Classic-bound Found faces 'massive ask' in race of year
BHA head of handicapping Phil Smith expects the Breeders' Cup Classic will be the best race run all year, and it is "a massive ask" to expect Arc heroine Found to win it.
Smith, who sat on the eight-man selection committee who in effect determined an order of preference for those races which are oversubscribed, pointed out the Classic has seven of the best 39 horses in the world, whereas the Irish Champion Stakes and the Arc had only six.
Furthermore, those seven include the two horses who are currently top of the pile in California Chrome on 133 and Arrogate on 129, although he acknowledged Winx could well divide them when she has been reassessed for her Cox Plate win.
Smith said: "We have California Chrome 4lb higher than Arrogate, but Arrogate could be absolutely anything and it would be no surprise to me if he won the race as he is comparatively lightly raced three-year-old and probably still progressive.
"Found is 123, and has a 3lb sex allowance. It's all hypothetical but if they all replicated their form on that surface you could see her dead heating for third with Frosted, but that's a massive ask for a horse who has never run on the surface before."
He added: "We've seen before that some Europeans take to it astonishingly well and others flounder. There have been some glorious failures, and remember when Raven's Pass won the Classic it was on the artificial surface.
"But I guess for Coolmore it's a shot to nothing, and if anyone can pull a rabbit out of the bag Aidan is the guy. It's fantastic that they are giving it a shot."
Smith, who nominated Sir Michael Stoute's Turf runner Ulysses as his best outsider among the Europeans, said he had to lobby hard for Dutch Connection's inclusion in the Mile.
His American counterparts, he said, were "not fans, because they are big on consistency", and while Dutch Connection is capable of really good form he has his share of "mediocre" form too.