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Series stars out in force at the Breeders’ Cup

2 Nov 2017

Six horses who have won at least one QIPCO British Champions Series race will be in action at Del Mar

Highland Reel stretches his legs at Del Mar before The Breeders’ Cup Turf. Picture: Racingfotos.com

A squad of star performers from the QIPCO British Champions Series are set to play a pivotal role at the Breeders’ Cup in Del Mar on Saturday night.

Leading the way will be the Aidan O’Brien-trained Highland Reel, a three-time winner in the Series, and Sir Michael Stoute’s Ulysses, who is a two-time winner, in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (11.37pm).

The pair, who will both be retired at the end of the year, dominate the betting and will be joined by Seventh Heaven, winner of the Darley Yorkshire Oaks last year, plus Cliffs Of Moher, the Investec Derby runner-up, and Decorated Knight, a three-time Group One winner this year who was third in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Highland Reel made all in the Turf last year and is the general 2-1 favourite to repeat the trick.
“I think we’ve got chances of sorts wherever you look,” O’Brien said on Thursday night after which his raiders exercise.

Earlier on the card, Marsha and Lady Aurelia will meet for the third time this year in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (7.37pm).

The former pipped Lady Aurelia by a nose in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August, having previously finished third behind her in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Marsha will be the first runner that Sir Mark Prescott has saddled at the Breeders’ Cup. Cotai Glory and Washington DC, placed in Series races, will also contest the Sprint.

Churchill won the first race of this year’s 35-race Series, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, and was third in the penultimate contest, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) on British Champions Day.

He will seek to give O’Brien and Coolmore an elusive first success in the Classic (12.35am on Sunday), in which the home defence is led by Arrogate and Gun Runner.

Finally, in the Filly and Mare Turf (9pm), Queen’s Trust will seek to retain her crown but this year the race is over a shorter trip of nine furlongs and that will not help her. Rhododendron, runner-up in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and Investec oaks, has an unfavourable wide draw to overcome in the same race.

Frankie Dettori will ride Ulysses and Queen’s Trust, and is disappointed the latter has a double-figure draw on the tight track. He said: “You do not want to be drawn high, anything above seven on the turf track you really have little chance.”