European Analysis – Steven Bonnick

A big thank you to Steven Bonnick for his detailed analysis of every European shipper.

Paraphrasing from Steven’s rating system, the numbers represent a Likert scale – 1 (no chance) to 5 (strongest endorsement)

Juvenile Turf Sprint


Lipizzaner – 2.5* – Uncle Mo colt trained by Aidan O’Brien. Relatively exposed after 7 runs but he appears to be making progress still. Finish fourth in Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot having been touched off by subsequent Group 1 winner Lucky Vega when odds-on for Naas maiden in which Battleground also ran, so that looks a hot race. Missed a couple of months during the season as is often his trainer’s way and broke maiden over 5f on return before struggling next time in Group 1 company in hot-looking Middle Park Stakes. He has raced on bad ground last two, running a good second in Irish Group 3 (form untested) before winning a Listed contest at Doncaster on 24th October on heavy ground with a good trip. That form is probably not that exciting and he looks a grinder as you’d expect from dirt breeding on sire side, so you have to wonder if this track and trip might be sharp enough in good company. He’s going the right way, though, has top connections and would be a contender if going is bad.

Ubettabelieveit – 2.5* – Kodiac colt trained by Nigel Tinkler. Tinkler is a shrewd Northern trainer, more used to seeing his horses winning around Beverley and Ripon – relatively minor British tracks, think Finger Lakes – so quite a step up here. This horse is progressive. He caught the eye on sectional times at Doncaster and confirmed that promise with a Listed win at Sandown. Bombed in Group company in the Gimcrack but showed true worth last time in The Flying Childers when mowing down favourite late on; that is decent form but not spectacular. Not seen since then (early September) and his some from behind style means he will need some luck, although decent ground would be a positive and I like his post. His jockey is very inexperienced at this level and I think it’s very likely this will be his first Grade or Group 1 ride.

Mighty Gurkha – 2* – Sepoy colt trained by Archie Watson. Two synthetic wins to his name but has some solid turf form. He was fifth in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot and second behind Method in Listed race at Newbury. Disappointing run last time in a Sales (usually equivalent to a minor Stakes race) race at Newmarket when favourite but had plenty of excuses. Only run to 100 at his best on turf according to Timeform ratings and looks to have a bit to find with few obvious angles, although best synthetic form, a Group 3 win at Kempton, would give him a shot. He is quirky and has shown some temperament in the past but is quick and has landed stall 1.

Juvenile Turf


Battleground – 4* -War Front colt trained by Aidan O’Brien. Considered his trainer’s leading juvenile after wins in the Chesham Stakes and Vintage Stakes; was Guineas and Derby favourite off the back of these. He was coughing on day of the race when favourite for the National Stakes and not been seen since. Could be anything still and has massive untapped potential given his dam won BC Turf at this track. There’s not actually much to say really for one so prominent in the betting; he looks to have a lot of ability but it’s hard to know where he’ll be now. He probably has less knocks than a typical O’Brien runner in this spot who is normally a bit more exposed and a bit lower down the pecking order. Trainer has been pretty effusive about his suitability for the track in recent weeks. It should be noted that his form has worked out very badly. Next three home between them have won a single Novice race (similar to a Starter Allowance) at odds of 2/9 and the runner up at Goodwood lost his next four runs. Battleground was different class in these races but hasn’t beaten anything of note yet.

Cadillac – 4* – Lope De Vega colt trained by Jessica Harrington. Has a big engine on him – no, really – winning by 9 lengths on debut and only touched off by Mac Swiney on soft ground in a Curragh Group 2 next time, with that winner going on to win Group 1 Vertem Futurity this Saturday; a strong strong effort particularly as he was off a 50 day break. Back to good ground and thrashed a very good horse of O’Brien’s called Van Gogh who has since gone onto run well in the Autumn Stakes and win a Group 1 in France by 4 lengths. Most recently finished fifth in strong-looking Dewhurst where I don’t think track and ground would have really suited him; he had no gap at a key point but kept on nicely up the hill. That was good form and he looks tailor-made for the American style of racing, so should be hard to stop on decent going. Fair berth in stall 5.

