GB: John Quinn is dreaming he can win the Breeders’ Cup Mile with his first runner at the event where Safe Voyage will be one of three challengers trained in Yorkshire.
Along with Glass Slippers (Turf Sprint) from the Kevin Ryan stable and Ubettabeileveit (Juvenile Turf Sprint), trained by Nigel Tinkler, Safe Voyage will provide a strong northern English presence at Keeneland.
Seven-year-old Safe Voyage has won three times this year and finished third in the Prix de la Foret ahead of the Mile, a longstanding goal of Quinn’s.
“Early in the spring, we thought the Breeders’ Cup could suit Safe Voyage,” he said. “He’s got some very good form going left-handed. His best form before this season was over seven furlongs but he then won and dug deep when he won over a mile at Leopardstown, so the mile at Keeneland will hold no fears for him.
“He’s come out of that race well. He’s been training well but we sidestepped the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot because we didn’t want to throw too much at him.
“At York he was able to dominate but at ParisLongchamp, it was a little bit more tactical and became a test of speed which caught him out. He was galloping through the line that day, so we were pleased with how he finished.”
Safe Voyage isn’t just making up the numbers, according to his trainer. “This is our first Breeders’ Cup runner and it’s wonderful for us,” he said. “We’ve been training a long time and he has a live chance. It’s something we all aspire to.
“Tactically, I think he’ll be able to be comfortable at Keeneland. There will be some very nice horses in the race but if he gets a nice draw and everything went well, we can dream that he will win. You’ve got to think that way. He’s certainly got a chance.”
G1 winner Glass Slippers will be Ryan’s second Cup runner. His first, East, finished an excellent second in the Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2018.
“The Breeders’ Cup has been on our mind all season,” said Ryan. “She won the ‘Win and You’re In’ race at the Curragh and also ran well in the Prix de l’Abbaye from a bad draw.
“She’s very versatile as far as the ground is concerned, but I think she is a better filly with some cut in the ground. She’s one of the best I’ve trained. She’s just been a very progressive filly who has kept on improving and I’m very privileged to have her to train.”
Ubettabelieveit will also be a first Breeders’ Cup runner for Tinkler who believes his Flying Childers Stakes winner, who will be ridden by Rowan Scott, is still on the upgrade.
“I think he’s better now than when he ran at Doncaster,” he said. “I think the horse is very professional. He’s a very intelligent horse, so he’s not going to do anything stupid. He has grown up and he’s got stronger. I think he’ll settle in and be absolutely fine.
“At the moment I think the ground is fine. It does drain very well at Keeneland apparently, but soft ground would be a concern. It’s five and a half furlongs which I think will be absolutely ideal. I’m a little bit concerned because it’s going around a bend. Last time he hung a little bit to the right in the last furlong.”