Breeders' Cup Friday Betting and Odds Focus: Wesley Ward fully loaded for Juvenile Turf Sprint

It's Future Stars Friday at the Breeders' Cup and Planet Sport has all the latest news, betting tips and odds as sprint king Wesley Ward primes his top speedsters.

This two-day, 14 race World Championships, starts with Future Stars Friday, featuring the best juvenile talent and then moves to Championship Saturday with nine races culminating in the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic.

Wesley Ward has a warm chance of Juvenile Sprint hat-trick

US sprint king Wesley Ward has a lethal hand going into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Del Mar.

The Washington-born handler claimed the Grade Two prize with Four Wheel Drive at Santa Anita in 2019, while Golden Pal struck gold on his home track of Keeneland 12 months ago.

Ward appears intent on adding to his tally in the first of this year's Breeders' Cup races, with the unbeaten Averly Jane joined by stablemates Twilight Gleaming and Kaufymaker.

The latter pair were both seen in action at Royal Ascot earlier in the year, with Twilight Gleaming filling the runner-up spot in the Queen Mary and Kaufymaker finishing down the field in the Coventry.

Ward said: "We're doing good and everything looks great.

"Averly Jane is going to be tough (to beat), but I like Twilight Gleaming too. She's in there with a really good chance as well and I think Kaufymaker is coming into it in good shape too.

"All three have good chances and they all deserve to be there."

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Cachet has a respectable chance in Juvenile Fillies Turf says Boughey

Excitement is building in the camp of Newmarket trainer George Boughey for Cachet's chances in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar.

Boughey started training only in 2019 but has already made a big impression and has shown he can compete at the highest level, with Mystery Angel finishing second in the Oaks at Epsom in June.

Cachet has shown she belongs in the top grade too, with excellent efforts on her last six starts since she made a winning debut at Newmarket in May.

She has held her form really well and was third to Inspiral in the Fillies' Mile back at Headquarters on her latest outing.

"She's shipped over well, and we're delighted to have her here. She's got rock-solid Group One form in England and has handled soft turf and fast turf. She comes here in good shape, and we couldn't be happier with her," said Boughey.

"Luis Saez rides - we're drawn three, so we've got a good post position, and she breaks well.

"She comes here with a really live chance, so it's very exciting."

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Tarnawa no wide girl in search of Turf glory

Dermot Weld's top class mare Tarnawa will have to navigate a wide draw at Del Mar to defend her Breeders' Cup Turf title.

Weld made no secret of the fact her whole season this year was aimed around trying to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - one of the few major races worldwide still to elude the master trainer.

Tarnawa's campaign did not begin until August when she won a Group Three easily, before a marginal defeat in a thrilling Irish Champion Stakes over a trip arguably short of her best.

It was then on to Paris, where Tarnawa put up a brave display on very testing ground, only to find German outsider Torquator Tasso three-quarters of a length too good.

The ground in California this weekend will be far removed from that which she raced on in Paris - a factor Weld has already flagged as a concern - and she also has to break from stall 13, meaning Ireland's champion jockey Colin Keane will have to be at his very best.

Weld said: "I'm very pleased with her. She travelled well and is training good. I couldn't be happier with her.

"Drawn 13 is very difficult. Of all the tracks in America, it's very difficult from this draw, but she's in super order and we'll take it as it comes."

Varian's Teona in tip-top shape for Breeders' Cup Turf

Prix Vermeille heroine Teona is exciting trainer Roger Varian as he bids to win his first Breeders' Cup race in the Turf.

It is 10 years since Nahrain came within three-quarters of a length of breaking the Newmarket trainer's duck when touched off in the Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs under Frankie Dettori.

Varian saddled another runner-up at the showpiece meeting in 2019, with Daahyeh finding only Sharing too strong in the Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita.

Teona will fly the flag for the team at Del Mar this weekend, having been kept fresh since inflicting a surprise defeat on Snowfall in the Prix Vermeille at ParisLongchamp in September.

Connections had the option of keeping the daughter of Sea The Stars against her own sex, but ultimately decided to let her take on the boys, and Dermot Weld's top-class mare Tarnawa, in the Turf.

