Horse racing enthusiasts are growing restless as we speed towards the renewal of the world-famous Breeders’ Cup World Championships in America. Churchill Downs provides the setting for the 2018 version, with two days of the highest quality horse racing taking place on November 2 and 3.
Punters from all over the globe will flock to the Kentucky track to witness one of the highlights of the sporting calendar. The best horses, top jockeys, most successful trainers, excitement, drama, upset and big price winners. Expect them all when the curtain goes up.
Those who can’t make it to Louisville will crowd around television screens to watch the live coverage in every sport-loving nation. Bookmakers, as you would expect, haven’t been slow in taking advantage of the widespread interest and have put forward their ante-post books, allowing backers the chance to support their runner of choice early in the hope of grabbing a better price before the late money comes for the most popular contenders.
The facts, figures and form have been meticulously studied, the advice of in-form tipsters taken on board and the latest betting odds and promotions picked through on Oddschecker to uncover the weak favorites worth opposing and the plucky underdogs primed to make a name for themselves.
Prefer to play it safe and put your trust in the markets? Below you’ll find a selection of runners that odds-makers just can’t see losing on the main stage…
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
This is a fine race to get the show on the road and Game Winner will live up to his name and earn connection’s the big cheque, according to those in the know. The two-year-old colt out of the Bob Baffert yard is no bigger than 3/1 to win the Juvenile and that’s worth jotting down as some firms have the same outcome as short as 7/4. This is one for the value hunters out there.
The bay was impressive when winning at Del Mar over six furlongs in August and followed that with another trip to the winner’s enclosure, stepping up in trip to secure the Futurity Stakes across 7f a few weeks later. He’s improving, there’s confidence onside and bookies think he’ll take all the beating.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
It’s not difficult to see why those who hold the purse strings are keen to keep on the right side of Madhmoon and if he runs in the Juvenile Turf, the opinion of most is he’ll be far too good for the field. The two-year-old – a product of Dawn Approach and Aaraas – lived up to the hype when winning at Leopardstown in the summer.
He went off a 9/2 shot that day but oozed class from post to post, beating 4/9 jolly Sydney Opera House over a mile on good ground. Those who watched the race, regardless of if they had him backed or not, immediately added the name Madhmoon to their jotter.
It was worth doing too as he went and won at the same course in September, picking up the Champions Juvenile Stakes at 6/5. Bookmakers had obviously learned their lesson and made him favorite that day. There’s plenty more improvement left in him too.
Breeders’ Cup Distaff
If you plan on sticking with the hot pots during the Breeders Cup weekend, Monomoy Girl will be the first name on your betting slip if going in the Distaff. What’s really exciting about this runner is there’s a difference of opinion amongst industry insiders, with some firms offering 7/4 favorite, others as cocky as 3/1.
The chestnut, trained by Brad Cox, showed just what she was about when stringing together a stunning run of wins. She seems to get better with every outing and her success to date includes a couple of wins at Churchill Downs, The Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds, Acorn Stakes against a talented field at Belmont and a breeze around Saratoga in July.
Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
The champion of the 2018 Dirt Mile, if the race follows the thinking of odds compilers, will be Catalina Cruiser, and by some distance. John Sadler’s colt has been chalked up as a solid fav with 9/4 the best you’ll find. That’s available at Coral and most of the competition sit down at 2/1, so there’s not a massive difference there.
The nearest challenger is Bee Jersey who is back at 6/1 and that tells the story of how this one is expected to go. Catalina Cruiser heads in with his chin up having won at Santa Anita and twice around Del Mar already this year. He was 1/4 to win a 7f stakes and didn’t let backers down that day. He’s not expected to at Churchill Downs either and you’ll see the four-year-old on a fair share of betting slips, especially accumulators.
Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
Usually one of the most exciting races of the meeting and this year’s renewal is certain to fall into line and provide us with another thriller. Favorite backers will hope not, much preferring a dull race where Marley’s Freedom does what’s expected and leaves the chasing pack for dust. Another from the star-studded Bob Baffert string, she’s 2/1 with most major firms.
Marley’s Freedom earned the hearts of punters when putting on a display of real courage and talent to go an extended run of wins. That purple patch includes a cheer at Saratoga in the Ketel One Ballerina Stakes over seven furlongs. The gutsy filly beat big price runner-up Still There with Lewis Bay making up the major places. She was 13/8 on that occasion and it proved a shrewd move from bookmakers who had the winner picked early.
Breeders’ Cup Sprint
The early ante-post betting has Imperial Hint as 5/2 favorite with second in line, Roy H, as big as 6/1 in places. Such a gap this early in proceedings suggests it would be wise to follow the betting and supporters can also take heart from the form.
Imperial Hint, Luis Carvajal’s progressive five-year-old, put a run of wins together and was particularly impressive in the Alfred G Vanderbilt Handicap over 6f at Saratoga in July. The odds-on favorite that day, he proved himself the best horse of the pack and bagged connections over 220,000 in prize money. Roy H doesn’t boast the same form, finishing second in the Bing Crosby Stakes before a Del Mar audience, despite carrying an 8/11 price tag.
Breeders’ Cup Mile
Polydream may not be the most convincing favorite of the week at 4/1 but traders are at a loss to nail down the victor at this stage and it shows with Expert Eye back at 13/2. Third fav Oscar Performance can be backed at a chunky 7/1. Such a difference of opinion usually gets followers of the form excited, but calling this race will be no mean feat.
Polydream won the Group 1 M. De Gheest Stakes over 6f at Deauville in the summer and if she goes in the Mile and carries her form, she’ll be very difficult to budge. Expert Eye won the City of York Stakes and placed third in the Moulin Stakes at Longchamp. Oscar Performance proved his ability when bagging the Ricoh Woodbine Mile Stakes.