Canadian International 2019: Odds and analysis

October 09, 2019 01:37pm
Canadian International 2019: Odds and analysis
Photo: Michael Burns/Woodbine

More often than not, European invaders capture the Grade 1, $800,000 Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine. Since 2014, Europeans have won this race four times, with the lone miss coming in 2017 when Bullards Alley romped over a yielding course.

On Saturday, the Europeans once again hold the upper hand over the locals, making another successful invasion likely. In fact, one of these invaders stands clearly above the other ones in class.

The Canadian International is carded as Race 9 with post time set for 5:42 p.m. ET.

1. Ziyad, 1/1 (Rock of Gibraltar – Carlos Laffon-Parrias/Maxine Guyon – 15: 4-6-2): This classy 4-year-old gelding from Europe is in another league compared to his competition. Consider that Ziyad finished second in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (G1) in June after doing all the early pace work. He only lost to Coronet, who went on to win Prix Jean Romanet (G1) in August. Ziyad himself picked up an August win in the Grand Prix de Deauville (G2). While there are never true locks in horse racing, Ziyad is close to one. The pick.

2. Pivoine, 10-1 (Redoute's Choice – Andrew Balding/Robert Hornby – 22: 6-1-1): Even though Pivoine is European, the class is probably not there to win. Notice he competed in mostly ungraded races earlier in the year, with two Group 3 tries in the Gordon Richards Stakes and Al Rayyan Stakes thrown in between. He finished sixth and fourth in those stakes races. Pivoine then attempted the Arlington Million (G1) in August but could only manage fifth, 6 ¼ lengths behind Bricks and Mortar. Back in Europe, he ran ninth in the September Stakes (G3) before a runner-up to Desert Encounter in the Legacy Cup Stakes (G3). He is not on Ziyad's level, but it is easy to see him closing into second. Use underneath.  

3. Nessy, 8-1 (Flower Alley – Ian Wilkes/Chris Landeros) – 32: 4-7-8): Nessy worked hard to run second in the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (G1). Previously, he finished seventh in the Preview Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes and third in the Louisville Stakes (G3) behind Tiz a Slam. Back in April, he did pick up his lone 2019 victory in an allowance at Keeneland. But with the presence of Ziyad, there is almost zero chance for him to win this race. The secondary Europeans are preferable underneath as well. Toss. 

4. Desert Encounter, 2-1 (Halling – David Simcock/Andrea Atzeni – 30: 11-4-7): The defending champion returns. In Europe, however, this is not an especially classy horse. Notice he ran last in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) and last in the Prince of Wales's Stakes (G1) over the summer. He did rebound with three straight wins in recent times, albeit against Group 3 foes. His latest win came in the Legacy Cup Stakes (G3) against a five-horse field, with Pivoine finishing second. But compared to Ziyad, Desert Encounter is not in the same zip code. Even though he is proven on this course, the price will prove too low. Toss.

5. Alounak, 6-1 (Camelot – Waldemar Hickst/Clement Lecouevre – 11: 3-2-0): In 2019, Alounak's lone win came in the Preis Der Sparkassen Finanzgruppe (G3). German racing is typically weaker than in other European countries. Previous to his Group 3 win, he lost seven straight races, too, with only two runner-up finishes in that time period. He needs improvement to win, but he is not a bad alternative to Desert Encounter for second. Use underneath.

6. Pumpkin Rumble, 15-1 (English Channel – Kevin Attard/Eurico Rosa da Silva – 45: 10-8-10): This 8-year-old gelding is in sharp form at least, with a recent win in the Alphabet Soup Handicap at Parx Racing. Previous to that race, he ran third in the local Dominion Day Stakes (G3) over synthetic and third in the Nijinsky Stakes (G3), 5 ½ lengths behind. After this race, he needs to find another soft Grade 3 field to tackle. Toss. 

Conclusion:
Aside for Ziyad, this is not a strong field. Comparing the horses Ziyad ran against in Europe to this field is like comparing Secretariat to optional claimers.

As a word of caution, however, not every European translates their form to North America.

But with that said, Ziyad is the choice here. If Desert Encounter is thrown underneath him, it will not pay well. Use either Pivoine or Alounak for value in your ticket.

Exacta: 1 / 2 (or 5)

 

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