Declaration Of War can hit Breeders' pay dirt in Classic
Friday 01 November 2013
Want a tip in the 12.35 at Santa Anita? Well, I've been told about a horse that has been tearing it up on the gallops, catching pigeons, working like a cert…
This time the tip's worth taking, because the man who passed it on is not a mate of the sister of the car park attendant at Yarmouth. It is Aidan O'Brien and the horse is Declaration Of War (12.35am Santa Anita), a tempting 7-1 for the $5m (£3.1m) Breeders' Cup Classic.
We already know that Declaration of War, winner of two Group One contests, the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and the International Stakes at York, is very good. What we did not know, until O'Brien told us, is that this US-bred colt shapes as though he will be even better on dirt than he is on grass. You would guess that it would take a lot to stir the seen-it-all Ballydoyle trainer, but his jaw dropped when Declaration Of War ran away from two top-notch stable companions in a workout on Southwell's fibresand a fortnight ago.
Apparently, even Giant's Causeway, winner of five Group Ones in a row in 2000, did not impress as much in a similar prep gallop before losing out by a nostril to US Hall-of-Famer, Tiznow, at Churchill Downs.
O'Brien has been trying without success to win the Breeders' Cup Classic ever since; even Coolmore legends such as Galileo and Hawk Wing could not crack the final and most coveted contest at this festival.
With barely more than a handful of British and European horses taking on the customary powerful home contingent, just one victory for the visitors tonight would be sweet, but there are genuine hopes elsewhere, too, especially in the Breeders' Cup Turf, where connections of The Fugue will be hoping for better luck than she encountered last year in the distaff equivalent, the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, when she was all dressed up with nowhere to go in the short home straight.
Perhaps the breaks will come this time, but that can never be guaranteed for a filly best held together for a late surge and so always prone to traffic problems around such a tight circuit. O'Brien's Irish 2,000 Guineas winner, Magician, is another with a big chance here.
English raiders Dank (Filly & Mare Turf) and Olympic Glory (Mile) also have what it takes to make their presences felt in California, but may be thwarted by the turn of foot of French raider Romantica (7.43 Santa Anita) and the American banker Wise Dan (11.40 Santa Anita).
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