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Breeders Cup Mile preview

It has been a few years since the Breeders Cup has ventured outside of California, but it's back to Keeneland for 2015. It's the touring party of European raiders that add the cream and intrigue to this event, and the Mile has been a regular source of success for them.

Taking the reins to preview the Mile is blog regular, Chris Day @chrisday100

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Breeders Cup Mile
Group 1, Turf, One Mile, US$1.8m
Saturday 1430 local, 1930 GMT, Sunday 0830 AEDST


Of all the races run at this meeting in my memory, the mile is the race which stands out as the one most suited to European horses.

Coming late in the season it is not surprising that French trainers, who traditionally shun the high summer showpieces in favour of Longchamp in October, have won the race ten times, as their best horses are generally fresher than their British and Irish counterparts.

Turf racing in the States is always viewed as the poor relation and, although American previewers seem to like the chances each way of Tepin, a course winner on soft ground, I find it hard to muster any enthusiasm and view this as being between the European raiders, one of whom stands out for me as the bet of the week.

We can start with last year's winner, Karakontie, who won a weaker renewal on much quicker ground but can't be fancied on either of his runs this season although he deserves respect on that run 12 months ago.

Esoterique is one of two horses to be aimed at the race by a trainer with a superb record at this meeting and in this race and looks pretty solid. She has taken her form to a new level this year and comes here on the back of two Group 1 successes although I would happily wager that neither of those performances would be good enough to win here. She has top class form over shorter which has often proven useful here, Last Tycoon being a prime example, and ought to go well nevertheless.

Roger Charlton is not a trainer to send horses to big meetings without good reason and his Time Test looked like he could be anything when winning a Group 3 at Royal Ascot on lightning quick ground with any amount in hand. He then ran in one of the season's most unfathomable races at York behind Arabian Queen but returned to form in a Newmarket Group 2 last time ahead of an admirable yardstick of David O'Meara, Custom Cut. Recent rain in Keeneland will not have aided his chance and a draw in the outside stall means he will need to be a superb horse to win this.

Impassable comes here in peak form, having won two Group 2s, but she will need to find a few pounds to beat the best of these, a remark which applies to Woodbine Mile winner, Mondialiste. Both add strength and depth to the European challenge and a placing for either would not surprise me.

The one, though, who stands out for me is Make Believe, who looked like a superstar when running away with the French 2000 Guineas, beating New Bay in the process before disappointing in the St James Palace at Royal Ascot where he clearly failed to act on the firm ground and was apparently unable to be ridden for a month thereafter. He wasn't seen again until reappearing on Arc afternoon in the Group 1 Prix De La Foret and confirmed the original opinion that he was right out of the top drawer, travelling strongly just in behind the leaders and having far too much in the locker when challenged by the top class Limato, who had earlier looked a superstar when running away with a Group 2 at Doncaster. The key to him seems to be being able to get a good early position, using his tremendous cruising speed and kicking on two out and a draw in stall 3 is the icing on the cake. Recent rain and Group 1 winning seven furlong form only enhance his chances and, having taken 7-2 earlier this week, I am surprised to see him still trading at around that price.

I couldn't recommend an each way bet at the prices but this one's price is juicy enough to reward backers as it stands and I confidently expect Olivier Peslier, who rode Goldikova to three successes in this race for Freddy Head, to be leading him in to the winners' enclosure on Saturday night.

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