James Fanshawe is relishing the prospect of sending out his first Breeders’ Cup runner when Audarya contests Saturday’s Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf.
The daughter of Wootton Bassett was winning a handicap on the all-weather at Newcastle as recently as early August, but has made huge progress since by claiming a surprise Group One win in the Prix Jean Romanet before finishing a close third in the Prix de l’Opera.
Fanshawe is well aware of the task facing his charge in America, but is adamant she is not there just to make up the numbers.
He said: “It’s a very different track to what she’s been racing on – it’s round two bends and much tighter.
“She’s a very well balanced filly, so I don’t think that will be a problem, and what will suit her is a truly-run race.
“At this time of year you’re just hoping your filly is in the same form as she has been for her last two races, as you’re going into the winter and some thrive and some start to hibernate.
“She seems well and is showing no signs of that. I hope she’ll run a very big race.”
British hopes are also carried by John Gosden’s Terebellum.
Impressive in the Group Two Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket in early June, the Godolphin-owned four-year-old was subsequently narrowly denied Group One glory in both the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket.
However, she could finish only fifth on her latest appearance in the Sun Chariot.
Gosden said: “It was very, very soft ground for Newmarket in the Sun Chariot. They seldom called it heavy and that was the description they were giving on the day.
“She found that a little bit too testing. Like most horses, she likes what we call good ground.”
Aidan O’Brien’s Peaceful and Cayenne Pepper, from Jessica Harrington’s yard, represent Ireland.
Following three successive runner-up finishes, Cayenne Pepper ran out an impressive winner of the Group Two Blandford Stakes at the Curragh in September.
“I think it probably was a career-best last time,” said Harrington.
“I was convinced she was a mile-and-a-half filly, but in the Irish Oaks and in the race at Cork (Give Thanks Stakes), she was in front until the last half-furlong and got run out of it.
“Bringing her back in trip for the Blandford, and winning it like she did, I really was absolutely delighted with her.”
Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup action gets under way with the Filly & Mare Sprint, for which Bob Baffert’s Gamine is the likely favourite.
The following race is the Turf Sprint, in which Kevin Ryan is set to saddle dual Group One-winning filly Glass Slippers, who was last seen finishing second when bidding for back-to-back wins in the Prix de l’Abbaye.
Ryan said: “She’s a top-class filly and the Breeders’ Cup is a very important meeting – it’s nice to have a filly that is good enough to run there.
“She comes out of her races very well – she’s very tough and genuine.
“She’s one of the best I’ve trained. She’s just been a very progressive filly who has kept on improving and I’m very privileged to have her to train.”
Chad Brown’s Complexity and the Brad Cox-trained Knicks Go are among the leading contenders for the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, while George Weaver’s Vekoma and Steven Asmussen’s unbeaten colt Yaupon lock horns in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Cox’s Monomoy Girl is a hot favourite for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, ahead of Kenny McPeek’s Swiss Skydiver.