The JC Gold Cup – Grade I (P7) [BC]
BEL Race #9 1 1/4m Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $750.000 For Three Year Olds And Upward.
1 Niner Forty Niner, trained by serenity Stables
After a third in the SA Derby, a fourth in the KYD and a second in The Preakness it was no surprise that this colt went off the boil in his next two and prompted his trainer to give him a rest. Off the track since July when he was a tired looking eighth in the Dandy he will come into this race fresh and his trainer will be hoping for a good show on his way to challenge for the BC. It is difficult to fault his form prior to The Dandy but it is also difficult for three year olds to come back when they have shown signs of deterioration and whilst i dont think he is finished i also dont think he has improved enough for the rest to be a winning chance here. Having said all that a win wouldnt surprise and the draw should help him settle nicely so i am by no means confident in my assessment.
2 Jake The Snake, trained by Mb Stables
The Mb Stables runners are nicely grouped in great draws so i dont think any of them will be used as a rabbit so we can judge each one on its merits. This winner of six from nine is clearly noy a first stringer but his works and form are good enough to give him a chance in this tough field. A gutsy winner of the OK Derby last time he is certainly under tested and unexposed and whilst i am not sure he can win today the three year old weight allowance will put him in the race.
3 The Right Stuff, trained by Mb Stables
Ran a decent race in the Belmont when fifth from a difficult draw, he then disappointed in the Dandy but then ran well last time out in the Jerkens Memorial. A very strong worker he hasnt really delivered that promise on the track and looks a little like a quitter at times. With his high cruising speed he will be at the sharp end but i dont think he got enough of the hidden heart gene to win this.
4 Rajivs Roadblock, trained by Night Rider Stables
He was going along very nicely until he started to take on the three year olds and hasnt looked so good in his last two. A dual graded stakes winner he will need things to go his way to get into this race and whilst he is a solid older horse i dont think he has the star quality to beat the best of this field.
5 Crop Duster, trained by Mb Stables
Bought for a rather expensive looking $600.000 after a defeat in the Longacres Mile there is no doubt he has ability its just whether he has enough. He didnt run badly in the Woodward last time staying on for fifth just a couple fo lengths behind the winner so you certainly cant say he is not good enough to win this but without a first choice jockey and against some of the best dirt routers in the game he will have something to prove today.
6 Devil Water, trained by Mm Racing
This may be a bit left field but this would be my long odds choice if i was going to try and find long priced winner. Bumbling around in overnights he hasnt exactly set the world alight but he ran well for a long way in the pacific Classic and is definitely improving. He worked a strong mile recently and wont be as bad as his odds suggest.
7 Port On The Horizon, trained by D J C Racing Stables
A tough old fella he is a crowd favourite and is still managing to mix it up with the best as he has proved again this season. The only problem is his win percentage because even though its obvious he has the class gene he more often than not finds others too fast at the end of his races. So where do we place him? Well a top four finish would be an amazing achievement and its not beyond the realm of possibility but a win may be beyond him.
8 West Northwest, trained by Blushing Meadows
This grand seven year old was bought pretty cheaply and has proved that he can still mix it at the top level. A dead heat, eleven lengths clear of the field in the Alysheba looked ridiculous form but the slushy ground can have a wierd effect on the race here at HRP and you have to question that 105 speed rating. However if that was his only win we could easily dismiss it as an anomaly but he has since won the Longacres Mile and is working faster than most of these. So what do we make of him? He was beaten at Allowance level in between two graded stakes wins so it is hard to know which horse is turning up today but at his best he may be the older horse to carry the fight to the three year olds.
9 Prince Absolutely, trained by Grimley
He has failed when he has tried graded class before and with a difficult draw it is hard to see him being a threat today. Having said that although he was tenth in the Travers last time he faced an impossible chance from the widest draw and actually ran on so well at the end he was only two lengths behind the winner. His works arent bad and the allowance puts him close to most of the older horses so if luck falls his way he may get a cheque at longer odds.
10 Steel Will, trained by Defoe
Australia Wide took this gelding from a grade one win in a sprint to running a very solid fourth in the Pacific Classic from a horrible draw. The big question is whether he is a true sprinter or a true router and i guess this is the race to tell us. Defoe bought the horse after his last race for $250.000 so will be hoping for something, the question will still remain however.
11 Silver Dancer, trained by Night Rider Stables
The other sprinter than ran well in the Pacific Classic he was a length in front of Steel Will in that race and with a similar draw arrangement should confirm those placings today. Five 100 plus speed figures in a row speak volumes but i think he will once again have to be held up to get the trip so from this wide draw will need a little luck in running to get through late.
12 Ginger Haggis, trained by The Sidley Stud
Very close to being the horse of the year his next two races will be the ones that matter. The winner of the Preakness and second in the Belmont he is amassing a huge record topping four thousand in prize money and he is still only three. The draw will be tough but he is good enough to overcome that my only worry is the sluggish work he threw on the 5th September. I am hoping that was an early work in his prep for this and that he has improved since and if that is the case he should just about win.
13 Carneyman, trained by John Henry
This four year old hasnt managed a win this year but that isnt unusual for four year olds and this is the time of year they begin to get back in the fray. He ran a seasons best last time over this course and distance in The Suburban Handicap just failing to hold A One after being forced to go on the pace by a horrible draw. That effort was very good but as luck would have it he is drawn terribly again today and may find things a bit harder with 6 Lbs more on his back. Good enough to be in it and may place but things are stacked against him.
Splitting the field between three’s and the rest Ginger Haggis is an obvious choice. The Right Stuff, Crop Duster will be in it and a couple of long shots in Devil Water and Prince Absolutely.
Of the older horses then we have West Northwest, Steel Will and Silver Dancer all of whom have chances.