28 October 2020

Gosden’s two-pronged attack on Breeders’ Cup Turf

28 October 2020

John Gosden is set to be double-handed in next week’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf with both Lord North and Mehdaayih likely to line up at Keeneland.

Prince of Wales’s Stakes winner Lord North is only entered for the 12-furlong contest, but Mehdaayih was put in both that race and the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf over nearly 10 furlongs.

However, she is not among the first 14 contenders for that race at the pre-entry stage, so Gosden will instead look to run her in the longer event on November 7.

He said: “I think she’s going to be running in the mile-and-a-half Turf. At the moment she’s on the also-eligible (for the Filly & Mare), so we just made a commitment to run in the Turf over a mile and a half.

“She stays the distance very well and I’m perfectly aware it’s a high-class race but hopefully there might be a little less traffic problems with slightly less runners.”

Lord North finished last on deep ground in the Champion Stakes at Ascot on his latest run, but Gosden added: “We’re looking forward to running him, he worked nicely this morning with Frankie Dettori on him. The plane leaves Stansted on Friday.”

While Mehdaayih appears unlikely to run in the Filly & Mare, Gosden will still be represented by Terrebellum, winner of the Dahlia Stakes back in June and a narrow second in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.

Gosden told a Breeders’ Cup teleconference: “Her best run was probably in the Queen Anne, when she went down a head to a very good colt that Aidan trains. She’s in top form, ready for this race and she’ll then be heading to the breeding sheds afterwards.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has obviously presented extra difficulties in terms of global campaigning of horses this year, but Gosden underlined the effort put in by the Breeders’ Cup organisers to ensure European challengers could attend.

He said: “Everyone has gone out of their way to make it feasible for us, I’ve been most impressed with the protocols put in place and how helpful everyone has been.

“It’s not easy but my staff had Covid-19 tests yesterday, they were all negative so they will be planning to fly tomorrow as they’re not allowed to come on the horse plane and then be meeting the horses when they get to Keeneland.

“I’m sure there’ll be a lot of protocols on the ground, I know the jockeys aren’t allowed in the barn, so that will stop Mr Dettori trying to train them all – they’ll have to meet him outside!

“We just have to get on with it.”

While Gosden’s team will be in attendance, the trainer will not travel himself.

He added: “I’m not going to be travelling to Keeneland – I have a full team going, but I won’t be there myself sadly this year.

“At the moment I’ve got an awful lot to run here and I’ve got fabulous people going, so I’ll leave it to them and Mr Dettori likes to play trainer too, so he can do both jobs!”

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