There is a variety of televised racing action on Saturday including the first major steeplechase of the season and the unofficial world championships of the Flat. The Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby is a traditional starting point for some Cheltenham Gold Cup horses and the Breeders’ Cup brings together the best horses on turf and dirt. The stars of the show in west Yorkshire and Kentucky can be Thistlecrack and Enable. Once you have recovered from a smorgasbord of racing you can stay up late or rise early to watch the race that stops a nation next Tuesday morning.
The Melbourne Cup at Flemington is a mix of the Grand National and Royal Ascot and it’s a public holiday in Australia. Offices run sweeps and once a year punters get involved. A British trained horse has never won the Cup but Magic Circle could bring the bacon home for Marvan Koukash. The owner would like to receive the trophy wearing a dickie bow and nothing else so lets hope Magic Circle gets beat as that sight will spoil your breakfast. Yucatan has been backed to win the Melbourne Cup.
Thistlecrack is trained by Colin Tizzard who also has the Gold Cup winner Native River in his care. Cue Card has been retired but Tizzard has found two able deputies for the major chases. There is a £1 million bonus for winning the Betfair Chase, King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup. Only Kauto Star has won the bonus in the past but Might Bite could emulate that horse. However, if Thistlecrack wins impressively at Wetherby the Betfair Chase at Haydock becomes an option. After dominating the staying hurdlers division in the 2015/16 season Thistlecrack was seen as a future Gold Cup winner. He has to win well on Saturday to get back in that picture.
Bristol De Mai is the ante post second favourite behind Thistlecrack for the Charlie Hall Chase. The horse turned last year’s Betfair Chase into a procession but the course and going were right up his street. Winning the King George was beyond Bristol De Mai and there was no run in the Gold Cup. The horse could be a soft going one trick pony and vulnerable on faster ground. On hurdles form Thistlecrack has something in hand and the horse is fancied to get back on track to being competitive in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham next March.
Enable is the shortest priced favourite at the Breeders’ Cup and the horse can deliver for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori. No horse has won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Breeders’ Cup Turf so Enable could make history. Eight horses have run in both races in the same calendar year and failed to complete the double. Ground didn’t help Golden Horn’s chances in 2015 despite being trained by Gosden and ridden by Dettori, the Enable combination. The filly can make history at Churchill Downs on Saturday and conquer Europe and North America.
Gosden also trains Roaring Lion who the locals don’t rate in the Classic. Roaring Lion has won four Group 1 races in Europe but the racing surface and draw makes for a difficult task in the Breeders’ Cup dirt highlight. The trainer has warned the horse will not run if there is a deluge of rain. Regardless of the make-up of the field Accelerate will be hard to beat but Enable can still steal the show.