Could Joseph O’Brien finish the season with another successful night at the Breeders Cup? Crockford considers his three rides and the European challengers at Santa Anita.

Last season saw him burst into the racing international consciousness with his excellent winning ride on St Nicholas Abbey. Since then he has not looked back dominating the Irish Jockey’s championship and almost completing the triple crown with Camelot. The 19 year old’s tall frame has made it a battle for him to make the weight but his sheer determination and abundance of talent has carried him through.

Excelebration came out of Frankel’s shadow with his brilliant win on QIPCO Champion’s Day, but he will not have it all his own way stateside with the top rated Wise Dan flying the flag for the home team. The versatile French filly Moonlight Cloud may also figure in what is truly a championship contest. The only thing missing is the mighty Frankel.

St Nicholas Abbey will hope to successfully defend his crown in the Breeders Cup Turf, where he will face Shareta and his own stablemate Treasure Beach. Crockford thinks that he will put his poor Arc race behind him and come to life on the firm ground of California. Local challengers like Little Mike may spoil the party for the raiders.

Joseph’s first ride of the evening will be on Starspangledbanner who hopes to put some lacklustre runs behind him in the Sprint. Only in one start this season has he showed any of his form of old and it will be an admirable training performance that puts him in the mix tonight. It is likely he will be beaten by a local contender such as the in form Bridgetown.

Beyond Joseph’s book of rides the Europeans will hope for success with raiders such as Aidan O’Brien’s George Vancouver,   Charlton’s Dundonnell and Noseda’s Fantastic Moon in the Juvenile Turf (6.50). Crockford likes Noseda’s colt and expects a better run from Fantastic Moon after his poor but unlucky run last time out at HQ in the Royal Lodge.

Game On Dude will be a popular winner of the richest race (the last on the card tonight) The Breeders Cup Classic. Unlucky last year he will hope to go one better.

Crockford’s Breeders Cup selections:

Juvenile Turf (6.50) – Fantastic Moon e/w

Fillies & Mares Sprint (7.35) – Groupie Doll

Sprint Turf (8.57) –  Bridgetown and Starspangledbanner e/w

Juvenile Dirt (9.36) – Shanghai Bobby

Breeders Cup Turf (10.18) – St Nicholas Abbey, Shareta e/w and Little Mike e/w

Sprint Dirt (10.58) – Amazombie

Mile Turf (11.40) – Excelebration 

Classic (12.35) – Game on Dude


(Featured photograph – Excelebration and Joseph O’Brien after their Champion’s Day win)