thursday having cleared quarantine Wednesday afternoon. The Weld Park Stakes winner trotted half a circuit of the main track with her pony before turning around and doing a very gentle canter down the stretch to the winning line. O’Brien reported that he was happy with the condition of his filly.

Turf Sprint

Caspar Netscher – David Simcock reported Caspar Netscher to be in good form ahead of his attempt to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Simcock saw his 5yo do a steady canter out on the turf course Thursday morning. Casper Netscher will be trying to take his career earnings over the $1 million barrier when he lines up in Saturday’s race with Irish Champion jockey Pat Smullen in the saddle.

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