The 2018 Breeders’ Cup takes place on Friday 2 November and Saturday 3 November at Churchill Downs, which will be the ninth time the home of the Kentucky Derby has staged one of the world’s biggest meetings. The course usually provides some thrilling finishes as, though an inside draw is often an advantage, horses can come with a winning run down the outside track in the home-straight.
Rain is forecast, so the turf course is expected to ride on the soft side, but that could be good news for some of the European raiders, as well as some of the American horses that have already proven themselves on such a surface. We’ve taken a look at both days, and have come up with five free Breeders’ Cup tips for you.
Juvenile Fillies Turf (Friday)
Newspaperofrecord is fancied to overcome the poor record of favourites in this race, whilst also enhancing the excellent record of trainer Chad Brown, who has trained three of the last four winners and four of the last ten.
She impressed when winning first time up by six-lengths at Saratoga, whilst she also won by the same margin when looking a really explosive filly in winning the Grade 2 Miss Grillo at Belmont. Both those wins also came with some juice in the ground, so any rain that falls at Churchill Downs shouldn’t bother her. The time of that explosive win at Belmont already suggests she’s capable of running fast enough to win an average renewal of this race, and there’s every chance she can take another step forward. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr has been aboard for both her wins so far and he’s fancied to steer her to the hat-trick.
Juvenile Fillies Turf Free Tip: Newspaperofrecord @ 2.62 Bet365
Juvenile Turf (Friday)
The widest draw of all is certainly no plus point for Anthony Van Dyck, but it also means there’s a good chance he’ll go off at a bigger price than he should do, with the bookies likely to want to take him on. That could be a mistake though, as Aidan O’Brien has dominated this contest in recent seasons with wins for Wrote (2011), George Vancouver (2012), Hit It A Bomb (2015), and Mendelssohn (2017), and Anthony Van Dyck probably already has better form in the book than any of his previous quartet of winners.
Indeed, as neither the other European raiders or the American horses have run to anything like his level of form, a repeat of the form he’s shown in winning the Group 2 Futurity Stakes or his placed efforts behind Quorto in the National Stakes or Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst should be good enough to see him get his nose in front. He’s also proven himself around left-handed turns at Killarney and Leopardstown, whilst all ground seems to come alike to him.
Juvenile Turf Free Tip: Anthony Van Dyck @ 3.50 Bet365
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Saturday)
It’s no surprise to see Wild Illusion and Sister Charlie disputing favouritism for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, as English-trained horses have won three of the last five renewals, whilst Chad Brown has trained three of the last six winners. It isn’t easy to equate the cross-Atlantic form, but there are a few reasons why Wild Illusion could be better suited by this test that Sister Charlie.
The first of those is she seems ideally suited to 10-furlongs, having won her last two races over the trip. Meanwhile, Sister Charlie been beaten on all three attempts at this distance, though she has won over shorter and further. Wild Illusion has also proven she handles juice in the ground, with two wins, whilst her only defeat on soft came in the Oaks, when she didn’t appear to stay the 12-furlong trip. The English-trained three-year-old middle-distance fillies looked a decent bunch this year too, with Sea Of Class going close in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf Free Tip: Wild Illusion @ SP
Breeders’ Cup Mile (Saturday)
Expert Eye is a bit of an enigma to say the least, but he’s always given the impression he’s capable of being a true top-class horse when given his ideal conditions, and it may just be that the Breeders’ Cup brings out the best in him. The races here are normally run at a true gallop, which should suit him ideally, and it was noticeable how well he travelled two starts ago at York in the hands of Frankie Dettori, which was the first time the Italian had ridden him. Admittedly, this is a much better race, but if Dettori can settle him off the pace from his draw in stall-3, he’s certainly got the cruising speed to travel on the bridle for a long way, before hopefully being unleashed with a late run. Those tactics have worked beautifully at both Ascot and York this season over seven-furlongs and, hopefully, he won’t run out of petrol over the fast-mile here.
Breeders’ Cup Mile Free Tip: Expert Eye @ SP
Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Saturday)
There’s no great skill picking a horse that has run up a sequence of wins, but Monomoy Girl strikes me as a filly that has loads left in the locker. The downside is this prominent racer is drawn wide, but I still can’t resist backing her after watching the way she battled to success in the Kentucky Oaks. Her most impressive wins have probably come at a mile but, having looked sure to be overtaken in the home-straight in the Kentucky Oaks, she eyeballed her challenger and was pulling away at the line. Her work also suggests she’s not had to give her all yet, as she still likes to look around and take everything in that’s going on around her. Hopefully, she’ll be able to get to the front without using up too much energy, and she should be able to repel all challengers if she does.
Breeders’ Cup Distaff Free Tip: Monomoy Girl @ SP
Odds Correct at Time of Publication