Devilwala – 2.5 – Kodiac colt trained by Ralph Beckett. Won on debut for Archie Watson and ran a blinder second up in the Gimcrack when runner up to Minzaal who was third in Group 1 Middle Park next time out. Disappointing next time in the Mill Reef but changed yards subsequently and ran a screamer in the Dewhurst from the front when 100/1. Probably went a bit quickly on pure splits there so that looks a sound effort. He was in front of Cadillac there and had rail and tailwind to help but was rallying well at the line and that didn’t appear to be a fluke despite his odds. Hard to weigh up as never run around a bend before but on strict form would have to have a chance, although draw has not been kind.

New Mandate – 4* – New Bay gelding trained by Ralph Beckett. Second runner for the yard who also field Devilwala. Highly progressive type. Beaten on his first two starts but landed a handicap off 81 next time and hasn’t looked back since. Won a Listed race at Doncaster despite pulling hard off a strong pace, with third winning a Group 3 since and the speed figure was decent there. Up to a Group 2 next time and he was strong in market. The pace was slow and he was again keen, but when pulled out wide he quickened up really well to beat two solid yardsticks and he probably wasn’t doing a lot in front. Will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, who recommended him to his owner. Lots to like about him and well drawn: who knows where his ceiling is?

The Lir Jet – 1.5* – Prince Of Lir colt trained by Michael Bell. Sold to Qatar Racing after breaking juvenile course record when winning on his debut at Yarmouth. Followed up second time out when reeling in Wesley Ward’s quickster Golden Pal over the minimum trip at Royal Ascot in the Norfolk Stakes. Hasn’t really kicked on from there; beaten at odds-on in the Prix Robert Papin but ran well enough in a Group 1 at the Curragh when second to Lucky Vega. Big price when fifth of eight in the Middle Park, no real impression at any stage. Kept on at one pace but not sure he’s crying out for a mile and has the worst of the draw.

Sealiway – 3.5* – Galiway colt trained by Frederic Rossi. Had made steady progress this season despite a couple of bumps in the road – defeats at Listed and Group 3 level – but exploded onto the Classic scene with a romp on terrible ground in the seven furlong Group 1 Jean-Luc Lagadere last time out, thrashing Nando Parrado by 8 lengths. I’m not sure that opponent ran to form but the speed figure was what really caught the eye there. His effort was easily the fastest of four races over the distance and he ran faster than One Master, who runs in the Mile, despite his age and carrying more weight. Has landed a lovely draw but has to be a massive question mark over whether he will be as good on decent ground.

Go Athletico – 3* – has improved with every run, culminating in a second placed effort in the Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte on ground that may have been a bit deep for him. He has beaten Sealiway twice and should prove competitive at this level. Quite a difficult one to way up but doesn’t have the best of draws and probably needs a little improvement for the trip, although that’s possible.

Juvenile Fillies Turf


Miss Amulet – 4* – Sir Prancelot filly trained by Kevin Condon. Rags to riches story for this cheap purchase. She’s had seven runs but has got better with every start. Took three runs to break her maiden but has since scored twice at Pattern level, winning a Listed race in Ireland and then winning the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York. A best effort last time in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes when just touched off by enterprisingly ridden winner. Broke like a bullet from a gun that day but was reigned back to sit just off pace, ceding her advantage, and she would surely have won if allowed to stride on. Dam won over a mile but Miss Amulet yet to race beyond six furlongs although runs as though she will stay, is well-drawn and Leparoux looks a very shrewd booking.

Mother Earth –  3.5* – Zoffany filly trained by Aidan O’Brien. Beaten on debut but third at Royal Ascot in Albany Stakes and looked a top notcher when winning a Group 3 at Naas by four lengths. Two consecutive thirds at Group 2 level at The Curragh but the wheels came off next time when beaten when front-running in the Moyglare. Much better last time in the Fillies Mile when ridden from behind in race where trainer got the saddle cloths mixed up, staying on into third but well beaten. A mile looks her thing now and some of her earlier form behind Pretty Gorgeous isn’t far off but she doesn’t really excite and is probably vulnerable to an above-average US filly.

