Printed from Visit the website for more    

Breeders’ Cup Marathon: Stronger than last year
by Geir Stabell ( / Globeform (
Last update: 2009-11-06 02:45:19 (First published: 2009-10-20 03:40:59 )

Santa Anita Friday: Muhannak landed this event twelve months ago and he will be shooting for back-to-back wins as he goes in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon on ‘Ladies day’.

His task is going to be an altogether different one, however, as the field for the 1 ¾-mile test is shaping up to be a lot stronger this time round.

Godolphin’s gritty St. Leger (G1) winner Mastery heads a strong team of Europeans, which also includes Royal Ascot winner Father Time.


Santa Anita 6 November 2009 – 1 ¾ miles Pro-Ride

Purse: $500,000

Horses ranked according to Globeform ratings, weights and
our weight-for-age scale (Euro 3yo: - 9lb). Top ranked runner on
100, with others ranked down in pounds. Contenders presented
with sires, trainers, GF ratings last four starts (l-to-r), jockeys

Globeform ratings are expressed in pounds (lb).
One length equals about 0,75lb over this distance.

100 – NITE LITE (Thunder Gulch) / T Pletcher / GF 115 - ? – 115 – 111 / J R Velazquez
100 – CLOUDY’S KNIGHT (Lord Avie) / J Sheppard / GF 115 in 2007 // GF 112 – 111p / R B Homeister Jr
..99 – MUHANNAK (Chester House) / R Beckett / GF 114 in 2008 / 0 – 0 – 112 / R Moore
..98 – ELDAAFER (A. P. Indy) / D Alvarado / GF 113 - ? – 105 – 0 / R Bejarano
..96 – MASTERY (Sulamani) / S bin Suroor / GF 105 - 0 - 109 – 109 – 116 / L Dettori
..95 – FATHER TIME (Dansili) / H Cecil / GF 108 – 115 – 107 – 112 / E Ahern
..96 – BLACK ASTOR (Black Minnaloushe) / L Lewis / GF ? – 106 – 111 – 0 / A Solis
..93 – GANGBUSTER (Langfuhr) / K Desormeaux / GF 108 – 95 - ? – 108 – 102 / K Desormeaux
..93 – SIR DAVE (Untuttable) / J Carava / GF 108 - 101 – 108? – 0 / J Rosario
..88 – MAN OF IRON (Giant’s Causeway) / A O’Brien / GF 0 – 100 – 95 – 108 / J Murtagh

European three-year-olds are to the fore of the betting in the Marathon, but it is worth noting that they are only getting a four-pund pull at the weights. Our wfa age scale gives the ‘weight difference’ as 9lb over 1 ¾ miles at this time of the year. In other words, Mastery, Father Time and Man Of Iron have all been handed rather a raw deal. If the race had been run in England they would be much better off wight-wise. That said, Europeans normally possess a lot more stamina than US based runners and Mastery and Father Time should both be respected. Staying 1 ¾ miles here takes less doing than at courses like Doncaster and York, so perhaps one should use 8lb as the ‘wfa’ factor in this case.

NITE LITE and CLOUDY’S KNIGHT top the ranking and it is the latter that catches the eye as a really interesting bet. He is best priced at 14-1 with English bookmakers and that is tremendous value. He will be a lot shorter at Santa Anita. Don’t forget, this horse beat Group 1 winners Ask and Quijano when taking the Canadian International (G1) in 2007. He appears to be on his way back to that level of form now, and trainer Johathan Sheppard has clearly done a great job with the old gelding. Frank Kirby trained him previously, to win 10 races, and Sheppard has saddled him to win both starts for his barn this year. Cloudy’s Knight finished strongly from off the pace in the 12-furlong Sycamore Stakes (G3) at Keeneland last month, and won by a head from the ex-Irish Winchester. He had won the Kentucky Cup Turf (G3) quite easily on his comeback in September, and the fact that he did not ‘bounce’ second time out after a lengthy spell on the sidelines augurs well. He is definitely our pick here.

MASTERY came good in the St. Leger Stakes (G1) in England, where he had the King Edward VII Stakes (G2) winner FATHER TIME back in fourth. Stamina made the difference that day and if we get a strong pace Mastery should come out on top again. He showed great determination t get by his stable companion (and favourite) Kite Wood and win the Leger by three quarters of a length. Monitor Closely, who had beaten Mastery when enjoying an uncontested and soft lead in the Great Voltigeur Stakes (G2) at York in August, was third, while Father Time was a non-staying fourth. Father Time is a small horse and likely to act well over the Prio-Ride, so to see him go better here is not unlikely. He was visually impressive when running out a 4-length winner of the King Edward VII Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot in June (admittedly in a sub-standard field).

MUHANNAK, winner of this event last year, came back to form (after some dull efforts) when fifth in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes (G3) at Ascot six weeks ago. Mawatheeq, who won that event, has since been second in the Champion Stakes (G1) at Newmarket, only half a length behind Henry Cecil’s Classic contender Twice Over. Muhannak was 3 ¾ lengths behind Mawatheeq at Ascot but he finished just behind Red Rocks (fourth) and any of these two would be favorite if lining up for the Marathon. Red Rocks goes for the Turf, a race he won back in 2006. Writing Muhannak off does not seem like a wise move.

NITE LITE has a good chance based on ratings but he is likely to find the distance a bit too far, having produced his best form when setting the pace over 12 furlongs.




WIN: 4 Cloudy’s Knight


A: 4 and 6 boxed / reversed (2)
B: 4, 6 with 2, 5 (4)


1 – MUHANNAK (Chester House) R Beckett / P Smullen - Globeform 113

2 – Church Service - GF 110
3 – Big Booster - GF 108

Won by head, 3/4 length

Copyright (c) Globeform, 2001-2012