Breeders' Cup 2016: Five horses to watch

The Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita is now just a week away
The Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita is now just a week away

With the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita now just a week away, Timeform's Mark Milligan discusses five horses to look out for.

"The Japanese are relatively rare visitors to the US, but in Nuovo Record they have a mare who is more than capable of challenging for one of the big Breeders' Cup prizes."

While the credentials of the main players are at this year's Breeders' Cup are well established, there are a few horses who could be going into the meeting somewhat under the radar. Here are five bigger-priced horses that are worth keeping a close eye on at Santa Anita.

Ticonderoga - Juvenile Turf

Trained by the irrepressible Chad Brown, Ticonderoga is well worth a second look in what is a competitive event. While Oscar Performance sets the standard amongst US turf juveniles, the feeling is we have yet to see the best from Ticonderoga, who was essentially beaten by a combination of a slow start and some lingering greenness last time in a Grade 3 contest at Keeneland. With three outings now under his belt, Ticonderoga looks to be gradually getting his act together.

Tamarkuz - Dirt Mile

While Dortmund is obviously going to take all the beating, the former UAE trainee Tamarkuz - yet to produce his best in America - appears to be gradually getting back on track in the care of Kiaran McLaughlin. His two most recent efforts have been big steps in the right direction, and if he can be coaxed back to the form that saw him take the Godolphin Mile last year, would certainly be no forlorn hope on ratings.

Dancing Rags - Juvenile Fillies

It might seem a bit odd to suggest a Grade 1 winner is going into the meeting under the radar, but that looks to be the case with Dancing Rags, who doesn't seem to have been given full credit in some quarters for her Alcibiades win at Keeneland last time. Racing close to a sound pace, Graham Motion's filly held off the closers (including Daddys Lil Darling, who is currently shorter in the betting for this contest), showing a good attitude in the process. She is still open to improvement and could well surprise some.

Nuovo Record - Filly & Mare Turf

The Japanese are relatively rare visitors to the US, but in Nuovo Record they have a mare who is more than capable of challenging for one of the big Breeders' Cup prizes, While not quite at her best in a couple of starts this year, Nuovo Record's 2015 form gives her a sound chance, and the rattling fast ground on the turf at Santa Anita will be very much in her favour. Her runner-up finish to A Shin Hikari in the Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin in December is one of the best pieces of form on offer, and is actually better in ratings terms than anything current favourite Lady Eli has achieved so far this year. The main negative is that Nuovo Record hasn't got particularly close to that level in 2016, but the signs are that she could still work her way back up there at some point.

A Lot - Turf Sprint

In a race likely to be run at a rattling-fast pace on the downhill turf course, it may well pay to look for a horse that has a touch of class, a little stamina, and a proven turn of foot. Another trained by turf maestro Chad Brown, the versatile A Lot has smart form ranging from six furlongs to a mile and ought to find this well-run six-and-a-half furlong trip very much to his liking. Having not raced since August, A Lot will be fresher than most, and granted a decent bit of luck in running, ought to go well in a race where many will concentrate on the out-and-out sprinting types.

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