Nazuna – 3*  Kodiac filly trained by Roger Varian. Progressive filly, beaten in a handicap off 80 but improved on that when second in the Group 2 Rockfell when giving front-runner too much rope on a pace-biased track. Front two pulled well clear – third well beaten since 0 and she has improved with every run so far. Yet to go beyond 7f but look as though a mile will suit (stoutly bred on dam side) and looks a handy type who will go well around the track. Bit to find on form but likeable and could go well.

Oodnadatta – 4*  Australia filly trained by Jessica Harrington. Three runs so far. Stylish win on debut and upped to Group 3 company on second start but ended up too far back having got upset in the stalls. Much better last time in the Moyglare when third to Shale and Pretty Gorgeous who look the best two Irish fillies. She was on the wide outside there with no cover but ran on well into third. Raced in midpack there but made all on debut and is bred to stay very well so could be much more to come if more prominently ridden. Low draw will be perfect to carry that off and she could have plenty more to come still.

Snowfall – 1* – Deep Impact filly trained by Aidan O’ Brien. Reserve with only a maiden win to her name and not cut much ice in Group races last four starts, including when well held in Group 1 races last twice.

Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint


Glass Slippers – 3.5 – Dream Ahead filly trained by Kevin Ryan. Smart filly who comes alive in the Autumn. A winner of two Group 1 races at the minimum trip and only just touched off in the l’Abbaye most recently when drawn poorly. She had won the Group 1 Flying Five prior to that and seems to handle most going, although is probably better with a bit of give. Was second to Battaash in the King George Stakes at Goodwood and that form would give her every chance. Done most of her winning on straight tracks but has won around Chester – a VERY sharp track – so these bends should be no issue.  Consistent, tough, likeable filly but horse that beat her last time was beaten in a Group 3 prior to is vulnerable to something with a bit of class.

Equilateral  – 2* – Equiano gelding trainer by Charlie Hills. Typical sprinter, shows up and usually runs between 2nd and 6th but rarely wins. He chased stablemate Battaash home at Royal Ascot in the King’s Stand which probably wouldn’t be far off the required level here but has been beaten in Listed race at York since and in a Group 3 at Newbury last time out. He was a couple of lengths behind Glass Slippers in the Flying Five but has run well overseas before so shipping long-distance is not a concern. He has the profile of a horse who will benefit from Lasix and if he gets in her could hit the board, but he does find winning hard.

Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf


Audarya – 3* – Wootton Bassett filly trained by James Fanshawe. Good filly who has made big strides this year since stepped up to 10f, having graduated from all-weather handicaps to land the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet on her penultimate start. Followed that up with a great run when assisted by a good trip on Arc day when third in the Prix de l’Opera when a bit too keen and only beaten by two very good distaffers. Those runs were on bad ground but she is fine on good and keeps improving. Slightly shorter trip shouldn’t be a problem but draw might be, as she will need pace to run at and luck.

Cayenne Pepper –  4* -Australia filly trained by Jessica Harrington. Smart juvenile who has trained on nicely. No chance with Magical on seasonal debut given the flow but subsequently ran second in Irish Oaks over a trip that is a little far. Same distance next time behind the outstanding Tarnawa when again probably stretched by the distance and she made no mistake in the Blandford Stakes last time over ten furlongs when her main market rival bombed. Had run of the race there but was really impressive and the runner up has gone on to win Listed race since. Cayenne Pepper was strong at the line there but this slightly shorter trip should be fine. Still unexposed at this sort of trip and clearly got plenty of ability and nothing of the quality of Magical or Tarnawa in this, although the draw is a bit of a nightmare.

Peaceful  – 4* – Galileo filly trained by Aidan O’Brien. Good form as a juvenile but stepped up massively on that on seasonal debut when running away with Irish 1000 Guineas, beating Fancy Blue, who has franked the form in the Nassau and in the Prix De Diane. Peaceful finished 3rd in the latter but ran a blinder again and was only beaten a neck with Alpine Star (2nd to Tarnawa in l’Opera) just in front and Raabihah (looked a bit unlucky in the Arc) just behind. That’s top class form. Had a mid-season break but returned with a fine run at Group 1 level in the Matron Stakes, staying on well despite looking a bit rusty. She was tailed off next time in the Sun Chariot but that was on heavy ground and the surface looks a valid excuse. She will be much better suited by good ground and this trip should be perfect, so she should run well, given that she ticks a lot of boxes. Has a lovely draw in post 3.

