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World Showcase: 18 key races run in just 24 hours

J A McGrath

It is almost beyond belief that two separate racedays on different continents will be in the space of 24 hours this weekend essentially finalise the world order in racing for 2018.

Nine races on the Derby Day program at Flemington in Melbourne are followed by nine races on the main Breeders’ Cup card at Churchill Downs, Louisville, on Saturday, 3 November.

A total of 18 races, with a mixture of turf and dirt racing surfaces, feature a collection of the world’s best horses in Australia and America over a variety of distances.

New Champions will be crowned, some established stars will confirm their status. Bleary-eyed fans will be focused on the two venues — there is a 16-hour time difference — attempting to weigh up the relative merits of winners at the tracks 12,000 miles apart.

Pride of place at the Melbourne Cup Carnival is the famous two-mile handicap on Tuesday, 6 November, but it has long been acknowledged that for sheer quality Derby Day stands apart.

Godolphin have an excellent chance of winning the G1 Victoria Derby for the first time with Aramayo, a Poet’s Voice colt who has already won two races and finished an encouraging third in the G2 Vase at Moonee Valley last Saturday.

Hartnell, Godolphin’s Australian flagship, is set to contest the G1 Kennedy Mile, with his James Cummings-trained stablemate Best Of Days for company.

In Kentucky, Saeed bin Suroor’s Thunder Snow carries Godolphin hopes in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic, in which he meets a very strong field, while Charlie Appleby will saddle Wild Illusion, who will be hard to beat in the G1 Filly & Mare Turf.

Andre Fabre sends out Talismanic to challenge star filly Enable in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, the race he won last year at Del Mar.

No doubt, those who compile the world rankings will have more evidence uncovered this weekend than at virtually any other point in the season.