Limato: the July Cup winner is set to step up in trip
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Tony McFadden and Graham Dench 4:56PM 26 OCT 2016
THREE-TIME Group 1 winner Alice Springs and Limato, twice a winner at the highest level, lead a strong European challenge in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, where they will bid to topple crack US mare and defending champion Tepin.
Tepin is well known to European viewers having made history by becoming the first US-trained winner of the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. But her winning sequence came to a halt at eight when she suffered a surprise defeat on her Breeders’ Cup prep run in the First Lady Stakes this month when she failed to reel in the enterprisingly-ridden winner Photo Call.
Limato upped in trip
A total of 23 have been pre-entered in the Mile, in which a maximum of 14 can get a run, and Tepin heads the betting at a general 5-2.
July Cup winner Limato will step up in trip to a mile for just the second time in his career after connections opted against pre-entering him in the Turf Sprint.
Trainer Henry Candy said: “My preference was always for the Mile, quite honestly, because I think on that sprint track, down the hill and round the bend, it would be game over very rapidly if he had one of his dozy moments at the start. On a constantly turning flat mile I’m sure he’ll get it okay.”
Alice Springs finished runner-up in the Juvenile Fillies Turf last season but has been a revelation this term, impressing with her consistency, constitution and talent.
She registered her third Group 1 win of the campaign when taking the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month and trainer Aidan O’Brien expects the filly to launch another bold bid.
He said: “She seems to be getting quicker as the year has gone on and she’s a strong traveller who loves fast ground. She has progressed with every run and we were very happy with her at Newmarket.”
Limato can be backed at 3-1 with Ladbrokes while Alice Springs, who has also been pre-entered in the Filly & Mare Turf, is a standout 11-2 with Coral.
The Europeans have won the Breeders’ Cup Mile only once in the past five years – with the Jonathan Pease-trained Karakontie in 2015 – but had won the three previous renewals with superstar mare Goldikova.
There could be a numerically-strong European challenge this time as ten are in contention, including nine trained in Britain or Ireland.
The Europeans have traditionally fared best in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and there was a thrilling tussle to last year’s race when Found came out on top against Derby hero Golden Horn.
Highland Reel is a proven international performer and arrives in top form having chased home Found in the Arc.
“He’s a great horse,” O’Brien said. “He’s tough and consistent and he runs to an unbelievable level every time. He handles all types of ground and is very happy on fast ground. He stays a mile and a half well and has plenty of tactical speed. Everything has gone well since Chantilly.”
Highland Reel is the general 5-2 second favourite but it is a US-trained horse who heads the betting.
Flintshire, who finished runner-up in this contest two years ago when trained by Andre Fabre, has done well since joining US handler Chad Brown, winning two Grade 1s and a Grade 2. Easy ground did not play to his strengths when beaten at long odds-on in the Joe Hirsch Classic and he is a 7-4 chance to bounce back.