"I came close with Nahrain in 2011 at Churchill Downs and love coming back out to California as I finished high school here," Varian said.

"We thought about the Filly & Mare for Teona and concluded they were both tough races.

"However, the Turf is a mile and a half and that's this filly's optimum trip.

"It gives her the better winning chance as the other option is solid in its own right."

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Appleby has high hopes for his Breeders' Cup boys in blue

Charlie Appleby is confident he has some Godolphin greats heading to Del Mar for Saturday's Breeders' Cup.

Master Of The Seas will run in the Breeders' Cup Mile, ridden by James Doyle, with William Buick partnering Space Blues, winner of the Prix de la Foret last time out.

Albahr, already a Grade One winner in Canada, runs in the Juvenile Turf on Friday, along with Modern Games, while Walton Street, winner of the Canadian International, and Yibir, who won the Jockey Club Derby at Belmont, both go in the Turf.

Appleby said: "In the Juvenile Turf Modern Games comes in off the back of a nice win in the Sommerville Stakes. He's got a nice draw and I think he's got the pace to travel well around here and he's probably going to be a worthy favourite. With the rub of the green he'll be hard to beat.

"Albahr was last seen winning at Woodbine and brings experience into the race, but he's similar to Line Of Duty (winner in 2018) in a fashion - he's earned his stripes to get here."

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On Saturday Appleby has four runners, two in each of the Mile and the Turf.

He said: "Master Of The Seas and Space Blues run in the Mile and I imagine Space Blues will be favourite, he's got a nice draw in three and the perfect profile coming into the race, winning the York Stakes and we saw him winning the Foret.

"A few people have questioned stepping up to a mile and on a sounder surface, but he won in Saudi on quick ground and he won in Deauville on quick ground, so the surface doesn't worry me. As regards the trip he broke his maiden over a mile."

"Master Of The Seas has had an interrupted season having finished second in the Guineas and we saw how good that Guineas was. He ran a lovely race in the Joel (Stakes) and we were really pleased with that run...

The race will suit him, they'll go a good, strong gallop on quick ground - hopefully he's got a target to aim for, he can get the splits and he'll run a big race."

He went on: "In the Turf we run Walton Street and Yibir, the young and the old!

"Walton Street has been around the block a few times, but he deserves to be here having won the Canadian International in good style. You couldn't fault him, and he had a lovely profile in Dubai last winter. 

"The young contender is Yibir who we gelded halfway through the season. After gelding him he went and won the Bahrain Trophy, but then we saw a little bit of the old Yibir at Goodwood, where he decided to be a bit keen and over-raced. We put the hood back on and he won the Great Voltgieur and followed that up with a great win in the Belmont Derby.

"He brings American experience to the table and is the youngster in amongst them, if he brings his A game he's got a big each-way shot."

O'Brien's Mother Earth to deliver a bold bid in Breeders' Cup Mile

Aidan O'Brien has reported his talented filly Mother Earth 'in great form' ahead of a tilt at Breeders' Cup Mile glory at Del Mar on Saturday.

The 1000 Guineas winner has not always enjoyed the best of luck this season - most notably in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.

But she has also claimed Group One honours in the Prix Rothschild and was far from disgraced against Baaeed and company when fifth in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day.

"Mother Earth has been unlucky and I thought her last run at Ascot could be her best as she clocked the final two furlongs better than any other horse's time in the race," the Ballydoyle trainer said.

"She can on the other hand be at the mercy of a slow pace sometimes, but though in an ideal world maybe a little lower (drawn) would have helped her, I still think she's not drawn badly (in stall nine). She travels well and quickens well and she's in great form."

Tarnawa handed wide stall + all the Breeders' Cup draw news

Reigning Breeders' Cup Turf champ Tarnawa has been handed a wide draw in stall 13 as she bids to retain her title at Del Mar on Saturday.

Dermot Weld's mare is seeking to defend the crown she won at Keeneland 12 months ago, and will again be ridden by Colin Keane.

Aidan O'Brien has two contenders in the shape of Japan and Broome, after electing to run Love in the Filly & Mare Turf.

Japan has been drawn in 14 under Ryan Moore, with Broome and Frankie Dettori in eight.

