Most punters focus will no doubt be on the Festival Trials day at Cheltenham on Saturday though not to be outdone Doncaster does host the Sky Bet Chase. My focus is once again on the All-Weather racing here in the UK and the racing out in the U.S.A.
Prize-money here at Chelmsford City and Lingfield Park is dwarfed by the colossal, huge, gigantic almost obscene purse up for grabs at Gulfstream Park in Florida, where the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes is being held; due off at 10.36pm our time.
The big race is worth a cool $9 million, $4 million for the winner, while the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational earlier on the card at 9.57pm our time has an overall pot of $7 million, $3 million first-place prize. Neither pots are to be sneezed at!
The Pegasus and all its fanfare attracts star names equine and human alike and I believe Snoop Dogg, American rapper, singer, record producer, television personality, entrepreneur, and actor headlines the entertainment. Hopefully, the smoke from his particular brand of exotic tobacco won’t waft to near the Parade Ring!
As for the race the Pegasus World Cup market is headed by the Breeders Cup Classic winner Accelerate at around 6-4 with Breeders Cup Dirt Mile winner City Of Light second favourite. The Pegasus is of course on the Dirt track and over 1m1f. The one time the two market leaders faced off over that trip in the G.2 Oaklawn Handicap last year City Of Light came out on top by a neck. I took a bit of the 11-4 that was about on Thursday about him getting the job done and snaffling that ridiculously large prize that’s up for grabs.
The Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational is over 1m1½f and this looks a pretty open affair. Magic Wand goes for the lads from Ballydoyle and gets the filly allowance; she does though tend to run well without winning and is available at around 6’s for a reason. Yoshida is the jolly at 3-1, a name you might recognise from the five-year-olds appearance at Royal Ascot last year in the G1 Queen Anne Stakes where he finished fifth; I am not convinced about him on his return to turf, last two runs on dirt and will be taking him on. Catapult couldn’t hold off the late surge of Expert Eye in the Breeders' Cup Mile and I would argue that is the best form on show in many ways. In fact, the six-year-old brings arguably the most solid form to the table and though the trip is a bit of a question mark, generally sticks to the eight furlongs, I took the 4-1 on Thursday about the John Sadler trained horse as I think he can get the job done over this slightly longer trip.
Earlier in the day here in good old Blightly some old stalwart’s line-up for the one-mile Sun Racing No1 Racing Site Handicap at 3.40 down at Lingfield. My Target has gone around this track seventeen times before in forty-eight career runs and as good as he once was he looks up against it in this. The one I like is a relative novice in comparison in the shape of lightly raced four-year-old gelding Key Player. The chestnut has made only seven starts so far, three of them here, where he has a record of a second over seven furlongs and a second plus a win over this track and trip to his name. Three winners came out of that C&D win in April last year one being Ostilio the colt that went on to win the G.2 Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein giving the form a very solid look. Excuses in two subsequent runs when he didn't quite get home over 1m1½f furlongs when 2nd at Ripon and raced wide when fading out of it over a mile at Haydock. There is a chance he should have more to offer yet and I think might leave this mark of 86 a long way behind over the winter. My advice is grab the best price you can when they chalk-up.