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Magical in Hong Kong Cup mix

Aidan O’Brien’s Magical heads the stellar cast in contention for the hugely valuable Longines Hong Kong International meeting at Sha Tin.

Staged on December 13, the card is worth more than £9million in prize money across four Group One contests, three of which offer the largest purse on turf over their respective distances.

Seven-time Group One winner Magical is engaged in the Hong Kong Cup, run over a mile and two furlongs, and was most recently seen finishing a length behind Dermot Weld’s Tarnawa in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland.

Her last victory was in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September, where she saw off the horse that tops this year’s Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, the Godolphin-owned Ghaiyyath.

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Magical is likely to be joined by stablemate Peaceful, who took the Irish 1,000 Guineas this season, with Jerome Reynier’s Prix Dollar winner Skalleti also representing the European contingent.

The Japanese flag is flown by last year’s victor Win Bright, who is undefeated in two runs at the track, while the home side field 2019 Hong Kong Derby winner Furore.

The Hong Kong Mile is also contested by a former winner, as Admire Mars returns to defend his crown for Japanese trainer Yasuo Tomomichi.

The colt faces stiff opposition from Golden Sixty, who has put together a remarkable 10-race winning streak and bids to claim his first Group One title.

Beauty Generation, who took the race in both 2017 and 2018, is also set to take part as he looks to return to winning ways for new trainer David Hayes.

Ireland are represented by two runners from Ballydoyle, surprise Breeders’ Cup Mile hero Order Of Australia and Lope Y Fernandez, who finished third in the same race – with Ken Condon’s dual Minstrel Stakes and 2018 Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Romanised also entered.

Hot King Prawn carries the hopes of Hong Kong in the six-furlong sprint, in what will be a quick turnaround from his winning performance in the Group Two Jockey Club Sprint on November 22.

He will face Classique Legend, a new recruit to the yard of leading Hong Kong trainer Caspar Fownes, and Singapore’s Inferno, a two-time Grade One winner.

Grand Prix de Paris winner and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe runner-up Mogul lines up for Ballydoyle in the Hong Kong Vase – alongside the globe-trotting Royal Julius, who was the victor in the 2019 Bahrain International Trophy.

Five-time Group One winner Exultant bids to regain the title, having prevailed in 2018 and then missed out last year when third behind the aptly-named Glory Vase.

Magical on course for Hong Kong Cup

Magical remains in full training and is being aimed towards the Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin next month.

Aidan O’Brien’s multiple Group One winner was last seen being caught late on by Dermot Weld’s Tarnawa in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, which followed on from her meritorious run in the Champion Stakes at Ascot.

O’Brien has enjoyed a bonus season with the five-year-old whatever happens in Hong Kong, as it was assumed she was going to be retired this time last year.

The decision to keep her in training has been well rewarded, with Group One victories in the Pretty Polly Stakes, the Tattersalls Gold Cup and a barnstorming display in the Irish Champion Stakes over Ghaiyyath.

“At the moment the plan is to take her to Hong Kong,” said O’Brien.

“She’s still in full work at the moment and that’s what we are looking at the minute.

“She ran very well in America, we were very happy with her at the Breeders’ Cup.”

Order Of Australia leads home remarkable Mile clean sweep for O’Brien

Order Of Australia led home a one-two-three for trainer Aidan O’Brien with a shock victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.

The three-year-old colt only got into the race after One Master was scratched on Thursday and was sent off an unconsidered 73-1 outsider.

His jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot himself only got the ride after Christophe Soumillon tested positive for Covid-19 and completed an unlikely double after he also replaced Ioritz Mendizabal on Audarya in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

Order Of Australia had only won two of his seven previous races and had fallen short in two previous attempts at the top level – but he came good when it mattered, to give O’Brien his first win in the race.

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Halladay made the running until the straight, where there was all to play for until Order Of Australia swept on the outside to take the honours under another confident ride by Boudot.

The son of Australia kept on to hold his stablemates Circus Maximus and Lope Y Fernandez, giving Ballydoyle a remarkable clean sweep.

Kameko, the 2000 Guineas winner, had every chance under Oisin Murphy but finished out of the places, as did Irish Guineas victor Siskin.