Further strong European representation comes in the shape of Roger Varian's Prix Vermeille heroine Teona, drawn in 12 and to be ridden by David Egan.

Charlie Appleby also has two chances - Yibir (William Buick) in 10 and Walton Street (James Doyle) in seven.

In the Filly & Mare Turf, Love has been handed stall six, with last year's winner Audarya widest of all in 12 as she seeks to repeat her famous victory for James Fanshawe, this time with Buick aboard.

Ocean Road is a runner for Hugo Palmer and Oisin Murphy in stall 10.

Appleby has Master Of The Seas (Doyle, stall one) and Space Blues (Buick, stall three) in the Mile, where Mother Earth is in nine for O'Brien and Moore. Pearls Galore is in 12 for Paddy Twomey and Billy Lee.

In the Classic, Knicks Go is in stall five and his Brad Cox-trained stablemate Essential Quality is on his inside in four. Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit has stall eight.

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Quick Suzy to miss Breeders' Cup with temperature

Quick Suzy is a late absentee from the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Gavin Cromwell's Royal Ascot winner has a temperature following her transatlantic trip from Ireland to California for her intended engagement at Del Mar on Friday.

She will not therefore take part, her owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners have announced via Twitter, and will remain in the care of California trainer Paddy Gallagher.

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Quick Suzy won the Queen Mary Stakes on her fourth career start, having already scored in a Curragh maiden in May.

She has run just once more since the Royal meeting - when down the field in the Group One Prix Morny at Deauville in August.

Breeders' Cup Classic Betting

The Brad Cox trained pair of Knicks Go and Essential Quality head the betting for the premier race of the World Championships at Del Mar.

Knicks Go prevailed last year in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and the five-year-old grey is a hot prospect for the Cox team who tied the record for most Breeders' Cup wins with four victories last year.

Essential Quality represents the power of the Godolphin Operation and is in suitably lethal form, winning the Belmont Stakes in June and following up with the Travers Stakes in August.

On asssessing the chances of the older Knicks Go versus his younger stablemate Essential Quality, Cox said

"I think in this case (age) is a non factor - I think it's a very good crop of three-year-olds. Essential Quality has really developed physically, he seems to be developing physically all the time.

"I'm not saying he has completely finished developing - he is three, but he's off to stud after the Breeders' Cup. He looks tremendous and is doing well, and I have to say right now they are pretty much on a par.

"Both horses have had a great year and are doing really, really well. We're excited about putting them on the plane on Monday and hopefully we can add to their resumé on Breeders' Cup Saturday."

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The controversial Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit is not without a chance, with all-time leading Breeders' Cup trainer Bob Baffert currently trying to fend off legal fights over drugs charges involving some of his horses.

Medina Spirit tested positive for the corticosteroid betamethasone after the Kentucky Derby win but Baffert is allowed to enter horses into the Breeders' Cup with strict testing conditions.

Firm ground a concern for Tarnawa's Breeders' Cup Turf defence

Reigning Breeders Cup Turf Queen Tarnawa is "all set to go" but trainer Dermot Weld has some concerns over the firmness of the surface at Del Mar with the California track currently basking in warm sunshine.

The Aga Khan-owned mare produced a brilliant performance under Colin Keane to win the Longines-sponsored Turf at Keeneland last year, but her trainer feels the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runner-up would appreciate at least some ease in the ground in California - something that might not be forthcoming.

Weld - who confirmed Keane would be reunited with the daughter of Shamardal - said: "She's a very brave filly, she's very tough and genuine. She gives 110 per cent every time she runs. So obviously she came back from Paris and was tired for a week.

"I let her have a nice easy time and freshened her up. I took my time getting her back and I'm very happy with her work over the past week. I think she's come right back, her weight is good, her blood picture is good and she's all set to go.

"The main concern I have will be the ground, I appreciate that she handled what we would call good to firm ground in Kentucky, but they had rain you must remember earlier that week. I actually thought the turf track from what I heard and the reports I got was that is was just really nice ground, just on the quick side of good is what we would have called it.

"I'm well aware what we face is going to be a lot quicker and it is a concern - our good to firm or firm ground, I don't think that is quite as firm as what I expect to find in Del Mar to be quite honest."

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