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Breeders Cup Classic preview

Classic preview from @creamontop, Jon da Silva in the raw format. Sorry, haven't the time to edit it properly before this evening!

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Breeders Cup Classic

2016 Turf seasons had been pretty much a snore fest till late on. This race was to feature the performers of the 3 most eye-popping races of the year. Then bang Winx goes and wins the Cox Plate by 8 wickets. Fans of Almanzor be doing that tutty thing right now too. Anyway 3 of the 5 best performances of the year by ratings line up here. That's not true either! A Shin Hikari technically [actually] 3rd on Timeform's Sept' list. Thus I give up on narrative and discuss value which is a nebulous concept and I am told inedible and crucially unfalsifiable, by a single result.

California Chrome possibly the best loved horse in the world this side of Chinese provincial racing. An absolute star who's got better in some respects with each race. There was an observation that California Chrome despite winning The Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands and The Preakness had never passed a horse in the home straight. He did remove that record in passing Lea in the 2015 Dubai World Cup only to lose his reputation with some as enigma Prince Bishop (who!) blew by him late. Then a trip to Royal Ascot was aborted with a bruise and he started to seem, mmm well, old news. He had been eclipsed by Shared Belief and later American Pharoah. A comeback run merely asserted he was a similar horse with less upside than Dortmund to primitive yardstickers. A steady win at Meydan hardly had the hairs standing up. Then bang. Espinosa rides him in same wide throttle out way as 2015 and instead of dying he just killed them in the World Cup. This has been followed by 3 runs featuring stupefyingly easy dismissals of animals like Beholder (who just bested Songbird in the Ladies Classic) and Dortmund. He stands shy at ~137 of a Timeform 140 which generally speaking only the greats and Harbinger have achieved but his ease of wins has suggested he can hit that.

Arrogate had some form in the West looked a decent horse with 3 straight wins before the Travers. Then in the Travers on his 5th start he went super nova. Winning the Travers by a scarcely believable 13 lengths in under 2 minutes. Really not much more to say he routed the 3 year old classic form. He mullered them. Indeed Timeform's 132p may be taken as a cautious rating as it's based on 1 performance. Globeform have him clear of Chrome even. Both will be on or near the lead most likely.

This would be a classic immovable object v irresistible force match but Frosted adds the unreliable but brilliant 3rd force. American Pharoah's shadow whose pushing of Pharoah may well have led to the Triple Crown winner's only defeat in 2015. Frosted produced his own WTF performance in the Met Mile winning by a barely believable 14 wickets. Best of all the top 2 and some others threaten to get into a burn up here in front of him. Downside is his own stamina in a hard 10 furlongs is questionable but hey this is California where Bayern won! Frosted actually rates above Arrogate on Timeform numbers. Frosted did follow up his Met Mile win in the Whitney but looked a hard ride and a weak finisher when beaten in the Woodward over a furlong less than here. Questions about his ability at the Classic distance seemed borne out there too. 10s probably too large as we over react to a negative on distance but just seems a bit soft like the horse who won the Mile for the Godawful boys who own Frosted.

Effinex was once so up and down at times Effin Effinex really should have been his name before a consistent run of with 7 of last 8 Beyer speed figures over 100. However it's worth noting and H/T to Mark Milligan of Timeform here his numbers are better when Mike Smith rides - 1 below 100 Beyer in those 8 was an 88 no Smithy. Caught late by Hopportunity when probably the best horse in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Gets Flavian Prat here. 2nd to the Phantastic Pharoah in last year's renewal and will get a stalking trip again with the top 2 burners.

Probably the grit in the works of a perfect race is Melatonin who has won 3 of his last 4 (defeat by Effinex) and figures to be part of the pace situations with Chrome and Arrogate. Maybe they do something incredible and every horse runs badly but he figures to get a hard trip and is not as good as the favoruites.

Keen Ice the only horse to down the Pharoah after his debut loss. This time last year one might have expected a burn up to find him in clover but has appeared to have lost what speed he had and is hard to fancy on this year's form. Not even an optional claimer could get him near a winner's circle.

Hopportunity is a complete grinder but comes here in form. Collared Effinex last time and will pick up the pieces of really silly pace duels. His shot relies on others shooting their bolt and not just the favourites for me. Definitely an exotic play in tris and supers?

Shaman Ghost won the race where Frosted found nil late and another to consider in the big price EW. Grade 2 and Grade 1 wins sandwich a loss to Effinex. Again I think we would need to see a pace duel I've not seen on this track for him to win.

War Story won a Non Losers of 3 Allowance. Tried a grade 1 and got beaten 22 by Chrome. Rearrange these words into a popular and well known saying "Hoper No". Hope the entry was cheap and the seats and buffet worth it.

Win The Space has seen California Chrome's arse from a distance last 3. 2 hopes for him, Hope Solo and No Hope.

Summary ========

In terms of pace Arrogate does break from wide and if Espinosa lets Chrome stride on ala the Pacific Classic he may be 3 wide with Melatonin between them. I will though chance Arrogate whose Travers was staggering and he has been put away since. Chrome is the most likely winner but at 11/4 I prefer the performance that was conservatively rated by some and included 0 points for style of win. If you can get 40/1 Effinex and don't believe in jockey hexes I think that is the value EW or underside of the Exotic play - Hopportunity and Shaman Ghost also have claims on the bottom spots in the Tri and Super. Frosted is a big price at 10s but sometimes you just can't put a finger on a horse and I reckon this race is not what he needs.

What we learned was 1st day track played fair and whilst I fear a pace burn up for Arrogate he can from stall 10 make decisions much as Stevens' did on Beholder. Even in the Mile the 2nd chased the burning pace 3 wide and was passed by one who was already in position top of the stretch so not an extreme track either way only Runhappy's fractions and Beholder's courage were extreme.

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