O’Brien said: “We always thought that as the season went on a mile on fast ground on a flat track would be ideal for Order Of Australia.

“He’s a horse that quicken very well and he had been working well.”

Boudot – who would have ridden the William Haggas-trained One Master – said: “I spoke to Aidan, who was very confident about this horse. He said I should be positive and as he is fast and a proper horse I should ride him from on the pace.

“He travelled very nicely throughout and produced a good turn of foot when I asked him.”

He added: “Christophe gave off a positive test for Covid and my horse got into the race as One Master was a non runner.

“It’s a dream come true for me and I’m thankful to my agent, who must be one of the best in the world.”

Kameko’s rider Oisin Murphy said: “I got him into the perfect position that I wanted going down the back. I thought the track would suit him and that he would travel, but he didn’t pick up.

“While this is disappointing, it doesn’t indicate how good he is. It’s just that he has trained hard all year, he’ll make a wonderful stallion.”

Colin Keane said of Siskin: “He behaved himself down at the stalls, but gave me the impression in the race that the year had caught up with him.”

Fire At Will silences big guns in Juvenile Turf

Aidan O’Brien’s Battleground had to make do with the runner-up spot as Fire At Will claimed a surprise victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland.

A son of War Front out of the yard’s Arc heroine Found, Battleground was strongly fancied to provide O’Brien with a fifth victory in this Grade One contest following the previous triumphs of Wrote (2011), George Vancouver (2012), Hit It A Bomb (2015) and Mendelssohn (2017).

Winner of the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood this summer, Battleground raced in midfield for much of the way and was still back in the field rounding the home turn, as Wesley Ward’s front-runner Outadore set sail for home.

Michael Maker’s Fire At Will reeled in the leader inside the final furlong before pulling nicely clear in the hands of Ricardo Santana Jr.

Battleground finished strongly for Ryan Moore to beat Outadore to second, with Jessica Harrington’s Cadillac not far behind that pair in fourth.

Ralph Beckett’s pair of New Mandate and Devilwala, as well as Michael Bell’s The Lir Jet, finished unplaced.

Maker said of the 33-1 winner: “I thought he was way overpriced – he’s done nothing wrong and is a very professional and classy horse.”

Moore said of Battleground: “He ran a lovely race, I like him a lot. He’s a horse with a big future.

“He ran on really well at the finish, but the winner had gone.”

Shane Foley was happy with Cadillac, and may have been closer with a shade more luck.

He said: “He got shuffled back on the first turn, but then ran on in the straight. He stays the trip very well.”

Frankie Dettori, meanwhile, felt the season had caught up with New Mandate.

He said: “I think he’s over the top, he ran with the choke out. It was one (run) too many.”

Kameko seeking glorious farewell at Keeneland

Guineas hero Kameko bids to go out in a blaze of glory in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.

Andrew Balding’s colt has raced over a variety of distances since winning the season’s first Classic at Newmarket – finishing fourth over a mile and a half in the Derby, over a mile in the Sussex at Goodwood and over 10 furlongs in the Juddmonte International at York.

He got back on the winning trail over a mile in the the Group Two Joel Stakes at Newmarket in September – and having since sidestepped the QEII at Ascot on account of the testing conditions, he is set for his swansong this weekend before being retired to stud in 2021.

David Redvers, racing manager for owners Qatar Racing, said: “The horse is in great shape – I’ve seen some lovely photographs of him looking imperial and he’s apparently very well.

“It would be fantastic if he could win a Breeders’ Cup Mile.

“We just have to hope he gets his luck in running and if that is the case, I think we’ll see him at his best.”

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Kameko is part of a strong European presence in the race, with Ger Lyons’ Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Siskin also set for the final outing of his racing career following a recent announcement he would stand at stud in Japan.

Colin Keane’s mount appears well placed in stall four – and Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, reports the son of First Defence to have settled in well to his new surroundings.

He said: “The draw is what it is, but certainly we have no complaints.

“The horse has travelled out there and seems in good form.

“He’s coming into it fresh, Ger is very happy with him and we hope the track will suit.”

Aidan O’Brien declared Circus Maximus, Lope Y Fernandez and Order Of Australia in a bid to win the race for a first time, with the latter getting a run following the withdrawal of the William Haggas-trained One Master.

