Godolphin's Essential Quality eyes Breeders' Cup Juvenile victory at Keeneland
Godolphin's Essential Quality eyes Breeders' Cup Juvenile victory at Keeneland Image Credit: Courtesy Godolphin

Dubai: It’s been 11 years since Godolphin last won the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, one of the feature races on day one at the prestigious Breeders’ Cup meeting at Keeneland, USA, but the unbeaten colt Essential Quality looks to have the right credentials to end the Dubai-owned stable’s wait for another victory in the contest.

A victory over his 12 rivals will confirm the Godolphin-bred son of Tapit’s reputation as North America’s top two-year-old colt.

Trained by Brad Cox Essential Quality looked impressive when winning both his starts this season and bids for a second straight dirt Group 1 success over an extended mile at Keeneland following a dominant win in the Breeders’ Futurity on Saturday October 3.

Essential Quality, who will be ridden by Luis Saez, made an impressive debut over six furlongs at Churchill Downs in September, where recorded a powerful four-length victory.

His main rival appears to be Jackie’s Warrior who is unbeaten in four career starts.

Looking ahead to Friday’s race, Godolphin USA President Jimmy Bell said: “Essential Quality continues to improve with every start and we expect him to run a better race than in the Breeders’ Futurity.

“Jackie’s Warrior has the form and the experience, having shown his brilliance in both his G1 wins, but Essential Quality is an improving colt who we know handles two turns around Keeneland.

“I think the way the race unfolds will have a lot to do with the outcome. If Jackie’s Warrior breaks on top, leads them down to the first turn and backs them up down the backside, then he could be very difficult to catch.

“I believe that Essential Quality will be forwardly placed as we don’t want to be leaving ourselves with too much to do. Hopefully, he can take up a stalking position and work out a good trip as we know he finishes strongly.”

The undercard on day one of the Breeders’ Cup includes the Bryan Station Stakes over nine furlongs on turf, in which Godolphin’s Pixelate (Umberto Rispoli) drops down in class following three excellent efforts in Graded races for trainer Michael Stidham.