Pre-race favourite Battleground finished second behind Fire At Will in the Breeders’ Cup

Pre-race favourite Battleground finishes second to impressive 33-1 winner Fire At Will on day one of the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland

  • Second for Battleground in the Juvenile Turf, losing to 33-1 winner Fire At Will 
  • Mother Earth finished second in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, behind Aunt Pearl
  • Nigel Tinkler’s Ubettabelieveit finished third in the Juvenile Turf Sprint 

Second-placed efforts for Aidan O’Brien’s Battleground in the Juvenile Turf and Mother Earth in the Juvenile Fillies Turf were the pick of the European efforts as the raiding team just came up short on day one of the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland in Kentucky.

There were also third places for Ken Condon’s Miss Amulet in the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf and Nigel Tinkler’s Ubettabelieveit in the Juvenile Turf Sprint.

But they both came up against very impressive winners with Florent Geroux making all the running on Brad Cox-trained Aunt Pearl in the Fillies race and Wesley Ward’s Golden Pal burning off his opponents from the front in the Sprint.

Ricardo Santana Jr celebrates after winning the Juvenile Turf race with Fire At Will

The Juvenile Turf went an equally decisive winner in Michael Maker-trained 33-1 winner Fire At Will.

Battleground, the 11-4 favourite who was running for the first time since landing Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, finished strongly under Ryan Moore but never looked like laying a glove on him.

Back in fourth was Jessie Harrington-trained Cadillac but Ralph Beckett’s Devilwala (eighth) blew his chance at the start while stablemate New Mandate (last of 14) ran far too free under Frankie Dettori and got involved in some serious scrimmaging going into the first turn before fading and being eased.

French hope Sealiway, winner of the Prix Jean Luc Lagardere, was fifth with the Michael Bell-trained The Lir Jet a creditable seventh from his tough wide draw.

Meanwhile, the bold decision of Yorkshire trainer Nigel Tinkler to take Ubettabelieveit to the US paid off as he held on for third, a length and three-quarters behind Golden Pal.

The effort earned Ubettabelieveit, winner of the Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster, almost £67,000.

Ubettabelieveit missed the break but jockey Rowan Scott steered him to the inside rail and got a dream run around the home turn before running out of gas in the last half furlong.

Tinkler said: ‘We put ear plugs on him so he wouldn’t hear the bell so loud and obviously he fell out of the stalls, but it probably helped him in some ways because he got a good run through.

Wesley Ward's Golden Pal led from the front and runs to victory in the Juvenile Turf Sprint

Wesley Ward’s Golden Pal led from the front and runs to victory in the Juvenile Turf Sprint

‘We’re obviously delighted with him and I thought Rowan gave him a great ride.

‘He probably didn’t quite get the trip – he’s a five-furlong horse, it was five-and-a-half today and in the last 50 yards he just got a little bit tired, but we’re very pleased.’

O’Brien’s Lipizzaner was fourth while Hollie Doyle was out of the places on the Archie Watson-trained Mighty Gurkha, on what was her first Breeders’ Cup ride.

She said: ‘He jumped well, but we hit a flat spot and lost our position and then he couldn’t quicken in the straight. It’s been a great experience and I’ve loved every minute here.’

Irad Ortiz jr-ridden Golden Pal, who was caught close home when beaten by The Lir Jet in the Norfolk Stakes in July, will be back in Britain next year with the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Nunthorpe Stakes at York on his target list.

Ward said: ‘He’s just amazing. I got a little worried on the backside when Irad took a hold of him as he lost a little momentum, but then he just accelerated down the lane and he’s a champion colt.

‘When he showed a bit of acceleration passing the quarter-pole I knew we were OK, although I got a little worried in the last part. I was hugging my son, but we got there!

‘Royal Ascot here we come – we’re going to get it next year!’

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