Irish-bred Red Rocks, who will attempt to defend his title in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), has the benefit of experience on his side as he enters this year's race, trainer Brian Meehan said.
"I think (Red Rocks) is better this year than he was last year at this stage," Meehan said. "He's seasoned."
Although the 4-year-old had a disappointing trip in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I), in which he finished unplaced last spring, he redeemed himself two months later with a two-length victory in the Betfred Gordon Richards Stakes (Eng-III) at Sandown. Owned by J. Paul Reddam, the son of Galileo is lightly raced this year, having made only four starts, the last two of which he was fourth in group I races in England.
"(Red Rocks) has been on everything, really--slow ground, fast ground, he's made the pace, and came off the pace," Meehan said in reference to how the colt would handle the Monmouth Park turf course, which could be soft Oct. 27 due to recent rain. "He won on the firm course last year, but I think if the race is run squarely and has a good pace, he'll be fine."
Meehan had an optimistic outlook when questioned about how his horse would measure up to recent Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) winner Dylan Thomas.
"He's a really nice horse, but Red Rocks has won a Breeders' Cup race and (Dylan Thomas) hasn't done that yet," Meehan said of the Aidan O'Brien-trained colt, who has won three other stakes this year, including three group I events.
"Dylan Thomas is a strong, good-looking horse, but so is my horse and he has raced on both slow and fast ground," said Meehan, who cited Dylan Thomas' vigorous campaign as a factor that might work against him in the Turf.