15 Things We Learned From Nick Luck

  1. The truncated European season is “unlikely to make any difference” to the prospects of European runners

Nick correctly points out that most of those shipping will have been in full training since May, which is fairly typical for those aiming to peak in the Fall months anyway. And who’s to say whether there’s a correlation between relative freshness and Breeders’ Cup performance – after all, Iridessa landed the F&M Turf last year on her eighth start of the season.

  1. Mighty Gurkha “is quite an interesting horse” in the Juvenile Turf Sprint.

While not particularly fond of Lipizzaner, Nick was fairly upbeat about the prospects Ubettabelieveit and, at a bigger price, Mighty Gurkha, who will be ridden by British sensation Hollie Doyle on what will be her first Breeders’ Cup ride. With the caveat that he is far from straightforward, Nick felt that if they could get the horse right mentally and he could get a good jump from the stalls he could well outrun his odds, with form round a bend and some solid formlines to his name.

  1. Battleground is a “serious contender on pedigree, potential and physique” but “shouldn’t be favourite” for the Juvenile Turf.

For all Battleground brought plenty of potential into the race, Nick felt he hadn’t quite shown enough on the form book to be the market leader in what is shaping up to be a very competitive affair. However, Nick was very keen on New Mandate, who he felt was the type of horse who could win the Juvenile Turf, provided that he was able to settle early, although admitted that this was potentially a boom or bust bet. Nick suggested that The Lir Jet might run well at a price, with the extra distance sure to suit, but wasn’t convinced that Sealiway would replicate his latest run on better going.

  1. Oodnadatta is “interesting” and “one to use underneath” in the Juvenile Fillies

Although Nick felt that Aunt Pearl was going to be difficult to beat, he was positive on the chances of the Jessica Harrington-trained Oodnadatta, who he felt would improve at the distance. He considers her to be a better horse than Mother Earth and the other European candidates, so is an interesting one to use in the exotics.

  1. Equilateral “could be helped by Lasix” in the Turf Sprint

While not guaranteed to get a run, Nick believed that Equilateral might be the type of horse to improve with Lasix. As he described it, there’s “a hole in him somewhere” that medication might be able to assist with and if that can cure what ails him he has “bags of talent” and would be a very interesting runner.

  1. Aurdarya and Cayenne Pepper are “the two fillies moving forward at the right time” in the F&M Turf

With Nick not especially effusive about the form of Peaceful, he felt that the progressive pair of Aurdarya and Cayenne Pepper might be the ones to side with from the European contingent. The former didn’t get enough pace to run at in the Prix de l’Opera but with more speed signed on here she may settle better than she has in the past and finish more strongly as a result. He also felt that Cayenne Pepper had had a lovely prep for the Filly & Mare Turf, being kept away from bad ground and was really impressive in the Blandford Stakes on her most recent run.

  1. Kameko might not be “tactically agile” enough for the Breeders’ Cup Mile

With all his best form coming on testing, straight tracks and off strong paces, Nick was concerned that Kameko didn’t have enough of a class edge to win if he didn’t handle the track as well as Newmarket, where he has won his last two races. This big, galloping horse would have a chance if he can get out of trouble, get prominent and get a perfect trip, but there are plenty of “ifs” there for one that is likely to be at the top of the market.

  1. Siskin “is the really interesting European runner” in the Mile this year

Nick felt that this horse’s best asset was his “wicked turn of speed”, was well matched with Kameko on their Sussex Stakes form and was more suited to the demand of the Mile than that rival. Decent going seems like a prerequisite for this horse and he hasn’t really had a chance to really show his best since his impressive win in the Irish 2000 Guineas. Soft ground would probably blunt his speed, but would be perfect for…

  1. Safe Voyage “is not a no-hoper” and has a superb record left-handed around a bend

While Nick lamented a stroke of misfortune that saw Safe Voyage lose his rider when carrying his money in 2016, he was quick to note that since that race his record around a left-handed bend was as follows: 1,1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1. The only defeat in this sequence came on Safe Voyage’s seasonal debut when up against the top class Space Blues, who has since gone on to win his next three races, including the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Group 1 level. A soft surface will be perfect although he was behind One Master last time but Nick felt that filly had had a hard race since and wasn’t quite at her best at a mile.

  1. American jockeys not riding Europeans at the Breeders’ Cup “makes no sense”

Nick made a passionate case for the use of American jockeys over European ones on tracks that they will likely have ridden around hundreds if not thousands of times in their career. Whilst acknowledging the idea that a European jockey would likely know more about the individual horse, Nick believed that the greater knowledge of America tracks and the American style of racing was an edge that was being squandered by almost all European trainers.

  1. Lope Y Fernandez is “half-interesting” in the Mile

Given his form with Pinatubo, who Nick felt would be just about odds-on for the Mile, it was argued that Lope Y Fernandez could go be an overlay. The similarities with Lancaster Bomber – who was pretty exposed but ran a fine second in the Mile in 2017 – were noted by Nick and he felt that moving back up to eight furlongs would suit this horse well have largely been campaigned over sprint trips this season.

  1. Tarnawa is a “massive player” in the Turf

Nick felt that if you scratched below the surface in this year’s Turf the race was not as strong as it appeared at first glance and that Tarnawa was the filly that was moving forward and was “the most compelling of the European horses as a betting prospect”. He wasn’t concerned about a lack of top class form at left-handed tracks, felt that the Vermeille form was very solid and that Tarnawa was his idea of the winner of this year’s Turf.

  1. Mogul looks the part but “is a bit of a curate’s egg”

Although Nick felt Mogul looked good in the Grand Prix de Paris last time out, he wasn’t entirely convinced just yet that Mogul was the real deal. He is a beautiful looking horse and cost a lot of money, but has yet to race outside of his age group and didn’t really make much appeal as a betting prospect, although he slightly preferred him to Magical in the Turf.

  1. Magical is a “genuine top notcher” but has something to prove in the Turf

While having the best form and being “the one they all have to beat”, it was Nick’s view that Magical had a pretty unpleasant experience at Royal Ascot and he still wasn’t entirely sure what her best trip or going were. Her Irish Champion form with Ghaiyyath does look like the best in the field but it’s tricky to know quite what Magical will turn up here and Nick was interested to see whether Ryan Moore would pick her or Mogul.

  1. The Juvenile Turf is the race where European runners have the best chance and Nick would be “very disappointed” if one of the raiders did not win it.

With the likes of New Mandate, Sealiway, Battleground and Cadillac, amongst others, the Europeans do look to have a very strong hand in the Juvenile Turf, particularly as the home team looks very weak this year. Nick also felt that the European runners “ought to win the Turf” but faced a difficult task against the Chad Brown battalions in the Filly & Mare Turf.

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Further reading

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