Dermot Weld can cap season and career with victory in Breeders’ Cup

Mustajeeb could be best hope among a quartet of Irish horses at Santa Anita

Trainer Dermot Weld is aiming for a first success in the Breeders’ Cup in Santa Anita tonight. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Trainer Dermot Weld is aiming for a first success in the Breeders’ Cup in Santa Anita tonight. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

Dermot Weld is a pioneer of world racing and it would be entirely appropriate were he to secure a first Breeders’ Cup success at Santa Anita tonight with Mustajeeb. This is an event that labels itself a ‘World Championship’ after all.

Weld and champion jockey Pat Smullen have enjoyed a remarkably consistent run through the season but they have yet to register a Group One success. Mustajeeb is their last throw of the dice in tonight’s Mile, and the Jersey Stakes winner could be the best hope among a quartet of Irish horses on America’s single most valuable race day.

Willie McCreery’s Fiesolana will stretch her stamina out to 10 furlongs in the Filly & Mare Turf, while Aidan O’Brien’s enigmatic filly Chicquita is another Group One winner contending for the $3 million Turf. Her stable companion, The Great War, goes in the Juvenile Dirt.

Home focus

The Breeders Cup remains a formidable challenge, one which has seen 10 Irish-trained victories in the last 30 years, eight of them for Aidan O’Brien. As the man who remains the sole European trainer to win an American classic and who transformed the Melbourne Cup in Australia, Weld would be an appropriate addition to the Breeders Cup roll-of-honour, and with the outstanding Wise Dan missing from the home team, Mustajeeb is a fancied contender among six Europeans.

The draw looks to have done for the French Guineas winner Karkontie and the favourite Toronado could be vulnerable on a tight track. Anodin, a brother to the triple-Mile winner Goldikova, may be the big threat to a popular Irish winner.

Maybe Frankie Dettori can work a minor miracle on Chicquita but considering Telescope has been mixing it with the European elite all year, the Turf is areal opportunity for Michael Stoute’s runner to secure a maiden top-flight victory.

Dettori can enjoy better fortune aboard the Prix Morny winner No Nay Never in the Turf Sprint, and the Italian is on outsider, Imperative, in the Classic.

This is being billed as a clash between the unbeaten Shared Belief and the charismatic Kentucky Derby-winner California Chrome, but it is the Belmont and Jockey Club Cup winner Tonalist that gets the nod.

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