Gordon Elliott has won the Grand National, Gold Cup and plenty more big races within his own kingdom of jump racing, and he is now seeking to conquer foreign fields, revealing classy juvenile Beckford is to run at the Breeders’ Cup in Del Mar.
Elliott has already tried his hand in the US. In 2008 he sent Salford City to contest Grade 2 and Grade 1 contests at Saratoga without success, while he saddled Eshtiaal to run a fine second in the Grand National Hurdle at Far Hills in 2015. In Beckford he looks to have his most potent stateside raider yet.
Winner of the Group 2 Railway Stakes at the Curragh in July, Beckford went on to fill the runner-up spot in two Group 1s at the Curragh before going down by just over three lengths in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket, finishing fifth.
Elliott said: "The plan is to go for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and he’s come out of Newmarket in good form. I’m very happy with him and he’s a little bull of a horse.
“He just ran a bit flat at Newmarket. Whether it was one too many a run in a short space of time, I don’t know, but I plan on freshening him up before we travel to America."
He added: “On the best of his form I think he’d go there with a very big chance, and it’s something that we are all really looking forward to.”
The Newtown Anner Stud-owned colt is a 10-1 shot to provide Elliott with his first victory in the US, and a first success at the top level on the Flat.
Rajasinghe another with Del Mar date
Barely six months after a landmark first winner at Royal Ascot with Rajasinghe, Richard Spencer is pushing the boundaries again and is planning to run his stable star in the Juvenile Turf.
Rajasinghe is due to be Spencer's first runner at the Breeders' Cup and is a 10-1 shot with bet365 but 25-1 with Betfair Sportsbook. Like Beckford, he contested the Middle Park last time, finishing 11th of the 12 runners.
Spencer believes his juvenile, who overcame Headway in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, had excuses that day and he expects an improved showing in California over a mile next month.
"It was quick when he won at Royal Ascot and I'm sure it will be at Del Mar, so we're having a crack at the Juvenile Turf. He's never raced beyond six furlongs but the sharp track over there should help him."