Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Is Eziyra’s ‘Ultimate Target’
Weld plans to run Bandua in Kentucky Downs this weekend
Eziyra could be bound for the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare at Churchill Downs in November. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Eziyra has the $2 million Breeders Cup Filly & Mare at Churchill Downs in November as an “ultimate target” but her trainer Dermot Weld has more immediate Kentucky ambitions this weekend.
A famously pioneering figure in international racing, Weld has a choice of lucrative targets at the Kentucky Downs track for his high-class three year old Bandua.
The colt belied 40-1 odds to finish best of the international runners when third in last month’s Grade One Secretariat Stakes in Arlington. Bandua has remained in the US since then and could line up for Saturday’s Grade Three Kentucky Turf Cup, a mile and half contest worth $750,000.
Alternatively the Irish runner may wait a day and take part in Sunday’s Listed Duelling Grounds Derby worth $400,000.
Either way he is set to be ridden by the English-born jockey Adam Beschizza who completed the English Cambridgeshire-Cesarewitch double in 2015 and is now enjoying considerable success riding in America.
“He’s an interesting guy and is doing very well over there, winning over $3 million in prizmemoney this year,” said Weld. “Bandua ran very well in the Secretariat Stakes and he will run in either the Cup or the Derby this weekend.”
Kentucky Downs is America’s only European style all-turf racecourse. Unlike the usual US oval circuits it features undulations as well as a unique shape which includes a sweeping turn into the straight. It races for just five days each September.
Weld is already focussing on the Breeders Cup for his high class older filly Eziyra.
She ran an admirable third to Sea Of Class in last month’s Yorkshire Oaks and Weld said: “We’re looking at the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare as the ultimate target for Eziyra.
“We will work back from that in terms of where she might go next. She’s in the Prix Vermeille [at Longchamp on Sunday week] but no decision has been taken on that.
“Her options also include the EP Taylor Stakes (October 13) in Woodbine in Toronto. That is a race we will also consider.”
The Aga Khan owned filly also enjoyed a productive 2017 when her race record included a fine third to Enable in the Irish Oaks.
Eziyra now has Enable’s half brother Centroid as a stable companion and there will be plenty interest in his second career start at Naas on Tuesday evening. Centroid won his Leopardstown debut in good style but faces two rivals, Saracen Knight and Boho, who are officially rated in the 90’s. Easier going however should be in the Weld runner’s favour.