Aidan O’Brien is hoping for the requisite luck in running when Washington DC goes for glory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita on Saturday.
The relatively new race has so far been a banker for the home team, despite being run on grass, but O’Brien’s three-year-old son of Zoffany looks just the type to go well.
Third in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, he has improved for the drop to five furlongs, going close at Goodwood, the Curragh and most recently at Chantilly in the Prix de l’Abbaye.
Stepping up a furlong and a half this time, O’Brien is banking on some “magic” from Ryan Moore on the come-from-behind performer.
“He’s a horse we’re looking forward to running as he’s getting better with every run,” said O’Brien.
“He’s very fast. He gets five furlongs well, obviously, and he came home very well in the Abbaye.
“He’ll be an interesting one to watch. H e’ll probably end up back a little bit early on and Ryan will have to work his magic to get him through.
“If he gets a run through anything could happen.”
Hugo Palmer has long held the ambition Home Of The Brave would run at the Breeders’ Cup, for obvious, name-related reasons.
By Starspangledbanner, he is bound to have plenty of backers and Palmer thought long and hard choosing between the Mile and this race for the seven-furlong specialist.
The Classic-winning trainer said: “He’s been a star and I’ve wanted to bring him here for a long time
“I thought with a horse called Home Of The Brave, we’ve got to bring him here.
“This is part of a two-year dream to have the horse here at Santa Anita ready to race.
“He took the journey fantastically well, he looks wonderful and has kept his summer coat. Having the Californian sun on his back is really doing him a lot of good.
“He’s loved training on the fast ground, which is his preferred surface, and he’s ready to rock.”
The Newmarket handler added: “I think six and a half (furlongs) will be more in his comfort zone than a mile might have been.
“The worst thing that could happen to him would be if he got trapped behind horses and they went no gallop, but I don’t think there’s any danger of that.
“As long as they’re going quick enough and he’s travelling well within himself we know he gets every yard of six and a half and seven.
“We’ll just have to see. There should be plenty of pace in the race.
“To win would be a massive moment in anyone’s career.”
Wes Ward’s Royal Ascot scorer Undrafted and last year’s winner Mongolian Saturday are also in the field, but the European charge was decimated after the David O’Meara-trained Suedois was ruled out with a stress fracture in his near-fore foot.