Breeders' Cup Mile 2017: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide

Ribchester is bidding to go out on a high in the Breeders' Cup Mile
Ribchester is bidding to go out on a high in the Breeders' Cup Mile
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Timeform bring you their runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's Breeders' Cup Mile at Del Mar...

"...Top-class performer...looks the one to beat..."

Breeders' Cup Mile
Del Mar
Saturday, 4th November

1. MIDNIGHT STORM (Philip d'Amato/Tyler Baze)
Successful four times in 2016, including in Shoemaker Mile Stakes at Santa Anita, and also two lengths third to Tourist in Breeders' Cup Mile on same course. As good as ever this year, winning Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes in January and good second in Awesome Again Stakes (beaten one and a half lengths by Mubtaahij) last time.

2. HEART TO HEART (Bryan Lynch/Julien Leparoux)
Won Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes at Gulfstream (for second year running) in March and Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga (by one and a quarter lengths from Forge) in September. Creditable half-length second of 14 to Suedois in Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes at Keeneland last time, but likely vulnerable from a win perspective here.

3. MR. ROARY (George Papaprodromou/Tyler Conner)
Won optional claimer at Santa Anita in June and Grade 3 Eddie D Stakes at Santa Anita (by a neck from Tribalist) in September. Has plenty to find on form here, though.

4. LANCASTER BOMBER (Aidan O'Brien/Seamie Heffernan)
Well-made colt who is a very smart performer. Hit the frame four times this year, in 2000 Guineas at Newmarket (one and a quarter lengths fourth to Churchill), St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot (length second to Barney Roy) and Woodbine Mile (two and a half lengths second to World Approval) on last three occasions. Excuses when well held in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot last time and type to quickly bounce back to form.

5. WORLD APPROVAL (Mark Casse/John Velazquez)
Top-class performer. Won non-graded event at Tampa Bay in April, Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico in May, Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga in August and Woodbine Mile (by two and a half lengths from Lancaster Bomber, disputing lead until opening up gap from home turn) in September. Looks the one to beat.

6. ZELZAL (Jean-Claude Rouget/Gregory Benoist)
Very smart performer in 2016, winning four times, including in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly. Just respectable in-the-frame efforts this year in the Prix Bertrand du Breuil, Sussex Stakes at Goodwood (two and a half lengths fourth to Here Comes When, finding less than looked likely) and Prix de la Foret at Chantilly. Place claims at best again.

7. OM (Dan Hendricks/Drayden Van Dyk)
Successful four times in 2015, including in three Grade 2 events. Hasn't won since, but placed eight times, including in Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita (nose second to Obviously, finishing strongly) in 2016. Blinkers back on last time but he failed to improve form them and looks up against it here.

8. SUEDOIS (David O'Meara/Daniel Tudhope)
Won Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown (by half a length from True Valour) in September and 14-runner Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes at Keeneland (beat Heart To Heart by half a length) in October, leading final 50 yards both times. Remains relatively unexposed over a mile and commands respect.

9. HOME OF THE BRAVE (Hugo Palmer/Mike Smith)
Won a listed race at Leicester in April and the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket in July. Finished second to Breton Rock in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood next time, but didn't settle fully when one and three quarter lengths third to Aclaim in the Park Stakes at Doncaster last time. Return to a mile on this tight, turning track will suit, so folly to ignore.

10. RIBCHESTER (Richard Fahey/William Buick)
High-class performer. Won the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May, Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and Prix du Moulin de Longchamp at Chantilly in September. Not at his best when a length second of 15 to Persuasive in Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot last time, making effort earlier than ideal. This comes quick enough, but leading form claims nonetheless.

11. BALLAGH ROCKS (William Mott/Jose Lezcano)
Won optional claimer at Gulfstream in January and Grade 3 Poker Stakes at Belmont (by a neck from Projected) in June. Good third since in the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga (beaten three and a quarter lengths by World Approval) and Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes at Keeneland (half a length behind Suedois). Each-way claims.

12. ROLY POLY (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore)
Won the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket and Prix Rothschild at Deauville, both in July, and 13-runner Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket by one and a quarter lengths from Persuasive in October. Tough and reliable filly who should give another good account under Ryan Moore.

13. BLACKJACKCAT (Mark Glatt/Kent Desormeaux)
In good form in the second half of this year, winning optional claimer at Santa Anita, non-graded event at Del Mar, Grade 2 Del Mar Mile Handicap (by head from Vyjack) and non-graded event again at Santa Anita (landed odds by one and a half lengths from Bird Is The Word). This demands more, however.

14. KARAR (Francis-Henri Graffard/Frankie Dettori)
Won Prix du Pin at Chantilly in September by one and a half lengths from Empire of The Star, making all. Placed in the race for the second year running when finishing a creditable three quarters of a length third of 10 to Aclaim in the Prix de la Foret at Chantilly last time, headed in the final half furlong. Respected.

Timeform Breeders' Cup Mile 1-2-3
1. World Approval
2. Ribchester
3. Roly Poly

Timeform Analyst's Breeders' Cup Mile Verdict
WORLD APPROVAL and Ribchester do rather stand out on form. There's little to separate them but the latter did endure a pretty hard race at Ascot only a fortnight ago and that just tips things in the favour of Mark Casse's 5-y-o. The draw could have been kinder to Roly Poly but she's been most tough and consistent this year and may still prove best of the remainder.

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