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Breeders’ Cup 2023: Frankie Dettori and ‘flying’ Inspiral lead European charge

Frankie Dettori, Ryan Moore and William Buick all produced memorable winning rides here on Saturday as European-trained runners – Inspiral, Master Of The Seas and Auguste Rodin – swept the first three turf races on the main Breeders’ Cup card at Santa Anita in California.

Dettori started the European charge aboard John Gosden’s Inspiral, who started as the favourite for the Filly & Mare Turf despite stepping up from a mile to 10 furlongs for the first time in her career.

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Her rider suggested he would need “Lady Luck” on his side but in the end he made his own. Inspiral, as ever, was slow from the stalls but Dettori kept her clear of trouble and then made ground towards the end of the back stretch. That ensured Inspiral was poised to unleash a decisive run at the top of the straight and she chased down Warm Heart with a stride or two to spare.

Inspiral was the best filly of her generation at both two years of age and three, has now won six races at Group One or Grade One level, and will attempt to add to her total next season as her owners, Cheveley Park Stud, plan to keep her in training at five.

“She needs a quarter of a mile to get really in top gear,” Dettori said. “I thought I’d better not try to go for gaps. I found the opening on the outside. I expected her to find top gear, but once she did, I don’t know if you see her pass the line, she was flying.”

William Buick celebrates victory on Master of the Seas.William Buick and Master of the Seas clinch victory. Photograph: Mark J Terrill/AP

It was Moore’s bravery that found its reward in the Turf, as he brought Aidan O’Brien’s Auguste Rodin, the Derby winner, with a paint-scraping ride around the home turn and passed much of the field in the process, seizing an advantage that Up To The Mark and Shahryar could not close.

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“It didn’t really go to plan at all the first half of the race,” Moore said. “All I wanted to do was let the horse find some sort of a rhythm. Once I did that and the run started presenting itself I was able to keep going, and he got there very quickly and very easily.”

Buick’s masterclass, meanwhile, came aboard Master Of The Seas in the Mile. Drawn widest of all in stall 14, Buick delivered Charlie Appleby’s gelding right on the wire to beat Mawj, the 1,000 Guineas winner, having still had several lengths to make up with less than a furlong to run.

Quick Guide

Greg Wood’s Monday racing tips


12.50 Kentford Mallard
1.20 Kick Up A Storm
1.50 Baltray
2.20 Lazy Sunday
2.50 Bonttay
3.20 Sporting Mike
3.50 Fiveonefive
4.20 Pencil 

1.07 Goodtimecrew
1.37 Divine Inspiration
2.07 Goodwin
2.37 Lord Baddesley
3.07 Shanty Alley
3.37 West End Boy (nb)
4.07 Godot

1.30 Island Of Skye
2.00 English Rose
2.30 Lucentio
3.00 Midair
3.30 Measured Time
4.00 Savvy Knight
4.30 Mount Athos
5.05 Miss Dolly Rocker
5.40 Epic Express

4.25 Green Power
4.55 Wadacre Grace
5.30 Rogue Soldier
6.00 Bella Bisbee
6.30 Sarah’s Verse
7.00 Gerrots
7.30 Piecederesistance (nap)
8.00 Sun Festival
8.30 My Boy Jack 

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“It was never going to be easy for him but he’s a closer, as we all saw today,” Buick said. “I looked up halfway down the back and thought ‘that’s a lot of horses to pass’, but I didn’t turn as wide as I thought I’d have to. Once he went past the quarter-pole, he just took off.”

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There was to be no fairytale conclusion to the story of Live In The Dream, however, as Adam West’s Nunthorpe winner faded in the closing stages of the Turf Sprint having shown excellent speed from the gate to hold a two-length advantage turning for home.

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Sean Kirrane’s mount could find nothing more as Nobals, a gelding trained by Larry Rivelli, moved up on his inside and stayed on for the win, with Moore arriving late on O’Brien’s Aesop’s Fables to take third.

The Europeans left Santa Anita with wins in five of the seven turf events, however, which sets a high bar before the Breeders’ Cup’s return to Del Mar, near San Diego, next year.