Hanson: Siding with European non-favorites on Canadian International Day

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

October 15th, 2016

Queen's Plate Day might be Canada's biggest day of racing, but for my money that provincial (no pun intended) affair is less intriguing than Canadian International Day, which attracts the eyes of the world.

The foreign participation runs very deep in Sunday's renewals of the Canadian International (G1) and the E.P. Taylor (G1), and forecasted rain might give the European raiders an edge in both contests. Here are my top selections in the big ones:

E.P. Taylor

Although there are lot of European-based fillies in the field, none particularly stood out class-wise on initial glance. I was almost going to side with the vastly-improved Rainha Da Bateria, who Chad Brown trained to fend off stablemate Dacita in last month's Canadian (G2), but at 4-1 on the morning line there's better value to be found elsewhere.

Nezwaah (#12, 12-1) has yet to win on turf (all three wins have come on synthetic surfaces), but two very good reasons for her most recent losses have been La Cressonniere and So Mi Dar, both of whom are among the best three-year-old fillies in Europe. Nezwaah finished closer than she normally would have to So Mi Dar in a listed stakes at Yarmouth last month considering that rival wasn't at peak performance, but she did out-finish Arabian Queen, a four-year-old past her prime but notably the upset winner over Golden Horn of last year's Juddmonte International (G1).

Nezwaah has the look of an improving filly with relatively less exposure than some of her fellow continentals. I'll take her at that price.

Canadian International

Protectionist famously won the 2014 Melbourne Cup (G1), but soured on the remainder of his stay in Australia. Since returning home to Germany, he's won three straight comfortably. He's arguably the best horse in the race, while three-year-old Idaho unluckily stumbled in the St Leger (G1) unseating his rider. I'll use both in my doubles with Nezwaah, but my win money will go on Dartmouth (#5, 7-2), who seeks to give trainer Sir Michael Stoute his third consecutive win in this race.

Owned by The Queen, Dartmouth has dropped two straight, but earned a solid win earlier this year in the Hardwicke (G2) at Royal Ascot, beating eventual Arc (G1) runner-up Highland Reel by a head. He also figures stronger in his second start off a layoff following a second in the Arc Trial (G3) at Newbury, where he didn't have the clearest of runs.

Play for 2 Million Points Canadian International Day:  If you like turf racing over a sweeping European-style turf course, Woodbine is the track to play this Sunday on Twinspires. Plus, you can compete for an extra 2 Million TSC Elite Points while you’re at it.

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(Dartmouth photo: Racing Post)