Terebellum  – 2.5* – Sea The Stars filly trained by John Gosden. Lightly-raced for her age but rarely runs a bad race. Only just beaten by Circus Maximus on his big day at Royal Ascot and not beaten far by Nazeef in the Falmouth having travelled best of all, although she had run of the race there. Finished behind the same rival off a lay-off in the Sun Chariot last time having again travelled well and probably needed the run there if she was prepping for this. Has won over 10f but is a keen sort and slight drop back should suit her well. She has a bit to prove now but has the ability to figure if back to her best.



Circus Maximus  – 1.5* – Galileo colt trained by Aidan O’Brien. Tough sort who was fourth in the Mile last season. Won the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot on seasonal debut and was subsequently second in the Sussex Stakes when he had the run of race from the front and avoided all the trouble. Solid third in the Jacques Le Marois but disappointing since in the Prix Du Moulin when a well held third and no show on bad ground on Champions Day last time. Not sure what form he is in now and would be disappointing if he is good enough to land this.

Kameko – 3.5* – Kitten’s Joy colt trained by Andrew Balding. English 2000 Guineas winner. Not had a lot go his way this year; he had poor trips in the Sussex and the Derby (didn’t stay) but shaped better in the Juddmonte International and it was much more like it last time in the Joel Stakes back at the scene of his Guineas triumph, giving weight and a beating to some very solid rivals. Leading form chance here, obviously has a lot of ability but does hit a flat spot and more of a grinding type, not sure that the nature of this race or the track will fully suit him, but should go well from a good draw.

One Master – 3.5* – Fastnet Rock mare trained by William Haggas. Her sex have a great record in the race and she won the Prix de la Foret for third time on her most recent start and showed her wellbeing last time with a staying on third over inadequate six furlongs in Champions Sprint, although she had a hard race there. She hasn’t run over a mile since her 4th in Falmouth in July and she was a bit free there off a slow pace, although wasn’t stopping at the finish and was only beaten a neck in the same race last season. Looks like she’ll handle a sharp mile even though she’s yet to win over the distance and ability-wise has every chance with the fillies’ allowance, but the ground looks like it is very much going against her.

Safe Voyage – 3* – Fast Company gelding trained by John Quinn. Started out winning at lowly Thirsk off a mark of 67, now rated a peak 116, up 3lb from last year. Hugely likeable, tough and consistent horse who loves soft ground. He broke through at a mile on his penultimate start in the Group 2 Boomerang Mile and he probably needs that distance now at the highest level. Ran a great race last time behind One Master, but was outpaced at a key stage, keeping on well thereafter and looking ready for return to 8 furlongs. Handy sort who should be up with the pace and has a formidable record going left-handed around a bend. He should be well suited by the  American style of racing but would need some rain to be really dangerous.

Siskin – 4* – First Defence colt trained by Ger Lyons. Unbeaten juvenile and looked special when storming clear of Irish 2000 Guineas field on his seasonal debut. Didn’t have much luck in the Sussex Stakes but found less than looked likely when extricated from behind horses, unable to match the turn of foot of very talented winner Mohaather. He was pretty disappointing last time behind Persian King and Pinatubo, who are good horses but were well clear, and eventually finished fourth with Circus Maximus in third. He got worked up before the start there and had been withdrawn from the Dewhurst last year when refusing to enter the stalls so obviously got some issues with temperament. Should be suited by American racing and while Guineas win has not worked out he leaves the impression he is still capable of big things when everything clicks. Decent ground is ideal for him, stall 4 looks perfect and Colin Keane, his jockey, is very talented. Another who looks like they’ll benefit from Lasix and has a big chance if putting it all together.

