Racing: Moore the minnow swims with sharks

Satulagi carries the flag for the small brigade

The focus at the Breeders' Cup meeting is understandably on the big fish, particularly the Ballydoyle operation and the Maktoum brothers and the clash between their super-stars George Washington and Bernardini. But don't forget the minnow among piranhas.

Stan Moore, sometime journeyman jump jockey and hitherto unheralded trainer, is joining Saturday's £20 million party. From his days on £2 a week as a downtrodden apprentice in Ireland it has been a long road and, he admits, an unlikely destination. "You always hope," he said, "but never in a zillion years did I think something like this would happen."

The 45-year-old Ulsterman has charge of Satulagi, a rare European challenger for the Juvenile Fillies' contest. The talented two-year-old is owned by a Dubai-based Scot, Jim Hay, who made his fortune in the construction industry and last year invested in the famous Uplands stables in Lambourn, from where multiple champion jumps trainer Fred Winter once sent out legends such as Bula, Crisp, and Pendil.

Moore moved in as the trainer in January, an opportunity embraced with relish and repaid with success. This season has proved his best, and he is adamant that this week's venture to Churchill Downs with Satulagi, fourth in the Group One Fillies' Mile at Ascot on the latest of her nine runs, is not a tilt at a windmill.

"She is a real battle-hardened filly," he said. "She'll stay the mile easily and goes on fast ground. It is a big ask, but she won't be disgraced.

"Her form is rock-solid, and at Ascot she was on ground much softer than ideal. But the great thing about her is her mind. Nothing gets to her and she's as tough in her attitude as they come. When you get a filly like that, they're diamonds."

Satulagi, a bargain $70,000 (£37,000) yearling, was the first horse Moore bought at an American sale. Coincidentally, her sire Officer and grandsire Bertrando both ran in the only two Breeders' Cup Juveniles to have been won by European challengers. Officer was fifth, as favourite, to Johannesburg in 2001, and Bertrando second to Arazi 10 years earlier.

The filly, who carries the colours of Hay's Indonesian-born wife, Fitri, will fly out to Kentucky today with the rest of the British contingent. "We'll do some work to get her used to the conditions during the week, spin her round a bend and get her used to jumping from the stalls with the bell," said Moore. "She should handle the surface OK, though; she's been placed at Lingfield and her sire was a good dirt horse."

Satulagi, whose name means "one more" in Indo-nesian, will be ridden by John Egan, also making his Breeders' Cup debut. "People have wondered perhaps why we haven't booked a local rider," said Moore, "but John knows her and he's hacked it with the best all over the world."

Moore, from Dromore in Co Down, began his racing life with Paddy Prendergast. "That was some tough station," he added. "I'm not sure many lads around today would survive it, but I suppose it's served me well. It shows you can get on in life without a silver spoon."

The Juvenile Fillies' with a purse of $2m (£1.54m) is the opening contest on the eight-race card. The European challenge for the Breeder's Cup is 16-strong, but playing away is hard and the team (Ryder Cup-style, the British, Irish and French start bonding against the Americans) have notched just 29 victories in 161 races. Most European success has, unsurprisingly, come in the three races run on grass: the Mile, the Turf and the Filly & Mare Turf. The Mile has provided nine wins for the raiders and this year sees their strongest numerical representation, with seven: Araafa, Librettist, Echo Of Light, Rob Roy, Sleeping Indian, Aussie Rules and Ad Valorem.

Twelve successes have come in the 12-furlong Turf, including six of the past seven. Hurricane Run, Scorpion and Red Rocks bid to extend the sequence, and in the female equivalent, which has gone to Europe in three of its five runnings, Ouija Board will be trying to repeat her win of two years ago.

But the race of the meeting is the finale, the $5m Classic, and the face-off between the pride of Ballydoyle, George Washington, and Sheikh Mohammed's US phenomenon, Bernardini, going for a seven-timer and backed up by two more top-notchers, Invasor and Lava Man. The 10-furlong dirt contest has been prised away from the locals only once in 22 years, by Arcangues in 1993.

EUROPE'S BEST HOPES

GEORGE WASHINGTON

It is the boldest of calls to switch the supremely talented but devilishly enigmatic three-year-old from the penalty-kick of the Mile. Another from Ballydoyle, Giant's Causeway, hit the bar in the Classic; it will be a sensation if this one can put one in the net.

OUIJA BOARD

Britain's globetrotting darling, trained by Ed Dunlop, has raced in seven countries, won in three and is coming to the end of her distinguished career. Won the Filly & Mare Turf two years ago in Texas and finished second last year in New York.

SCORPION

Last year's St Leger winner, a Turf contender, suffered an injury during the winter but made a splendid comeback on his seasonal debut at the Curragh three weeks ago. Aidan O'Brien's charge ran out of puff only at the end on ground far too soft.

ECHO OF LIGHT

Patience has been the watchword with the four-year-old, Sheikh Mohammed's favourite from the sole crop of ill-fated Dubai Millennium. On an upward curve, three from four this year, including on dirt at Lingfield.

News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence