Breeders' Cup 2019: Timeform's best back and lay bets

Horses head on
The Breeders' Cup is one of the highlights in the Flat racing calendar

Timeform's US racing expert Mark Milligan provides the lowdown on six key horses at the 2019 Breeders' Cup and picks out his best back and lay bets.

"Her best form is at least as good as anything in the field bar McKinzie, and the 3 lb she gets from the older males could well prove telling..."

Timeform on Elate

Bast - Juvenile Fillies (Friday 21:32 GMT)

Adopting a policy of opposing Bob Baffert's runners in Grade 1 contests isn't generally to be recommended, but it may pay to take on Bast in a competitive Juvenile Fillies contest. While she's a dual Grade 1 winner, Bast hasn't run particularly fast times in either of those wins, and doesn't have a great deal in hand of some potential improvers. The pick of her rivals looks to be the once-raced Donna Veloce, who could hardly have been more impressive in slamming maiden opposition by over nine lengths last month. The time of that race was fast and she looks a potential star, while the likes of British Idiom and Wicked Whisper also have plenty to recommend them.

Back or Lay: Lay

Covfefe - Filly & Mare Sprint (Saturday 18:55 GMT)

Covfefe, named after the rather confusing, made-up word that formed part of the now-famous 2017 tweet from President Trump, will likely go off favourite in an open-looking Filly & Mare Sprint. The winner of five of her seven outings to date, this will undoubtedly be the speedy Covfefe's sternest test to date, and she has little or nothing in hand of several of her rivals based on Timeform ratings. Add in the fact that she should also get plenty of pace pressure, the percentage call is to oppose her here.

Back or Lay: Lay

Shancelot - Sprint (Saturday 21:36 GMT)

Arguably the most scintillating performance from any three-year-old in the world came when Shancelot won the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga by twelve and a half lengths in July. Unable to quite replicate that effort in a pair of subsequent Grade 1 starts, Shancelot was hardly disgraced in going down narrowly on both occasions. Jorge Navarro's colt didn't help himself by racing keenly and doing a little bit too much too soon in front on each of those occasions and regular rider Emisael Jaramillo has been replaced by the top-class Jose Ortiz for the Sprint. If Ortiz gets Shancelot to relax in front we could well be treated to something very special.

Back or Lay: Back

Circus Maximus - Mile (Saturday 22:20 GMT)

The US turf milers are a fairly weak bunch this year, and this race looks to provide an excellent opportunity for Circus Maximus to add to his Group 1 wins in the St James's Palace at Royal Ascot and the Moulin at Longchamp. A repeat of either of those efforts would be enough to see him record a third win at the top level, particularly as he's a prominent racer and should be well placed from the outset around this tight track. It may well be the only two females in the field, Got Stormy and Uni, who provide the stiffest opposition from the home team, both of them Grade 1 winners this year.

Back or Lay: Back

Bricks and Mortar - Turf (Saturday 23:40 GMT)

Bricks and Mortar has been the outstanding turf performer in the US for the past year or so, winning his last six races, four of those at the highest level. Chad Brown's five-year-old has been given a break since winning the Arlington Million in August and will come into the race a fresh horse. With top Europeans such as Enable, Magical and Waldgeist not making the journey, this won't take quite as much winning as might have been the case, for all that Anthony Van Dyck and Old Persian will provide a stern test. The one slight doubt about Bricks and Mortar is his stamina for the mile and a half, but the tight Santa Anita turf track places the emphasis on speed, and his potent turn of foot can be seen to good effect late on.

Back or Lay: Back

Elate - Classic (Sunday 00:44 GMT)

It's probably fair to say that this year's renewal of the Breeders' Cup Classic is hardly vintage, particularly as the best horse on ratings, McKinzie, has a slight doubt over both his attitude (has flashed tail) and stamina for the ten-furlong distance. One who has no such doubt over either is Bill Mott's mare Elate, who is at her very best over this trip (three from three at the distance). Her best form is at least as good as anything in the field bar McKinzie, and the 3 lb she gets from the older males could well prove telling.

Back or Lay: Back

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