The tough-as-teak Circus Maximus was fourth in last year’s renewal and appears to be the stable’s first string.

O’Brien said: “We think he’s in good form. He’s a tough, hardy, consistent horse who gets a mile well.

“We think and hope the conditions will suit him.”

Safe Voyage (centre) represents Yorkshire-based John Quinn
Safe Voyage (centre) represents Yorkshire-based John Quinn (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The raiding party is completed by John Quinn’s Safe Voyage – who has won two Group Twos this season and was last seen finishing a close-up third behind One Master in the Prix de la Foret.

“He’s been training well and we sidestepped the QEII at Ascot because we didn’t want to throw too much at him,” said Quinn.

“At York he was able to dominate, but at ParisLongchamp it was a little bit more tactical and became a test of speed, which caught him out. He was galloping through the line that day, so we were pleased with how he finished.

“Tactically, I think he’ll be able to be comfortable at Keeneland. There will be some very nice horses in the race, but if everything went well, we can dream that he will win – he’s certainly got a chance.”

O’Brien hunting seventh Turf triumph with Magical and Mogul

Magical and Mogul give Aidan O’Brien a formidable hand as he goes in search of a seventh victory in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.

It is 18 years since High Chaparral provided the Ballydoyle handler with his first triumph in the mile-and-a-half contest. Twelve months later, the same horse dead-heated with Johar in an epic finish.

O’Brien has since added to his tally with St Nicholas Abbey (2011), Magician (2013), Found (2015) and Highland Reel (2016) and appears to have an excellent chance of adding to his tally at Keeneland on Saturday.

Magical has previous at the Breeders’ Cup, having pushed the great Enable to three-quarters of a length in this race two years ago.

She was set to be retired after winning last year’s Champion Stakes at Ascot, but returned for another campaign and has won another three Group Ones to take her top-level total to seven. She finished third when defending her Champion Stakes crown three weeks ago.

“Magical was going to go to No Nay Never, but at the start of the year the lads had a chat. We said how well she had done over the winter – physically she really changed – and we felt it was worth letting her have another year,” said O’Brien.

“We’re delighted we made that decision. We felt it was right as she was sound and her mind was very good.

“We started to race early in the year and she went from race to race. She’s an amazing filly and we’re lucky to have her.”

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Stablemate Mogul has not been seen in competitive action since running out an impressive winner of the Grand Prix de Paris in September, having since missed an intended outing in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe due to a well documented issue with contaminated feed.

“He’s in good form. Obviously, he’s had a busy year. I suppose his last run was his most impressive when he won the Grand Prix de Paris on a bit of nice ground,” O’Brien added.

“He travelled very well, quickened well and we were pleased with how he came out of the race.”

Dual Group One-winning filly Tarnawa bids to provide Dermot Weld with his very first Breeders’ Cup success.

Tarnawa (left) represents Dermot Weld
Tarnawa (left) represents Dermot Weld (Niall Carson/PA)

The Prix Vermeille and Prix de l’Opera heroine also had the option of running in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, but instead takes on the boys in the longer of the two races.

She will be ridden by Colin Keane, because intended partner Christophe Soumillon was ruled out on Friday after testing positive for Covid-19.

Weld said: “She’s equally as effective over 10 furlongs and a mile and a half.

“I think she’s very tough, sound and genuine, so is well suited to the Breeders’ Cup. Most importantly, she’s a stayer with speed.

“I think in this difficult year, great credit must be given to the Breeders’ Cup for their organisation and help and their ability to put on the fixture. They really need great credit for what they’re achieving.”

Lord North wins at Royal Ascot
Lord North wins at Royal Ascot (Megan Ridgwell/PA)

Enable’s trainer John Gosden is this year represented by Lord North and Mehdaayih.

Lord North won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot earlier in the summer, but finished tailed off on his return to the Berkshire circuit for last month’s Champion Stakes.

Mehdaayih, meanwhile, has raced just twice in 2020 thus far, most recently finishing fourth in Ascot’s Qipco British Champions Fillies And Mares Stakes.

“The Champion Stakes was unfortunately run on a quagmire, which wasn’t a lot of help to Lord North nor Magical,” said Gosden.

