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Sam King returns with two selections, including a strong fancy from the Breeders’ Cup this evening.
Action across the UK and Ireland has been thinned out thanks to Storm Ciaran, but there will be no such issues with the weather across the pond as Santa Anita's Breeders' Cup meeting gets underway.
It could be a good opening night for UK and Irish raiders with the away teams holding plenty of the market principles across the juvenile Grade 1's. Aidan O'Brien is by no means a stranger to Breeders' Cup success, and I'd be surprised if he doesn't extend his excellent record in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf later tonight (11.40pm).
The Al Shaqab-owned Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere runner-up Unquestionable will definitely prove popular under California's new resident sporting star Frankie Dettori, but I'm positive stablemate River Tiber is the one to be with.
He perhaps hasn't reached the heights some might have expected since his neck victory in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, but there have been excuses subsequently and he's performed more than creditably in top company. The O'Brien-trained juvenile suffered an interrupted preparation heading into the Group 1 Prix Morny in August, but he stayed on nicely without being given a hard time on soft ground to finish third behind the unbeaten Vandeek. He once again filled the third-place position behind that rival in the Middle Park at Newmarket recently, shaping as though the step up in distance on a quicker surface would really bring out the best of him.
Furthermore, the vibes around team Ballydoyle seem to be strong with O'Brien quoting "he has always been a very classy horse and we think he is better now than he was for his last two runs". The son of Wootton Bassett should relish stepping up to the mile on a turning track like Santa Anita and with the perfect draw in stall two, I expect him to take all the beating under Ryan Moore, who absolutely thrives when it comes to riding on one of the world's biggest stages.
Selection: River Tiber – General 7/4
Away from Santa Anita, there's still plenty of racing to get stuck into in the UK with Newmarket and Newcastle both hosting nine-race cards.
Conditions will be ultra-testing at Newmarket this afternoon but that shouldn't pose any issues for Stop The Cavalry, who relished soft ground when making a winning debut at Haydock in September.
The fact connections are happy to pitch her straight into stakes company suggests they obviously feel she's a filly of good quality and being by Lope De Vega, she's obviously bred to excel on ground with cut underfoot.
Ralph Beckett's filly travelled strongly before sticking on well in the closing stages at the Merseyside venue on debut last month and she posted some solid closing sectionals in the process. There could be any amount of improvement to come from her on Newmarket's Rowley Mile this afternoon and a bold bid should be on the cards for a trainer enjoying a remarkable season.
Selection: Stop The Cavalry – General 9/2