From what I have been reading since I've been out in Santa Anita - I flew straight here after winning the Canadian International on Joshua Tree on Sunday night - a lot of people have been making a big deal about the importance of the draw, and how well horses have been looking and moving in the mornings.
I would take that with a pinch of salt.
Yes, it is a tight track and luck in running obviously plays its part, as we saw last year. But that is the case at most tracks, and I don't think it is as big a factor as some are making out, with run-style determining a lot anyway.
And, as for horses looking in great shape, you have to remember that the work has been done before the European horses got here and they are doing very little apart from stretching their legs.
It could well be that horses are looking in great nick, but you would largely expect that. And you don't often read about those that aren't, do you?
20:02 Santa Anita - Kid Dreams
I ride Kid Dreams for Neil Drysdale in the Twilight Derby earlier on the Santa Anita card before the Breeders Cup races. It looks a pretty competitive race but the form of my mount's 7 3/4 length win from Charming Kitten in the Hawthorne Derby clearly looks to give him leading claims. That win came on soft but he looks to handle fast ground ok.
21:25 Santa Anita - Giovanni Boldini
Made a winning debut at Dundalk in September and it showed you how highly Aidan rates this horse that he pitched him into Group 1 company just a week later, and he wasn't at all disgraced in finishing third to Toormore and Sudirman in the National Stakes. He warmed up for this by winning very impressively from a well-regarded sort in Mandatorio back at Dundalk last month, and I would be pretty hopeful that he could follow in the footsteps of George Vancouver, on whom I won this race for Aidan last year.
I think 1m on fast ground will be fine for him. I wouldn't rule out Aidan's Wilshire Boulevard either, as I think you will see an improved horse on fast ground today. I rode him on his last two starts in testing conditions in the Gimcrack and Lagardere and he ran really well. But he felt like he would be suited by better ground to me. Bobby's Kitten looks the pick of the home team but the Europeans hold a strong hand in this with Outstrip and Shamson, too.
22:50 Santa Anita - Al Thakhira
It is easy to get carried away with the chances of European horses in Breeders' Cup races simply because their form is more familiar. But this does look another race where they look to hold a lot of the leading chances, though Keeneland winner My Conquestadory may be the pick of the home team and shouldn't be underestimated. Coming back to the draw, many might look at her stall in 14, and think that is a negative. But in fact it may suit her run-style as she looks a closer.
I finished second to Al Thakhira in the soft at Yarmouth on her debut and again saw the back of her when she ran out an impressive winner of the Rockfel last time. Now, that wasn't the best Rockfel I've ridden in - in fact, it was a very weak Group 2 - and she faces very different ground conditions today. But she could only beat what was put in front of her at Newmarket, is clearly a very exciting filly who feels in good form when I sat on her, and I don't think the faster ground is expected to be a major issue. But you never know until you race on it.
Vorda sets the form standard on her Morny second and won the Cheveley Park well enough last time; the obvious question mark with her is will she stay 1m. Tight track or not, it's a concern. There are no such doubts with Chriselliam, who improved to beat Rizeena in the Fillies Mile on fast ground last time. I suspect Charlie's filly could be the one to beat in here.