“We’d had record rain in October, so both with the Arc in Paris and on Champions Day at Ascot, you were running in the deepest ground I’ve ever seen. It was drying out ground, which becomes very sticky and gluey.

“Prior to that Lord North ran a lovely race to finish third in the Juddmonte International at York, having previously won the Prince of Wales, and we’re looking forward to running him here.

“Mehdaayih ripped her back when she ran in the Prince of Wales’s (finished sixth), so she had a long time off and we only just managed to get her back for Champions Day.”

Audarya flies the flag for Fanshawe at Breeders’ Cup

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.”

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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.”

Kevin Ryan is looking forward to saddling Glass Slippers
Kevin Ryan is looking forward to saddling Glass Slippers (PA)

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.

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.”

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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!”

Sovereign joins stellar field for Bahrain International Trophy

Five Group One winners feature in a final field of 14 for this month’s £500,000 Bahrain International Trophy after the supplementary stage closed.

Aidan O’Brien is set to saddle 2019 Irish Derby hero Sovereign, last year’s Queen Anne Stakes winner Lord Glitters represents David O’Meara, dual Canadian International Stakes winner Desert Encounter runs for David Simcock – and Saeed bin Suroor calls on 2019 Jebel Hatta victor Dream Castle.

Adding further top-level interest on November 20 is the Japanese-trained mare Deirdre (Mitsuru Hashida), whose big wins include last year’s Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

Barney Roy has suffered a minor setback and will miss the race, but Godolphin will still be doubly represented – with Mark Johnston’s Royal Ascot winner Dark Vision joining Dream Castle.

Supplemented at a cost of £10,000, Sovereign will be O’Brien’s first ever runner in Bahrain.

The Ballydoyle trainer said: “Sovereign is a strong mile-and-a-quarter horse. He is a very strong galloper who likes to go forward in his races, and we think the Bahrain International Trophy will suit him.”

John Gosden saw Turgenev finish second in the inaugural race last year and will be hoping to go one better with Global Giant, who will be ridden by Frankie Dettori for owner HH Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa.

Andrew Balding and King Power Racing were sixth with Pivoine in 2019 and are back this year with Bangkok – while Lady Wannabe (Fozzy Stack), Certain Lad (Mick Channon), Pogo (Charlie Hills) and Quest The Moon (Sarah Steinberg) complete the European challenge.

Two spots in the field are guaranteed for locally-trained horses, and the two Bahraini-based contenders are confirmed as Port Lions (Fawzi Naas) and What A Welcome (Hesham Al Haddad).

Shaikh Salman bin Rashed Al-Khalifa, executive director of Rashid Equestrian & Horseracing Club, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the class of horses that we have attracted to this year’s Bahrain International Trophy.

“To have five individual Group One winners in the field – compared to only one last year – shows the leap in quality. We are very grateful to the trainers and owners for placing their trust in Bahrain, and we very much look forward to welcoming them.”

Anthony Van Dyck sustains fatal Melbourne Cup injury

Anthony Van Dyck, winner of last year’s Derby, has been euthanised after fracturing a fetlock in the Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

Aidan O’Brien’s four-year-old famously prevailed in a tight finish to the Epsom Classic last term and struck gold in the Prix Foy at ParisLongchamp in September, beating three-times Gold Cup hero Stradivarius.

Anthony Van Dyck was saddled with top weight in the Melbourne Cup after being edged out in the Caulfield Cup on his most recent outing, but he was pulled up by Hugh Bowman in the feature race.

Racing Victoria’s executive general manager – integrity services, Jamie Stier said: “It is with sadness that we confirm that Anthony Van Dyck had to be humanely euthanised after sustaining a fractured fetlock during the running of the Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

“The horse received immediate veterinary care, however he was unable to be saved due to the nature of the injury sustained.

“Our sympathies are extended to the owners of Anthony Van Dyck, trainer Aidan O’Brien and all his staff who cared for the horse and are greatly saddened by their loss.”

Stier added a fatality report will now be prepared by the RV integrity services team as is standard practice.

He said: “The fatality report gives consideration to the circumstances of the incident and any potential learnings to assist in the prevention of similar injuries in the future.