Lope Y Fernandez  – 2* – promising juvenile campaign and fine seasonal debut in Irish 2000 Guineas behind Siskin. Run some fine races since over 6f and 7f and wasn’t beaten far by Pintaubo and Space Blues, both top notchers, while he also ran well in Betfair Sprint Cup and the Champions Sprint on ground that was probably too soft. Good ground would be ideal and some of his best form would give him place claims. Turning mile should be within his compass on breeding and it wouldn’t be the biggest shock ever if he was able to hit the board.

Order of Australia (IRE) – 1* – Australia colt trained by Aidan O’Brien. A couple of fair runs at the top level in the Irish Derby and French Derby and has two minor wins in conditions races to his name since, the most recent of which was over twelve furlongs. Unlikely to get in here and hard to imagine he will be anywhere near good or fast enough.



Lord North (IRE) – 2.5* – Dubawi gelding trained by John Gosden. He looked a top class performer when running away with the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes three runs back and didn’t run at all badly in the Juddmonte International when losing a shoe in the race behind two very good horses, Magical and Ghaiyyath. Last on most recent start in the British Champion Stakes but made a bit of a move and probably didn’t handle the ground there. Should do better back on decent going and come on for that but he isn’t bred to go this far and hard to recommend as a bet in this spot off the back of a last placed finished.

Magical (IRE) – 4* – Galileo mare trained by Aidan O’Brien. Wonderful mare who was second in the Turf behind Enable in 2018 and missed the meeting last year. Looked sure to be retired after that but given another year and has rewarded connections with three Group 1 wins, peaking in the Irish Champion when defeating the great Ghaiyyath over 10 furlongs. Ran a fine race over the same trip in the British Champion Stakes last time but looked like she would enjoy going back over 12f on decent going there. The ground was probably a bit on the soft side for her there and 12 furlongs on good should be perfect really. Hard to knock what she’s beaten this year – including Cayenne Pepper, Sir Dragonet (won the Cox Plate), Ghaiyyath and Search For A Song (won Irish St Leger) – and will once again take a good one to beat her here. Second in the Turf to Enable in 2018 probably the single stand-out piece of form, for all it was a while ago.

Mogul (GB) – 4.5* – Galileo colt trained by Aidan O’Brien. Promised much this year after a strong juvenile season and while he was initially disappointing he now looks to have hit his best stride. Having won the Gordon Stakes he proved to be a little flat in the Voltigeur on his penultimate start. However, he produced a massive career best on his latest run when thrashing the Arc runner up In Swoop in the Grand Prix de Paris having tanked around and quickened in the style of a very smart performer. Missed the Arc due to an issue with contaminated feed, so it’s slightly concerning that O’Brien describes him as a horse that “takes plenty of racing to keep him right” and he has basically missed a prep. His best form and wins this year have also both been right-handed. Not much to find on Magical if repeating that last run and probably more suited to the demands of the race than that rival.

Tarnawa (IRE) – 5* – Shamardal filly trained by Dermot Weld. Some solid efforts last year but has taken form to another level this season, her three wins all characterised by a devastating turn of foot. Thrashed Cayenne Pepper against the flow on seasonal debut despite giving her a headstart and then proved far too quick for the very talented Raabihah in the Vermeille. A slow pace, soft ground and drop in trip should have prevented her winning the l’Opera last time, but once again showed a tremendous change of pace to win and reel in a very, very good horse (Alpine Star) who has some excellent form to her name. Her turn of foot is a massive weapon over this distance and all ground seems to come alike to her. Has to improve on ratings to beat Mogul and Magical but every reason to think she is up to their class based on the ability she has shown on her last two starts. Her last five wins have come right-handed, but she hasn’t had any chances to run this way around since her apparent improvement. Well drawn and will take some stopping.

Mehdaayih (GB) – 2.5* – Frankel filly trained by John Gosden. Peak effort in last year’s Nassau when she looked a winner but run down by Deidre late on. Only had two runs this season; beat one home in Prince of Wales’s Stakes but was against top colts there and ran better than it looked, showing up well for a long way. Off four months, she returned in the Fillies & Mares Stake on Champions Day and ran very well, held up, made a big move out wide into second until fitness and stamina gave way. This probably wasn’t a strong renewal but this was a big run and should step forward for it. She will enjoy better ground and could run well here at a big price, although has stamina to prove over this trip.

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