Irish and Yorkshire Oaks heroine Seventh Heaven rates as one of Aidan O’Brien’s best chances of a 2016 Breeders’ Cup winner as she gears up for the Filly & Mare Turf.
The daughter of Galileo did not break her maiden until Dundalk in April but then beat subsequent dual Oaks runner-up Architecture in the Lingfield Trial.
Only sixth in the Investec Oaks on ground considered too soft, she was very impressive at the Curragh a month later and even more so when beating Found at York.
Slightly disappointing when favourite on Champions Day at Ascot, the quick ground will be in her favour at Santa Anita but she is dropping two furlongs in distance.
O’Brien also runs Pretty Perfect, who finished one place in front of Seventh Heaven at Ascot.
“Ascot was Seventh Heaven’s first run back in a couple of months and it was a bit messy,” said O’Brien.
“Frankie (Dettori) sat second (on Journey) and dictated the race.
“She had a very bad draw and it was her first run back after York. She should come on from the run and she seems well since.
“She’s in good order and she stays a mile and a half well. We always thought the trip and track would suit her around here.
“I don’t think a fast pace will be a disadvantage to her because she is cutting back slightly in distance.
“Pretty Perfect likes to be up front and dictating.
“If she does get to the front she’ll have a big chance.”
The only other European in the field is Sir Michael Stoute’s Queen’s Trust.
She only has a maiden win to her name from seven starts but her season has been typified by misfortune.
Queen’s Trust has shown her class on more than one occasion, though, most notably when second to Minding in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.
Stoute, who has won the race with Islington in 2003 and Dank in 2013, said: ” She got trapped on the fence at Newbury from a low draw and should have won.
“Twice at Ascot she also got interfered with after the start.
“She ran a blinder in the Nassau and she’s entitled to be here.”
Frankie Dettori, who partnered Ouija Board to her second Filly & Mare Turf success in 2006, teams up with Stoute for the ride.
“Sir Michael Stoute knows exactly what it takes to win this race so I could scarcely hope for a better trainer in the race,” he told his Ladbrokes blog.
“Lady Eli and Seventh Heaven are two top-class fillies, but my girl came second to Minding in the Nassau and gave her a race.
“She will be ready to pounce if they don’t run their races and she’s got a better chance than might first appear.”
Lady Eli, a multiple Grade One winner in the States, and Sea Calisi are both trained by Chad Brown and spearhead the home team’s challenge.