Beckett pair all set for Juvenile Turf test

Ralph Beckett is looking forward to firing a twin assault on the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Friday.

The Andover-based trainer travelled to Kentucky earlier this week to oversee the final preparations of both New Mandate and Devilwala, and reports both to be in peak condition.

New Mandate appears the stable’s chief contender under Frankie Dettori, having completed a hat-trick in the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket on his latest appearance.

Frankie Dettori will partner New Mandate
Frankie Dettori will partner New Mandate (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Speaking after walking the turf course at Keeneland on Wednesday, Beckett said: “The track is in excellent shape, and I think the ground will suit him (New Mandate) well – although I don’t think he’s particularly ground dependent, I have to say.

“We haven’t done much with them since they arrived, but that was on purpose. All has gone to plan so far, and I think making sure you take a horse that can travel well is the key factor.

“New Mandate is pretty straightforward, and I think his draw (stall two) is perfect.”

Formerly trained by Archie Watson, Devilwala made a most encouraging debut for Beckett when fourth at 100-1 in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket last month.

Rossa Ryan’s mount appears less well placed in stall 13 of 14.

“Devilwala is a very laid-back individual as well and very well suited to the change of environment,” Beckett added.

“We weren’t expecting him to run so well in the Dewhurst – it was a promising effort. He’s going to have to be on his A-game from that draw, but he looks in the right shape to run a big race.”

The market is headed by Battleground, who bids to provide Aidan O’Brien with a fifth victory in the race following the previous triumphs of Wrote (2011), George Vancouver (2012), Hit It A Bomb (2015) and Mendelssohn (2017).

Since finishing fifth on his racecourse debut, Battleground – a son of War Front out of the yard’s Arc heroine Found – has won the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.

Battleground represents Aidan O'Brien
Battleground represents Aidan O’Brien (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

O’Brien said: “We hope the track will suit him, and he’s stepping up to a mile for the first time. We think the experience will do him good and we’re looking forward to next year.

“Found was an unbelievable mare, and he’s her first foal and by War Front, so it would be brilliant if he could win.”

Jessica Harrington is hoping to see an improved performance from Cadillac, following his fifth-placed finish in the Dewhurst.

“He just got stuck in the mud in the Dewhurst,” she said.

“I should have been very grown up and taken him out, but it’s a very hard thing to do when you’re over there and it’s a Group One.

“He’s quite a laid-back horse who never impresses you at home and just goes through the motions, so we never really know how he is.”

The European challenge is completed by Michael Bell’s The Lir Jet, while the home team includes Todd Pletcher’s Mutasaabeq and the Wesley Ward-trained Outadore.

Ward said: “He’s been training each and every week with Campanelle (leading contender for Juvenile Fillies Turf) and has kept right with her, so we’re excited about him.

“I’d make him a little bit better than an each-way chance, but we’ll see what happens – I get a little over confident sometimes!”

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