Updated on 11/05/2010 11:46AM

Euro Cup impact goes beyond Midday

Barbara D. Livingston
Red Desire should give Midday a stiff challenge in the Filly-Mare Turf.

Friday’s distaff-plus-Marathon Breeders’ Cup card gets off to a modest start with a largely meaningless Marathon at 1 3/4 miles on dirt, conditions that you will find in few places in the world outside of South America. This is a race that would benefit by a switch to turf, in which case some of Europe’s better stayers might express an interest.

On the other hand, there is the Filly and Mare Turf, a 1 3/8-mile event that should produce a rip-roaring battle between a pair of Europeans, defending titleholder Midday and the French-trained Plumania, and the dangerous Japanese raider Red Desire.

An analysis of the foreign invaders on Friday’s card follows.


Both runnings of this race have been won by European-trained horses. Muhannak (2008) and Man of Iron (2009) were better than either of this year’s European pair, as was last year’s third-place finisher, St. Leger winner Mastery.

Trained like Man of Iron by Aidan O’Brien, Bright Horizon improved to win the two-mile Irish Cesarewitch Handicap at 14-1. He will stay the distance but even this modest event might be a step up in class for him. He will also be making his dirt debut, as will Precision Break.

Precision Break’s trainer, Paul Cole, engineered Ibn Bey’s second-place finish to Unbridled in the 1990 Classic. Precision Break’s win in the 1 3/4-mile, 132-yard Mallard Handicap looks good but he is an inconsistent sort. The preference is for Alcomo, a Brazilian-bred who is fresh and in the best form of his far-flung career.

Juvenile Fillies Turf

All four European fillies should be considered in the exotics. Chief among them is the O’Brien-trained Together, a Galileo filly who was second to Britain’s best juvenile filly, White Moonstone, in the Group 1 Fillies Mile two back when she finished ahead of Juvenile Fillies hopeful Theyskens’ Theory. Since then Together was caught late and nipped for third in a valuable race restricted to fillies sold at the Tattersalls prestigious Millions yearling sale by Tale Untold, who also runs Friday.

Tale Untold is an improving daughter of Tale of the Cat trained by Richard Hannon, who has conditioned five different winners of eight juvenile group races this year. After this race she will be turned over to Robert Ribaudo.

It is always wise to consider half-siblings to juvenile stakes winner in races like these. Quiet Oasis is one. Trained by Brian Meehan for J. Paul Reddam, she is an Oasis Dream half sister to seven-furlong, Group 3 Prix La Rochette winner Young Pretender and is the lukewarm selection on Friday. Firm ground should be to her advantage against Together, who will be running for the eighth time this season.

Filly and Mare Turf

Midday is the defending champ from the Henry Cecil branch of the powerful Juddmonte stable. A daughter of the versatile stallion Oasis Dream, she has done nothing wrong this year, winning three Group 1’s between 10 and 12 furlongs. This 11 furlongs is more to her liking than the 10 over which she won this race last year at Santa Anita, yet she is no cinch.

Midday was just three-quarters of a length in front of Plumania last time in the Prix Vermeille. You can toss out Plumania’s dull effort in the Arc when she was stopped by very soft ground. But there is a third foreign invader who can trump them both.

Red Desire suffered an unfortunate trip when third in Belmont’s Flower Bowl. She was running off a 4 1/2-month layoff, so she will be fitter for this effort. Moreover, a line through her Japanese arch-rival Buena Vista suggests she is not too far behind Breeders’ Cup Turf favorite Workforce.

In four tries against Buena Vista, Red Desire has beaten her once and finished a nose, a half-length and a length behind her. Buena Vista was a half-length second two back to Nakayama Festa, who subsequently ran Workforce to a head in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

At her best, Red Desire is in the same league as Midday, and is the value pick of the day.

Juvenile Fillies

Theyskens’ Theory is the selection. By the hot first-year stallion Bernardini (the winner of the Preakness, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup), she is a half-sister to 2005 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Stevie Wonderboy, so she is bred for dirt on both sides. This is not the best crop of American 2-year-old fillies, so her third in Ascot’s Group 1 Fillies Mile is very much in the same league as the Frizette victory of A Z Warrior, who is also a daughter of Bernardini.