Caravel on course for Sprint defence at Santa Anita

American sprint star Caravel is fully primed ahead of the defence of her Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint title at Santa Anita next weekend.

Brad Cox’s daughter of Mizzen Mast was a somewhat shock winner of the five-furlong event at Keeneland 12 months ago, pinging the gates and never looking back in the hands of Tyler Gaffalione, as she came home half a length clear of Kevin Ryan’s Emaraaty Ana.

However, she has since proved that victory was no fluke and asserted herself as one of America’s top turf sprinters when bringing up a fabulous five-timer in the Jaipur Stakes at Belmont in the summer.

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A subsequent defeat on soft ground at Saratoga has done little to dent the Caravel team’s confidence and their charge was only denied by a neck in her Breeders’ Cup tune-up in the Franklin Stakes.

“She seems to be in great nick and the news from America is we are all systems go,” said David Redvers, racing manager for Qatar Racing – who own the mare in conjunction with Marc Detampel and Madaket Stables LLC.

“You never know for sure whether she is going to be at the same level as last year, but we are all certainly hoping so. It’s thrilling to have a horse at that level who is going to defend her crown.

“We made the mistake of running her at Saratoga in that horrible heavy turf, so you just have to put a line through that. Otherwise she has been in great nick.”

Last year Caravel held off the cream of British sprinting with raiders filling the second, third and fourth spots and there are some more familiar names lying in wait for the US-trained speedster this time.

Royal Ascot scorer Bradsell and Adam West’s shock Nunthorpe winner Live In The Dream are at the front of the queue of challengers this time around, but connections feel Caravel has nothing to fear if able to replicate her form from last year’s Breeders’ Cup and in the early part of 2023.

“If she can run to the level of form she ran to last year, you would be very hopeful that it wouldn’t matter what she comes across,” added Redvers.

“The big question is, we don’t know if she has the same level of pace as she did last year. But she is one of Sheikh Fahad’s favourites and she’s certainly giving us all something to look forward to.”

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