BC Internationals: Mile contender Hit It a Bomb
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) hero looked a doubtful proposition to make the cut for the Mile (G1), buried in 23rd (!) as the absolute last in the order of preference after the pre-entries. Furthermore, several ranked above him had listed the Mile as their preferred option, implying that there wouldn’t be enough defections to clear the way for him.
But in a Halloween surprise, the others chose to go elsewhere, and Hit It a Bomb sneaked in as the third of Aidan O’Brien’s trio (along with leading fancy Alice Springs and Cougar Mountain). You might call him the stealth bomber.
A year ago, Hit It a Bomb came to Keeneland as an unbeaten prospect, and the War Front colt made good:
As his rock-bottom position at the pre-entry stage indicated, Hit It a Bomb doesn’t have nearly the same cache this time around. He got a belated start to his three-year-old season, not resurfacing until the August 11 Desmond (G3) at Leopardstown, where he made a solid comeback. Striking the front before his lack of fitness told, he was an encouraging third.
Hit It a Bomb turned in another useful third in the Boomerang (G2), back over the same course and one-mile distance, during Irish Champions Weekend. He left himself a fair bit to do in the stretch, but stayed on and lost by a couple of lengths to Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) winner Awtaad.
In his third start off the layoff, Hit It a Bomb took a substantial step up in class in the Queen Elizabeth II (G1) on Champions Day, but floundered up the course in ninth. Fifth-placer Awtaad beat him by a far greater margin here than he did in their prior meeting.
This limited campaign isn’t much to go on, but Hit It a Bomb hasn’t progressed as had been hoped. Is he a War Front who hasn’t trained on at three, a la Air Force Blue? His baby full sister, Brave Anna, has taken up the mantle of juvenile stardom by winning this season’s Albany (G3) at Royal Ascot and most recently upsetting the Cheveley Park (G1). Her exploits have only reinforced the precocity theory.
Or might a return stateside revive Hit It a Bomb’s fortunes? Tackling a ferociously competitive Mile isn’t the best way to find out.
Photo by Bob Newell/Horsephotos.com