US trainer Chad Brown could be European Breeders' Cup bogeyman
Anthony Van Dyck bids to add Breeders Cup triumph to Derby win
Chad Brown: the 40-year-old from Mechanicville in upstate New York could well engineer a European wipe-out on the night. Photograph: Michael Reaves/Getty Images
On Saturday night Aidan O’Brien’s latest Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck will try to become just the second “Blue Riband” hero to score a Breeders Cup victory.
Only the second of O’Brien’s seven Derby winners, High Chaparral, has managed the feat before, and he did so in style with back to back wins in the $4 million Turf event.
The second time in 2003 was a famous dead heat around the same Santa Anita mile and a half that Anthony Van Dyck faces at 11.40 Irish-time. That will be the final leg of European competition at the 36th Breeders Cup, with interest from this side of the Atlantic mostly confined to three turf races.
Earlier O’Brien is also responsible for the most high profile raider on the $2 million Mile in Circus Maximus, while his son Joseph has the prime European fancy in Iridessa for the Filly & Mare event.
These turf events also include runners from Britain and France, with even the German hope Alounak taking his chance alongside Anthony Van Dyck.
However top US trainer Chad Brown could emerge as a European bogeyman in all three races. Bricks And Mortar is unbeaten in his last six starts and rates an outstanding local hope in the Turf, while Sistercharlie is an 8-5 morning-line favourite to successfully defend the Filly & Mare crown. Even the Mile, traditionally a speciality for the raiders, includes a dangerous Brown contender in Uni.
With his outstanding Breeders Cup record, including four wins in the Filly & Mare alone, the 40-year-old from Mechanicville in upstate New York could well engineer a European wipe-out on the night.
Bricks And Mortar in particular looks a formidable opponent to Anthony Van Dyck and Godolphin’s hope Old Persian.
The memory of his lucrative Pegasus rout at Gulfstream in January means the visitors’ hopes of overcoming the home mainstay might be that a first attempt at a mile and a half catches out his stamina.
More encouragingly, O’Brien’s decision to skip an arduous Arc on soft ground looks a good one now that Anthony Van Dyck lines up a fresh colt on ground that should suit ideally. ”The trip, ground, track, draw, everything looks right for him,” the Irishman has reported as he pursues a seventh win in the race.
Anthony Van Dyck ran on Lasix at last year’s Breeders Cup and will run on the anti-bleeding medication again.
Nevertheless, although his last run in the Irish Champion Stakes was encouraging, it is bare form that still gives Bricks And Mortar an edge.
Most evidence suggests a stiff mile such as Ascot’s is ideal for Circus Maximus. He doesn’t get that at Santa Anita in a race that sees the ex-French Trais Fluors have a first start for Curragh trainer Ken Condon.
Grade One win
Uni is another ex-French runner who comes here on the back of an impressive Grade One win at Keeneland.
Sistercharlie’s pace preference has been compromised by her stable companion Thais being scratched after Breeders Cup vets declared her unsound, a decision Brown strenuously disputes.
The Ballydoyle pair Fleeting and Just Wonderful accompany Iridessa against her, although if there is to be a surprise result it could be the French 1,000 Guineas winner Castle Lady that provides it.