Previewing the European Contenders on Arlington Million Day

Timeform and TimeformUS are teaming up for expanded coverage around the Arlington Million and the three stakes races leading up to the Million. See below for analysis of the European shippers, written by Mark Milligan of Timeform.

The G1 Arlington Million (Race 10, Local post 5:44pm CST)

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 9.45.25 AMGrandeur – US bettors will be aware of this horse, due to his exploits in So Cal last year. Won a G2 at Hollywood Park, following on from a good 2nd in a G1 at the same venue. Seemed to have improved since then, when 2nd to Mukhadram in a G2 at York last time, and clearly getting better.

Guest Of Honour – A lightly-raced colt, still open to improvement. Finished 3rd in a G2 at Ascot last time (enduring a luckless trip), and would almost certainly have been closer had things gone better for him. He is untried at much beyond a mile, but travels strongly enough to suggest that 10 furlongs will be no problem.

Hunter’s Light – Started favourite for the Dubai World Cup, before finishing a disappointing 7th . Had previously shown high-class form in Dubai, on Tapeta. Finished 3rd in a G1 (on turf) in Germany last time, not finding a lot when asked by his jockey. Could go well for the addition of Lasix.

Mull Of Killough – A tough gelding who recorded his best effort this season when winning a G3 at Newmarket in April. Shipped to Singapore in May, running 5th in a G1, before coming back to the UK, finishing 2nd behind Aljamaheer in a G2 at Ascot last time.

Side Glance – A consistent performer, whose last win came in a G3 at Epsom in 2012. Finished 7th behind the top-class Al Kazeem at Royal Ascot last time. Probably stays 10 furlongs, though his best efforts have been at slightly shorter.

The Apache – Showed smart form in Dubai over the winter, winning a G2, and twice running 2nd to Sajjhaa in G1s. Returned from a 4-month layoff when finishing 4th behind Mukhadram (Grandeur 2nd ) last time at York. Should move forward off that run.

Top Contender: Grandeur is likely to be best supported of the foreign challengers, but HUNTER’S LIGHT is at least his equal on his day and looks the value call on Lasix for the first time.

Race 7, the  American St. Leger (Local post time 3:52pm CST)

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 9.45.34 AM

Dandino – His trainer, Marco Botti, won the inaugural running of this race last season with Jakkalberry. He brings over a similar type this year in Dandino, who was a really good 2nd at Royal Ascot last time. Looks to have a big chance.

Wigmore Hall – This classy horse is well known across the Atlantic, having competed in the Million previously, and is a 2-times winner of the G1 Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine. This is his first try beyond 12 furlongs.

Top Contender: DANDINO is a really strong contender, and a likelier stayer at this longer distance than the able Wigmore Hall.

Race 8, the  G1 Secretariat (Local post time 4:23pm CST)

First Cornerstone – Won a G2 in Ireland last season, and finished 4th in the Racing Post Trophy, one of Europe’s top 2yo races. Has not been in that sort of form this year, finishing 5th in the G1 Irish 2000 Guineas, and well down the field in the G1 Prix Du Jockey Club, in France. May appreciate the class relief.

Visiyani – Represents last year’s winning owner/trainer/jockey combo. This horse has not achieved as much as Bayrir had before winning last year, but his connections know what’s needed to target this race.

Yeager – Broke his maiden in June, then stepped up to win a handicap race impressively at Ascot last time. This US-bred colt seems to be improving quickly, and his trainer Jeremy Noseda has a knack of bringing the right horses over from the UK.

Top Contender: FIRST CORNERSTONE has the classiest form, while Visiyani and Yeager look more likely to improve. All three look rather up against it in this company.

Race 9, the G1 Beverly D (Local post time 5:02pm CST)

Dank – Best effort came when winning a 9 furlong, G3 race at Newmarket in May. Was a little below her best, but still managed to win a G2 in Ireland last time, also over 9 furlongs. Usually stalks the pace.

Duntle – Put in her best effort of the season last time when 2nd behind Elusive Kate in a G1 race at Deauville, in France. Previously this year, had won at Royal Ascot (G2) and Leopardstown (G3). Has never raced further than a mile.

Gifted Girl – Won a Listed race over a mile at Pontefract last time, having previously run well to finish 2nd in a G3 race at Epsom. Has worked her way up from handicap company in the UK, and gets a further step up in class here.

Top Contender: there is little between DANK and Duntle on form, but the former looks the stronger stayer and is preferred.

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