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

Reigning champion Highland Reel is bidding to go out on a high in the Breeders' Cup Turf
Reigning champion Highland Reel is bidding to go out on a high in the Breeders' Cup Turf
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Timeform bring you their runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar...

"Top-class performer who was fourth to Highland Reel in this race 12 months ago."

Breeders' Cup Turf
Del Mar
Saturday, 4th November

Talismanic (Andre Fabre, France/Mickael Barzalona)
Won listed race at Maisons-Laffitte in April and Prix Maurice de Nieuil at Saint-Cloud in July. Off nearly two months, best effort yet when 1¾ lengths third to Dschingis Secret in Prix Foy at Chantilly last time, every chance 1f out. Often makes running nowadays.

Bullards Alley (Tim Glyshaw, USA/Javier Castellano)
In frame in four Grade 2/3 events prior to causing 43/1 upset when winning 10-runner Canadian International at Woodbine last time by 10¾ lengths from Oscar Nominated, leading 3f out and drawing clear. Clear career-best effort that day but needs to back it up in this better race.

Highland Reel (Aidan O'Brien, Ireland/Ryan Moore)
High-class performer who won this race at Santa Anita (by 1¾ lengths from Flintshire) in 2016. As good as ever this term, winning Coronation Cup at Epsom and Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot (by 1¼ lengths from Decorated Knight), both in June. Unsuited by conditions when 7¼ lengths third of 10 to Cracksman in Champion Stakes at Ascot last time and capable of bouncing back now returned to a quicker surface.

Decorated Knight (Roger Charlton/Andrea Atzeni)
Made further progress this year, winning listed race at Lingfield in February, Jebel Hatta at Meydan in March, Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in May and 10-runner Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September. Needs to improve again, though.

Ulysses (Sir Michael Stoute/Frankie Dettori)
Top-class performer who was fourth to Highland Reel in this race 12 months ago. Has improved this year, winning Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown in April, Eclipse Stakes on same course (by nose from Barney Roy) in July and International Stakes at York (by 2 lengths from Churchill) in August. Leading contender.

Cliffs of Moher (Aidan O'Brien, Ireland/Wayne Lordan)
Won Dee Stakes at Chester in May before very good second in Derby at Epsom (¾ length behind Wings of Eagles) in June. Hasn't built on that since, though, including when fourth in Eclipse Stakes at Sandown and International Stakes at York. Down the field in Champion Stakes at Ascot last time. Plenty to prove.

Itsinthepost (Jeff Mullins, USA/Tyler Baze)
Smart performer who won Grade 2 events at Santa Anita (San Luis Rey Stakes) in March, Keeneland (Elkhorn Stakes) in April, and Santa Anita (John Henry Turf Championship Stakes, by head from Prime Attraction, having to wait for gap before leading near finish) in October. Effective at 1¼m to 1½m so won't mind return to this trip, but needs to take form up a notch.

Bigger Picture (Michael J. Maker, USA/John Velazquez)
Very smart performer who won Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes at Sam Houston in January and United Nations Stakes at Monmouth in July. Good efforts when placed at Saratoga since, in Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes (neck second to Hunter O'Riley) and Sword Dancer Stakes (½-length third to Sadler's Joy), but probably needs to improve again. Usually races off the pace.

Seventh Heaven (Aidan O'Brien/Seamie Heffernan)
Big, rangy filly who won Irish Oaks at the Curragh and Yorkshire Oaks at York in 2016. Won Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket (by 5 lengths from One Foot In Heaven) in May, but below form in two starts since, including when 10½ lengths fourteenth to Enable in Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly last time. Return to quicker ground should suit, but needs to bounce back.

Fanciful Angel (Chad C. Brown, USA/Irad Ortiz, Jr)
Former British-trained runner who won handicaps at Meydan in January and Chelmsford (by head from Noble Gift) in May. Good second to Beach Patrol on last two starts, in Arlington Million (beaten ½ length, left Marco Botti after) and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (went down by 5 lengths). Work to do to turn the tables on that runner.

Hunt (Philip d'Amato, USA/Flavien Prat)
Won pair of Grade 2s here (Eddie Read Stakes in July and Del Mar Handicap, by ¾ length from Itsinthepost) in the summer but below form when 7¼ lengths seventh to same rival in Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship Stakes at Santa Anita last time. Appears to have improved for the fitting of blinkers (on last three starts).

Beach Patrol (Chad C. Brown, USA/Joel Rosario)
Very smart performer who won Arlington Million (by ½ length from Fanciful Angel) in August and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont (by 5 lengths from same rival, leading over 2f out) in September. Proved he stays 1½m with latest win and his consistency could help him hit the frame at least here.

Sadler's Joy (Thomas Albertrani, USA/Julien Leparoux)
Won Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream in April and Sword Dancer Stakes at Saratoga in August. Respectable 6 lengths fourth to Beach Patrol in Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont last time but work to do to reverse that form here.

Oscar Performance (Brian A. Lynch, USA/Jose Ortiz)
Very smart performer who won Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita (beat Lancaster Bomber 1¼ lengths) in 2016. Slowly back to the boil this season, winning Grade 3 Pennine Ridge Stakes at Belmont in June, Belmont Derby on same course in July and Secretariat Stakes at Arlington (by 2¼ lengths from Taj Mahal) in August. Respectable 5 lengths third to Beach Patrol in Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on first try at this trip last time, and could run well at a price.

Timeform Breeders' Cup Turf 1-2-3
1. Ulysses
2. Decorated Knight
3. Beach Patrol

Timeform Analyst's Breeders' Cup Turf Verdict
ULYSSES is probably the safest recommendation but can't afford for much to go wrong. Decorated Knight is the most prudent second option, while Beach Patrol also commands a second look.

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