George Scott has revealed that Frankie Dettori played a leading role in the decision to send James Garfield to Del Mar for tomorrow’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
No jockey has won the eight-furlong Grade 1 race on more occasions than the Italian, whose three triumphs came in 2008, 2009 and 2014.
Dettori is also no stranger to James Garfield’s sprinting credentials, having partnered him to victory in September’s Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.
It was a performance that rubber-stamped Dettori’s staunch belief that the son of Exceed and Excel could be a contender in California, and Scott is in full agreement.
“Frankie has been beating the drum about this race for a little while,” said the Saffron Stables-based trainer.
“He is very excited about James Garfield’s chances in the Juvenile Turf and he certainly knows a thing or two about winning it.
“The horse went from a boy to a man with victory in the Mill Reef.
“It has been an unbelievable 12 months for him. He is a talented horse that is improving all the time.
“You have to be very fast to win the Juvenile Turf, which he proved he is at Newbury.”
The trip across The Atlantic will throw up a series of unknowns for the two-year-old, who is co-owned by Scott’s father-in-law and brother-in-law, Bill and Tim Gredley.
James Garfield has never previously run overseas or over a mile, while the Del Mar track is notoriously a tight one to navigate.
Scott, though, is taking a laid back approach, insisting that the horse has already exceeded expectations in 2017.
“There are plenty of new scenarios but we have no major worries about those,” he added.
“There is certainly nothing that I will be losing any sleep over.
“He is a very well balanced horse and has done well on some of the tight tracks we have worked on.
“Ultimately, this a special horse that has achieved much more than we expected.
“He has done everything he can for us and the family — anything more is a bonus.”
James Garfield is third favourite to triumph in America, with Charlie Appleby’s Masar — currently priced as the 9/2 joint favourite — and Richard Spencer’s Rajasinghe also flying the flag for HQ.