By Nicholas Godfrey
GB: Frankie Dettori will maintain his association with New Mandate at next weekend’s Breeders’ Cup, when the Royal Lodge Stakes winner is set to be joined by Ralph Beckett-trained stablemate Devilwala in the Juvenile Turf at Keeneland.
Dettori, who has 14 Breeders’ Cup victories altogether, will be bidding for his fourth success in the Friday race, which he has won in the past on Donativum (2008), Pounced (2009) and Hootenanny (2014). The jockey is a friend of New Mandate’s owner Marc Chan.
“He understands the horse very well now,” commented Beckett. “It’s a good fit. As Frankie said, ‘you train him and I’ll ride him!”
With eight wins in 13 runnings, no other Breeders’ Cup race has been as kind to transatlantic visitors as the Juvenile Turf, a race in which Aidan O’Brien alone has saddled four winners and four seconds.
New Mandate earned a fees-paid berth in the Juvenile Turf in the Royal Lodge, which is part of the Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ Challenge. The form of his victory in the G2 event was boosted at the weekend when fourth-placed Gear Up landed a G1 in France.
“I’m very happy with him,” said Beckett, speaking on the Nick Luck Daily podcast. “We’re seeing at home in his work he’s more relaxed. He’s definitely going the right way the more experience he gets under his belt.
“If anything he’s in as good a shape as he was going to Newmarket and we’re looking forward to it,” added the trainer, who saddled quirky Muhannak to win the now-defunct Marathon under the late Pat Smullen on the Pro-Ride at Santa Anita in 2008.
Making his debut for Kimpton Down-based Beckett, Devilwala was a 100-1 shot when under three lengths behind the winner St Mark’s Basilica in the Dewhurst Stakes. The son of Kodiac also finished second in the Gimcrack Stakes for former trainer Archie Watson.
“Devilwala’s a difficult horse to read because he hides his light under a bushel at home,” said Beckett,
“It was definitely his owner’s call to run him in the Dewhurst. I was going along for the ride there and was astonished to see him run as well as he did. At home you wouldn’t put Devilwala and New Mandate in the same piece of work for fear of his remembering what did happen.
“Devilwala is a tough, hardy fellow now,” added Beckett. “He was a breeze-up horse and I’m his second trainer. He takes it all pretty much in his stride. That’s why he doesn’t knock himself out at home.”
Rossa Ryan will make his Breeders’ Cup debut on Devilwala. “He is retained by the owner,” said Beckett. “He’s been riding well of late and he’s fitted in here very well. He’s been riding out here all year and has ridden a bunch of winners for us, so I have no problem with that at all.”
• Visit the Breeders’ Cup website