Essential Quality put a disappointing performance at the Kentucky Derby behind him to triumph in the Belmont Stakes. Brad Cox’s charge finished in fourth place in a tight contest at the Churchill Downs in the first major event of the season.
He just lacked the pace to beat out the eventual winner, Medina Spirit, along with Mandaloun and Hot Rod Charlie, who all converged on the line at the same time. He and jockey Luis Saez learned from the experience and were on point at Belmont Park to dominate the contest, beating out Hot Rod Charlie by one-and-a-half lengths.
Essential Quality proved that he was the best horse in the field from the States ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but what about when challengers arrive from abroad? John and Thady Gosden could be sending their outstanding charge, Mishriff, on a collision course with Essential Quality for the prestigious meet at Del Mar Racetrack.
Mishriff was off the pace in his first race of the United Kingdom flat racing season, finishing in third at the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park. Ahead of the contest, bettors may have been confident of Mishriff’s form in his last two outings, although a deeper look into his statistics would show that those outings were on dirt in Meydan and Riyadh rather than grass in the UK.
His previous performance on turf was an eighth-place finish in the Champion Stakes at Ascot. Using an AI tool for online wagering such as the Beth betting tool would have highlighted those flaws in his performances. Therefore, the betting tool, which advises punters on what horse to back based on a number of criteria, including form, weather, and track condition, would have indicated to their users to bet on another competitor in the field such as the winner St Marks Basilica. Wanna bet? Ask Beth!
It was evident that turf was not the strong point of Mishriff, although he is a top runner on dirt. As a result, he could challenge Essential Quality and the rest of the leading horses from the United States in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The Irish thoroughbred’s two victories in 2021 came at the Dubai Sheema Classic, where he beat his nearest rival by a neck. Mishriff was also outstanding in the Saudi Cup in Riyadh, beating out Bob Baffert’s Charlatan by a length. The four-year-old has a great deal of comfortability on dirt and relishes the big occasion when the ground suits.
The Gosdens will be monitoring his form towards the end of the season in the United Kingdom and Ireland to determine whether it will be worth taking Mishriff to the States. All the signs point to a challenge, but, if he is unable to muster strong outings at the end of the campaign, the Gosdens may have doubts whether he can raise his game against the best in the States.
It should be a great showdown even if Mishriff is unable to make the journey, but the racing world will be watching with hope that the American thoroughbreds can be tested by an Irish competitor that thrives on dirt, and could light up Del Mar with a championship-winning run.