American-trained horses are drawing clear in the Breeders' Cup Mile. With victory in four of the last five runnings, the home team holds a 10-7 advantage, and Europe doesn't appear to be offering up any Miesques or Spinning Worlds at Belmont Park this year to redress the balance.
Yet the astute British bookmaker, Coral Eurobet, think the Yanks have no Lures or Da Hoss' anywhere to be seen either, and so have principal European hopes Noverre and Banks Hill right behind Irish Prize and Hap (not a certain runner) at the top of the Mile betting market.
Godolphin's Sussex Stakes winner Noverre and Khalid Abdullah's Coronation Stakes heroine Banks Hill look the best invaders on paper. The latter finished well for second behind Godolphin's Slickly in the mile Prix du Moulin Sept 9, and could go for the Prix de l'Opera at 10 furlongs on "Arc" weekend, Oct 7.
This coming weekend, Sept 29, offers the supremely important Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over Ascot's round mile, where blaze-faced Noverre is rated Coral's 5-2 favorite to beat a field of 13 in Europe's mile championship. Three of Europe's BC Mile winners (Miesque (at 3), Barathea and Ridgewood Pearl) used it as a final prep, though none was victorious.
While Sheikh Maktoum al Maktoum's Irish Prize could finish only fourth in the Atto Mile at Woodbine Sept 9, the Neil Drysdale trainee leads the points table for probable Mile runners with 26, ahead of Proud Man with 18, and Skip to the Stone and North East Bound, second to War Chant in the BC Mile last year, with eight each.
Canadian-bred Numerous Times put himself right in the Mile picture with his course-record performance at Woodbine, defeating last year's BC Mile fourth-place finisher, Affirmed Success, by a whisker. Another Mile hopeful, Quiet Resolve, was another nose back in third.
Owned by a Robert Harvey-headed partnership of six, Numerous Times won his first two starts on dirt before four consecutive successes on turf and remains undefeated after six races for trainer Sid Attard. Sam-Son Farm's Quiet Resolve almost made the Atto an all-Canadian exacta. The Mark Frostad-trained 6-year-old had earlier collected Woodbine's King Edward Breeders' Cup Handicap over nine grassy furlongs but disappointed in the Arlington Million (gr. IT).
French-trained Jim and Tonic, running at home for the first time in nearly a year, is now intended for the Mile after winning La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte at 10 furlongs Sept 18. "It's the Prix Dollar, and then maybe the Breeders' Cup Mile," said trainer Francois Doumen.