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Head praises Gold-en girl

FREDDIE Head made his first appearance on the Churchill Downs track to supervise his history-seeking mare Goldikova in a six-furlong breeze on the dirt course yesterday.

Head, pictured below talking to reporters at Churchill Downs, then delivered a poignant assessment of what training the three-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner has meant to him.

Once again, Goldikova was the centre of attention as she formed part of the string of seven French-trained Breeders' Cup runners that went out at 8.30am, with Head accompanying her on a pony.

The horses walked a circuit of the course and then Goldikova engaged in her pleasing breeze.

When asked what training the six-year-old had meant to him, Head said: "Having Goldikova in my stable has never been something I have taken for granted, because she really is an exceptional horse.

"I have seen horses that are perhaps as good as her, or maybe even better on a particular day, but I have never seen or known one who has been so consistent at the top level.

"She has never had a day off in her life and has never given me any problems, and that is astonishing.

"I'm very happy that she's finishing on such a high-profile occasion, but on the other hand, I'm very sad that she will be leaving me because she's been part of my life for the past five years."

Sarafina was again on her toes and looking keyed up for her tilt at the Breeders' Cup Turf, and her trainer, Alain de Royer-Dupre, was expected to be at Churchill Downs today.

Earlier in the morning several of the other European candidates worked under floodlights.

These included Marathon hope Meeznah and Juvenile Turf runner Caspar Netscher, while some of Aidan O'Brien's team stretched their legs, including Filly & Mare Turf-bound Misty For Me.

RUBy Walsh is waiting to see if his five-day ban under the new whip rules is overturned after his appeal was heard by the British Horseracing Authority this morning.

The Irish jockey was incensed at being found guilty of using the whip with excessive frequency when winning on Edgardo Sol in the Betfred Bundles Novices' Limited Handicap Chase at Aintree on October 22.

He was deemed to have hit his mount once more than the permitted eight times.