Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Neil Morrice: International Racing (Pegasus World Cup) - Saturday 23 January 2021

Neil Morrice: International Racing (Pegasus World Cup) - Saturday 23 January 2021

Neil Morrice Best Bets & Tips

Neil Morrice brings us all of his best bets and tips for Saturday's racing coming your way from Gulfstream Park's Pegasus World Cup.



GULFSTREAM PARK

PEGASUS WORLD CUP (Grade 1) 


Since it’s inauguration with the magnificent Arrogate in 2017 the Pegasus has never failed to thrill, but for tomorrow’s renewal we have an altogether different scenario. The purse has been condensed to $3 million and instead of containing the best dirt horses in the States the betting is headed by a Breeders’ Cup Mile winner in KNICKS GO opposed by mainly unusual foes for this calibre of race.

The worldwide Covid epidemic was always going to have its say on the amount of overseas runners and there’s no surprise that the international challenge is absent without leave. 

Twelve months ago several top notchers skipped Florida for the more valuable Saudi Cup, and the same situation now prevails with horses like Bob Baffert’s Charlatan heading for the Middle East.

And so the race that was introduced as a replacement for the Donn Handicap offers up its weakest field to date.

It’s been affected by a number of big name scratches, but who is to say we won’t get another memorable finish ?

One thing for sure is that KNICKS GO will attempt to wire the race. He’s three from three for the unstoppable Brad Cox and is perfectly suited by the speed favouring Gulfstream circuit. He has a favourite’s chance of landing the pot for owners the Korean Racing Authority.

Shadowing the leaders will be CODE OF HONOR, a past winner of the Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup and ridden for the first time by Gulfstream’s leading pilot Tyler Gaffalione.

I’ve always liked this horse, and met his trainer Shug McGaughey on my first visit to Gulfstream in 1989, the day in fact when Easy Goer fell to a peach of tactical rides by Chris McCarron on Sunday Silence in that unforgettable Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Talking to Shug, there’s a certain concern that his colt is posted wide, but equally a quiet confidence that with the strong pace he requires guaranteed, he can prevail.

TAX will look to put behind him a disappointing run in the corresponding race 12 months ago when he was sent off third favourite. His troubles began with a stumble leaving the stalls and from then on he ran with head on one side and didn’t want to know. The former Withers and Jim Dandy Stakes winner looked the part wiring a Grade 3 here and now competes over a slightly longer and more suitable trip.

Gulfstream specialist MR FREEZE is another to have on your mind and goes into all exotics. He valiantly tried to go gate to wire before being reeled-in late by Mucho Gusto in this race in 2020. He’s another for whom the draw could have been kinder, but his workouts suggest he’s going to be competitive.

Prediction: 1st CODE OF HONOR, 2nd Knicks Go, 3rd Tax, 4th Mr Freeze


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