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Saturday's invaluable guide to the Breeders' Cup

Santa Anita plays host to a fantastic weekend of racing
1 of 1

The big race

The battle to be the 45th president has been rather less than a vintage one, but the 33rd Breeders' Cup meeting, which culminates with the Classic in the early hours of Sunday, looks well up to scratch.

A Racing Post rating of 130 or more is the sparingly awarded hallmark of a real top-notcher. Only four horses in the world have achieved it this year and three are in this field – the first clash of three 130-plussers since the 2003 Irish Champion Stakes.

Heading this illustrious trio in the market is California Chrome, the cheaply bred chestnut who won the Kentucky Derby two years ago and has kept winning since coming back from injury this season.

Then there is Frosted, who won the Met Mile by an astonishing 14 lengths – even trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said: "It was just a 'wow' race."

Arrogate took the Travers Stakes by nearly as far, and this race could be the greatest post-midnight sporting drama on British television since Denis Taylor and his upside-down glasses snookered Steve Davis three decades ago.


Key trend

Only one of the last ten Breeders' Cup Classic favourites has won.


Key Breeders' Cup Classic quotes

Art Sherman, trainer of California Chrome
I think horses are at their best when they're five years old and Chrome is bigger and stronger than ever. I wouldn't trade places with anyone. His last two races have been big - let me have one more like that in the Breeders' Cup.

Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of Frosted
We're not sure which Frosted is going to show up. We hope it's the one from the Met Mile.


A Big Day For . . . 

Gordon Elliott and Henry de Bromhead were among the beneficiaries of Michael O'Leary's decision to remove his Gigginstown team from Willie Mullins, and both trainers have exciting new additions to their yards running in the Grade 1 JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal.

Elliott now has Gold Cup third Don Poli in his care, and said of the seven-year-old: "He seems in good enough form but mightn't be fit enough. We're trying cheek-pieces on him as he worked in them during the week. He's bound to come on a good bit from the race."

De Bromhead has inherited Ryanair runner-up Valseur Lido, and the trainer said: "He seems in good form and has been working nicely since we got him. It's his first run of the season and we're hoping for a good run." 


The going

At Doncaster the going dried out to good to firm on Friday (from good to firm, good in places), with a strong wind negating the rain that fell. Light rain is forecast in the early hours of Saturday.
At Santa Anita the dirt track was described as fast on Friday, and the turf course was firm.


Saturday's big races

Wincanton 1.35: Wincanton Rising Stars Novices' Chase
Wincanton 2.10: Stan James Elite Hurdle
Doncaster 2.25: Betfred Mobile Wentworth Stakes
Down Royal 2.35: JNwine.com Champion Chase
Doncaster 3.00: Betfred TV EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Gillies Fillies' Stakes
Down Royal 3.05: Titanic Belfast Chase
Wincanton 3.20: Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase
Doncaster 3.35: Betfred November Handicap
Santa Anita 7.05: 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies
Santa Anita 7.43: Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf
Santa Anita 8.21: Twinspires Breeders' Cup Sprint
Santa Anita 9.05: Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint
Santa Anita 9.43: Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile
Santa Anita 10.22: Longines Breeders' Cup Turf
Santa Anita 11.01: Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
Santa Anita 11.40: Breeders' Cup Mile
Santa Anita 12.35: Breeders' Cup Classic


And elsewhere . . . 

Last year the November Handicap at Doncaster was staged on heavy ground, but very different conditions are likely for the final highlight of the Flat Turf season.

On Friday the going was described as good to firm, and the amounts of rain forecast do not look likely to have much of an impact on underfoot conditions. That could lead to a number of notable absentees including Wrangler, who is vying for favouritism with Cape Cova.

Wrangler's trainer William Haggas said: "He needs rain so I am very wary but he has been waiting for the race. He got away with the ground last time but we will reassess after the two-year-olds have run."

Cape Cova won by a neck at the track over further last time but is up 9lb, a rise John Gosden thinks may have compromised the three-year-old's chance.

He said: "I think he was severely handicapped for winning a neck and to that extent it might have gone against him."

I wouldn't trade places with anyone. His last two races have been big - let me have one more like that in the Breeders' Cup
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