“The report will include the findings of a post-mortem which will now be conducted by the University of Melbourne Veterinary Clinic and we expect it will be several weeks before we have a completed report for consideration.”

Anthony Van Dyck won six of his 19 starts, amassing over £2.3 million in prize money, with the son of Galileo also counting the Tyros Stakes, the Futurity and Lingfield Derby Trial amongst his victories.

The Victoria Racing Club tweeted: “The Victoria Racing Club extends its condolences to the owners, trainer Aidan O’Brien and his team who cared for Anthony Van Dyck and are saddened by their loss. We would like to thank the track and veterinary staff for their prompt and humane care of the horse.

“The Club remains totally committed to the welfare of all equine athletes and the ongoing focus on their wellbeing and will continue to work with the industry to understand the cause of this incident.”

Magical in stall two for Breeders’ Cup Turf assignment

Magical will break from stall two while stablemate Mogul will start widest of 10 runners in Saturday’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland.

The duo, who will be ridden by Ryan Moore and Pierre-Charles Boudot respectively, will be trying to give trainer Aidan O’Brien a seventh success in the 12-furlong heat, which also features Dermot Weld’s Tarnawa, the mount of Christophe Soumillon.

John Gosden is also represented with the Frankie Dettori-ridden Lord North (six) and Mehdaayih, who will be in stall four for Joel Rosario.

Kameko, winner of the 2000 Guineas, goes for glory in the Fanduel Breeders’ Cup Mile and Oisin Murphy’s mount will be surrounded by some familiar horses as he breaks from stall two.

O’Brien’s Circus Maximus (one) and the Ger Lyons-trained Siskin (four) have already crossed swords with Andrew Balding’s charge this year, while Lope Y Fernandez (three), Safe Voyage (six) and One Master (nine) complete the British and Irish challenge.

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Last year’s winner Uni is drawn 12th of the 14 runners for Chad Brown.

The Jessica Harrington-trained Cayenne Pepper was drawn 14 of 14 runners for the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf, which also features O’Brien’s Peaceful (three), Terrebellum (seven) from the Gosden yard and James Fanshawe’s Audarya (11).

Glass Slippers is in stall six for Kevin Ryan in the Turf Sprint, with Charlie Hills’ Equilateral among the reserves for the six-furlong contest.

Bob Baffert appears to hold the key to the Classic with three-times Group One winner Improbable, Kentucky Derby victor Authentic and Maximum Security.

The trio were all drawn next to each other in the 10-furlong feature, taking stalls eight, nine and 10 respectively.

Baffert said: “That was crazy. I got here just before the draw and I saw Authentic in the nine. And they’re going to be easy to watch.

“It’s not like the Sprint and they have a long run to the turn. They have to break well. Improbable, he needs to break well.”

Tiz The Law will be in stall two with Toms D’Etat (four) another leading contender.

Monomoy Girl (10) and Swiss Skydiver (five) face off against each other in the Distaff in what is one of the most eagerly-awaited clashes.

Swiss Skydiver won the Preakness on her most recent start for Kenny McPeek, while Monomoy Girl won this race in 2018 but could not defend her title last year after suffering a bout of colic.

Trainer Brad Cox is unconcerned by her draw in the widest stall of all, adding: “She was 11 of 11 in the Breeders’ Cup in 2018. She was 14 of 14 in the Kentucky Oaks. I love it.”

Melbourne Cup Trends

Run each year on the first Tuesday in November (3rd) the Melbourne Cup is dubbed as ‘the race that stops a nation’. Run over 2m it’s the richest handicap run over that distance in the world.

Staged at Flemington racecourse in Melbourne, Australia the race always attracts runners from all corners of the globe, but there are also many key trends and stats to help you find the winner of the 2020 Melbourne Cup.

