Two scoring races on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby are set for Wednesday, both over a mile on Polytrack. The Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions race at Kempton has drawn a field of 10. The Patton S. at Dundalk, originally scheduled for March 1, was postponed when the track canceled in the midst of the card. Final declarations for the Patton will be announced Tuesday.
The Kempton race, won last year by Gronkowski, pits Triple Crown nominee Spanish Mission against the streaking Jahbath.
Spanish Mission was purchased privately by Earle Mack and Team Valor after his good-looking victory second time out at Chelmsford last November. The David Simcock trainee now cuts back in trip from 1 1/4 miles and tackles a much larger field, but he’s a very interesting type. By Frankel’s full brother Noble Mission – also the sire of Fountain of Youth (G2) hero Code of Honor – Spanish Mission is out of the stakes-winning Limonar by Street Cry, the sire of Zenyatta and Winx.
Jahbath isn’t Triple Crown nominated, but he is eligible for the Derby (G1) at Epsom. The Sheikh Hamdan runner also holds an engagement in the UAE Derby (G2) (like Spanish Mission), and he’s the one to beat here on a three-race winning spree. Trained by William Haggas, Jahbath has been favored in all four starts. Since missing by a neck in his turf debut, he’s been unbeatable on synthetic, including two scores at this track and trip in the fall. Jahbath has a recency edge over Spanish Mission, having crushed two foes in a Southwell handicap on January 24.
Daafr could be sitting on an improved effort for John Gosden, considering that he’s making his first start as a gelding and his first since undergoing surgery to correct a breathing problem. Although his turf form is forgettable, he was regarded well enough to try the Superlative (G2) during Newmarket’s July Festival, and the well-bred son of Invincible Spirit has won or placed in all of his outings on synthetic.
Chairmanoftheboard romped in his first start on soft going at Goodwood, but disappointed when sixth as the favorite in the October 27 Horris Hill (G3) at Newbury. Trainer Mick Channon has given him an early entry in the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1), so this synthetic debut could be the kickoff to bigger turf targets.
Getchagetchagetcha is another trying synthetic for the first time. Although he hasn’t hit the board since capturing his debut last May, the Clive Cox sophomore has been pitched into tough spots. He was in over his head in the Coventry (G2) at Royal Ascot, but not disgraced when a troubled fourth in the Vintage (G2) at Glorious Goodwood.
The Andrew Balding-trained Rectory Road is two-for-two at this course, but now faces stronger company. So does Target Zone, who steps up from a track-and-trip maiden win. Greybychoice scored his lone win by default, in a Lingfield walkover, and Amplify remains a maiden after starts. Creationist would have been an intriguing contender on the upswing, but he’s already scratched.
You can watch and wager on Kempton's Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions race on TwinSpires.com. Post time for the points race, carded as the 5TH, is 2 p.m. (EST) Wednesday.
The Patton will take place a few minutes later at Dundalk. Each offers the same points structure, on a 20-8-4-2 scale to the respective top four, so we will have new leaders on the European Road come Wednesday afternoon.