The Americans love to host the greatest sports shows on earth (the Super Bowl for example). And with the second running of the massive horseracing betting event, the Pegasus World Cup, on Gulfstream dirt, they can lay claim to running the world's richest horse race – worth a staggering $16 million in prize money!
The punting conundrum centres around the likely 2017 Horse of the Year and Breeders Cup-winning colt, Gun Runner – a red-hot favourite predicted to kick dirt in the faces of the competition. But is the Pegasus World Cup betting a foregone conclusion – or is there value in the pack to collect? Read on for expert tips!
Having made-all to win the $6million Breeders' Cup Classic on November 4 2017 at Del Mar, four-year colt, Gun Runner, is the obvious choice to follow-up by winning the Pegasus World Cup. As he’s the likely winner of Horse of The Year 2017 too, the Pegasus will also be the colt's final race before being retired to stud.
On the face of it, Gun Runner's chance on form is clear – he deserves to be 10/11 favourite with top online bookies. Having set the pace and led all the way in the Breeders' Cup, a repeat performance puts him in a strong position to take the prize. The Breeders’ Cup race is the strongest form indicator leading into the contest.
The top three finishers from Del Mar are leading the betting (Gun Runner, West Coast and Collected). However, one potential issue for Gun Runner is the draw – with lots being drawn on Wednesday. Horses drawn wide are believed to be at a significant disadvantage at the track.
This is due to a very tight turn early on the course, in races run just over the mile – as per the Pegasus. If Gun Runner is drawn wide, his task will become significantly more challenging, and thus his price much less attractive. As a horse who likes to race on the pace, he may be forced to expend extra energy to get an early position.
And even then he may fail. Worse still, he may be made to sit and suffer wide on the track, or lose precious ground tucking-in off the pace. Last year's 6/5 favourite, the media-darling California Chrome, was drawn widest in stall twelve and was never in contention during the inaugural racing event.
Keeping an eye on the draw is crucial – if Gun Runner gets a prime low number, he looks a good bet to add to his 11 career wins from 18 starts. However, his short odds make it appealing to seek out some solid each-way value, in the shape of Collected at 8/1 with William Hill's online sportsbook.
While Gun Runner made-all to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and ultimately won relatively convincingly, the four-year-old colt, Collected, kept things in the balance until deep inside the final furlong. As a fellow front-runner, a low or better draw for Collected, compared to Gun Runner, would significantly swing things in favour of the four-year-old colt getting a good early position.
In the Breeders, he drew wide and used more early energy to join Gun Runner – making his two-and-a-quarter length defeat all the more creditable. Collected had a recent spin at Santa Anita on Boxing Day, finishing third in a race worth a mere $146,000 after being held up and discarding his traditional front-running tactics.
Cynics may suggest such a run was the perfect exercise to keep the horse primed for the far-more-lucrative Pegasus. The horse's trainer, Bob Baffert, has since been vocal in suggesting that we can expect to see the horse race up with the pace again at the weekend. Ultimately, Wednesday's Pegasus World Cup draw could be crucial in deciding which horses to back in the big race.
While the following tip applies to every horse in the race the same, backing Collected each-way at 7-1 with William Hill for the Pegasus World Cup looks to be the value bet in the race, with the colt bringing form and front-running speed into the contest. All the latest odds for the event's other markets can be found at William Hill.