 

Recent Melbourne Cup Winners

2019 – VOW AND DECLARE (10/1)
2018 –
CROSS COUNTER (8/1)
2017 –
REKINDLING (14/1)
2016 –
ALMANDIN (10/1)
2015 –
PRINCE OF PENZANCE (100/1)
2014 –
PROTECTIONIST (7/1)
2013 –
FIORENTE (6/1 fav)
2012 – GREEN MOON (19/1)
2011 – DUNADEN (15/2)
2010 – AMERICAIN (12/1)
2009 – SHOCKING (9/1)
2008 – VIEWED (40/1)
2007 – EFFICIENT (16/1)
2006 – DELTA BLUES (17/1)
2005 – MAKYBE DIVA (17/5 fav)
2004 – MAKYBE DIVA (13/5 fav)

Key Melbourne Cup Betting Trends and Stats

16/16 – Had won a Group class race before
14/16 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
14/16 – Raced at either Geelong (2), Flemington (3), Caulfield (4) or Moon Valley (5) last time
14/16 – Won 8 or fewer races before
14/16 – Winners from stall 5 or higher
14/16 – Winning distance – 2 lengths or less
11/16 – Had raced within the last 2 weeks
11/16 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
10/16 – Won by a AUS-based horse
10/16 – Aged 5 or older
10/16 – Drawn in stall 9 or higher
10/16 – Had raced at Flemington Park before (7 won there)
10/16 – Returned 12/1 or shorter in the betting
9/16 – Horses from stall 10 or 11 placed
9/16 – Aged 6 or older
8/16 – Won by a 6 year-old
8/16 – Had won over 1m7f or further before
7/16 – Placed favourites
4/16 – Had won just once before
4/16 – Won last time out
3/16 – Winning favourites
3/16 – Had raced in a previous Melbourne Cup
2/16 – French-trained winners
2/16 – English/Irish winners
The average winning SP in the last 16 runnings is 18/1

 

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Fellowes content with Melbourne Cup draw for Prince Of Arran

Charlie Fellowes expressed his satisfaction after Prince Of Arran was drawn in stall one for Tuesday’s Lexus Melbourne Cup.

The seven-year-old is bidding to make it third time lucky in the Flemington showpiece, having finished third behind Charlie Appleby’s Cross Counter in 2019 and been placed second, after passing the post third, in last year’s renewal.

Prince Of Arran warmed up for ‘the race that stops a nation’ by finishing a close-up fourth in the Caulfield Cup two and a half weeks ago and Fellowes is looking forward to his latest challenge.

“I think the draw is fine. We can ride a race from there and get plenty of cover,” said the Newmarket-based trainer.

“It’s better than being caught out wide. It should be relatively straightforward.”

Prince Of Arran is part of a final field of 24 runners, with Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Anthony Van Dyck and Tiger Moth having mixed fortunes in the all-important barrier draw.

Caulfield Cup runner-up Anthony Van Dyck appears well placed in stall three, but Irish Derby runner-up Tiger Moth – who was last seen landing a Group Three at Leopardstown in September – is drawn second widest of all in gate 23.

Former Ballydoyle inmate Sir Dragonet, who won the Cox Plate on his first start for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, is in stall 14, while Joseph O’Brien’s pair of Master Of Reality and Twilight Payment will break from gates 11 and 12 respectively.

The Willie Mullins-trained Stratum Albion (nine) and Andrew Balding’s Dashing Willoughby (19) are the other European challengers along with Andreas Wohler’s Ashrun (24), who sealed his place in the field with a short-heard victory in the Lexus Hotham Stakes on Saturday.

Magic Wand retired to paddocks after setback in Australia

Magic Wand has been retired to stud after a foot abscess scuppered her planned campaign in Australia.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained five-year-old was a late withdrawal from last weekend’s Cox Plate due to the issue and the handler’s team has been unable to drain the abscess over the last few days.

Magic Wand had been due to defend the Mackinnon Stakes title she won last November, but that plan has been abandoned and O’Brien’s travelling foreman, TJ Comerford, confirmed she will now retire to the paddocks in Ireland.

He told www.racing.com: “She got a foot abscess and it’s one of those we can’t get at. We’re can’t do anything about it, we’re trying to draw it out, but it doesn’t seem to want to release and we’re thinking it will burst out of the coronary band. It’s just bad luck as she was going to run a good race.

“We thought she was back to her best, but that’s the end of her now. She’s going to be retired and go to stud.”

Magic Wand bagged over £3.7million in prize money in four seasons, with the mare racing far and wide, taking in starts in Ireland, Britain, France, America, Hong Kong, Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

However, Comerford pointed to her Australian Group One triumph as the zenith of her career.

