Racing: Ouija Board tough enough to regain title
Saturday 04 November 2006
This meting remains the Turf's closest equivalent to the Ryder Cup, but has always been a home game for the Americans. That may yet change, with Polytrack and other synthetic surfaces being introduced around the nation, promising a more level playing field in the future. For the time being, however, the turf races remain much the most obvious source of European success.
This has been the hardest season already for Ouija Board (6.55) (right), although quite possibly her best as well. With physical maturity she seems to soak everything up more serenely than ever, and if still at her best will surely go close to retrieving the Filly & Mare Turf, a prize she surrendered last year to Intercontinental.
Intercontinental's great dam, Hasili, could produce her third Breeders' Cup winner when Cacique lines up for the Turf, but he must prove his stamina. Hurricane Run is the most able runner, if only he could restore the rhythm he seems to have lost this year. Scorpion (9.35) could assist with a strong pace but, as a fresher horse, could also prove hard to catch. He looks better value than Red Rocks, who has had a long year and must reach a new peak after a tiring race last time.
The Mile is very open, though the draw may have cost Aussie Rules his otherwise excellent chance. Araafa still looks in bristling form but Gorella (8.15), so unlucky last year, has passed up a less taxing opportunity against her own sex to seek amends here. She is an ideal foil for the talents of the French prodigy, Julien Leparoux.
Naturally the clear climax, either side of the Atlantic, is the Classic. George Washington definitely merits fidelity if the local Tote odds become too dismissive. He will probably finish either first or last, and a bet would not be merely sentimental.
It would be disappointing if this vintage field did not yield a true champion, but it could become such a bearpit that an outsider picks up the pieces. Lawyer Ron (10.20) is tempting on his first start for Todd Pletcher, while a case can be made for Premium Tap. David Junior looks in good shape and has every right to go well, too.
Stan Moore saddles Satulagi in the Juvenile Fillies', and she could conceivably go well in a field lacking depth, although the best value rests in another outsider, Quick Little Miss (5.30). Circular Quay (6.10) is better than he looked last time and his sensational performance at Saratoga in the summer qualifies him as the pick in the colts' race.
Henny Hughes has been the dominant sprinter in America this season but could be burned out by a savage pace here, potentially setting the race up for a strong finisher like Too Much Bling (7.35). And Pine Island (8.55) is being well reviewed for the Distaff.
Of course, the most intense rivalry today is not necessarily transatlantic - and could yield the best bet of all. Coral is betting on the relative fortunes of Sheikh Mohammed and Coolmore. With two favourites in Bernardini and Henny Hughes, as well as the Godolphin pair in the Mile and Balletto in the Distaff, Sheikh Mohammed is 5-4 to have more winners than Coolmore.
A tie is 6-4, leaving the Coolmore partnership looking excellent value at 11-4, their runners including both Scorpion and Hurricane Run in the Turf, an equivalent hand to Godolphin in the Mile, and Circular Quay. Oh, and they also have some animal named George Washington on their side.
Latest in Sport
Don't mess with me, Diego Costa warns Manchester City ahead of Chelsea clash
World Masters Athletics Championships: Meet the 95-year-olds still picking up medals
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
West Ham vs Liverpool match report: Reds are caught cold by hot Hammers
Aston Villa vs Arsenal team news: Alexis Sanchez incorrectly named in starting line-up as Alex Oxlade-Chamerlain called up to start
- 1 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 3 Scottish referendum 'English question': Tory MPs call on David Cameron to create an English first minister in wake of No vote
- 4 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...