He added: “She’s a very good filly. I suppose the highlight of her career was winning here last year in the Mackinnon after running in the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup. She’s always been a very good mare.

“It’s unlucky for her that it’s finished like this, but we’ll take her home and have a very good broodmare.”

Coolmore Australia also paid tribute, tweeting: “Following a foot abscess as she prepared for a second tilt at the Mackinnon Stakes, Magic Wand (Galileo) has been retired and will join our broodmare band in Ireland. She has been a wonderful mare for Coolmore and our partners and much loved by her strapper Yvonne.”

O’Brien hoping Arc absence can work in Mogul’s favour at Keeneland

Aidan O’Brien feels being forced to miss the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe could have been a blessing in disguise for Mogul as he prepares for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland.

The three-year-old colt would have been a leading fancy for the Arc with after his victory in the Grand Prix de Paris in September, but a return to ParisLongchamp was cancelled due to contaminated feed issues.

Mogul relished the good ground for his Group One success, but would not have appreciated the testing conditions on Arc day.

“He’s a big, gross, powerful horse, who takes his racing well and is always very happy to race. We were looking forward to the Arc with him,” O’Brien told a Breeders’ Cup teleconference.

“The ground was good when he won the Grand Prix de Paris, but none of our horses got to run on Arc day and the ground would not have been ideal.

“Maybe that wasn’t much of a disadvantage, especially looking to this race. We always thought this track would suit him. He’s a pacey horse. He loves nice ground and a flat track.

“We’re happy with what he’s doing at home at the moment.”

O’Brien is also pleased with Magical, who has had a tremendous season with three Group One victories, though she he got stuck in the mud when bidding for back-to-back victories in the Champion Stakes at Ascot on her latest start.

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“We’ve been delighted with her this year. She ran well the last day. The ground was very heavy in Ascot. She seems to have come out of the race very well,” he said.

“She did very well over the winter from four to five physically and we were looking forward to seeing her race this year. When she started racing, we thought she had improved again.

“She’s a fine, big mare and has been racing at the top level at two, three and four. I suppose we were delighted and hoping the improvement would be there.

“It’s possible this will be her last race, but I don’t know. She also has an entry in Hong Kong in December, so I suppose we will see how things go.

“What we usually do is we take them home and have a good chat about it 10 days after the race and see what we want to do.”

O’Brien expects Circus Maximus to have several things in his favour when he bids to improve on last year’s fourth place in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile.

“He’s been in good form since the last day. The ground in Ascot was very bad and it didn’t suit him,” said the Ballydoyle handler.

“He likes a nice surface and an even pace, a flat track and he loves to get into a battle. We think all those things might suit him.”

O’Brien also believes Lope Y Fernandez could find this race up his street.

“We think six, maybe seven is his ideal trip. We had a race in France on Arc day, a seven-furlong Group One (the Prix de la Foret) in mind for him and he didn’t get to run,” he said.

“We thought it would set him up for this race, so when we couldn’t run there, we ran him over six at Ascot and the ground was bad, but he ran respectably and we all thought the Breeders’ Cup Mile might suit him on a flat, easy track.

“We think it will suit him and will ride him a little bit patiently.

“Ryan (Moore) will have the choice and at the moment Circus Maximus is the highest-rated, but we’ll wait and see.”

O’Brien is looking forward to running Battleground in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

“He’s a fine, big powerful colt. He’s usually a good traveller, likes nice ground. He started early in the year, won at Royal Ascot and then he went and won at Goodwood,” he said.

“He was being prepared for the National Stakes and he coughed getting off the box, so we withdrew him and then we prepared him for the Dewhurst and with the ground the way it was, we said we’d wait.

“He has been in full training a long time and was prepared for two races in between he didn’t run in, so we think his fitness levels are good and high and he seems to be in good form.”

The Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf is Peaceful’s target and O’Brien is convinced the ground at Newmarket was to blame for her poor performance in the Sun Chariot Stakes.

“She’s in good form. The ground was very bad in Newmarket, probably the worst ground there for a very long time,” he said.

“We just felt it was too deep for her. She came out of the race well and we put her disappointing run down to ground.”

“We always felt this race was going to suit her.”