Racing: O'Brien marshals Europe's gang on the Lone Star trail

For the host Americans at least they may be the dirty dozen, the European representation which was yesterday confirmed as the raiding party to wrest the spoils from Breeders' Cup XXI, the event which has become billed as the world thoroughbred championships.

Lone Star Park in Texas is, for the first time, the site for the peripatetic series of races on Saturday week and the EU beasts with the greatest opportunity are considered to be Six Perfections, who attempts to do a Miesque and defend a Mile crown won 12 months ago at Santa Anita, and Ed Dunlop's dual Oaks winner Ouija Board.

The latter, who was also third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, is just one of two British entrants in company with Wilko, the Jeremy Noseda-trained juvenile on a one-way ticket as he will remain in the United States for the rest of his career.

There are, unusually, no representatives from the mighty Godolphin team, though their competitors for the European throne, the Ballydoyle/Coolmore axis, provides the spine of the European challenge with five runners. It may not have been the most glorious of seasons for Aidan O'Brien's stable, but one afternoon in the fall at Grand Prairie could change all that.

The arrival of the Breeders' Cup meet is no afterthought for the management at Lone Star. They were pitching for this celebrated equine circus before the footings were put in at the track which opened only in 1997.

Theirs is not the most extravagant of locations - the introduction of 38,000 temporary seats will take the anticipated on-course audience up to just over 51,000 - but it does represent a shift in policy by the organisers. Two years ago, Arlington Park in Chicago had its first go as hosts, as will Monmouth Park in New Jersey in three years' time. There remains a glimmer that the series will, in time, find its way to Europe. "I never say never about that some day," D G Van Clief jnr, president of Breeders' Cup Ltd, said yesterday.

The Boadicea that Britain must follow this time is Ouija Board, who flies out on Monday but whose target will be announced two days later. Lord Derby's filly has a favourite's chance in the Filly & Mare Turf, in which she is rated 5lb higher than anything else in the field. Yet she also has possibilities against the colts in the Turf, for which the domestic titan Kitten's Joy leads the market though Ouija Board has 1lb on him according to the handicappers.

Dunlop was concentrating on cake yesterday as he celebrated his 36th birthday, but also mulling over factors which will determine whether he will be able to eat it. Ouija Board worked well over seven furlongs yesterday for big-race jockey Kieren Fallon and now has to survive only a routine blow-out on Saturday to book her passage. Then there will be other problems to combat.

"The key is that she gets there sound and travels well," Dunlop said. "She has a fantastic temperament. She is so laid- back and doesn't worry about a thing. She's become a little film star - she doesn't bat an eyelid.

"She lost 12 kilos in the Arc - the least she has lost in a race this year. She's put that back on and gained two kilos. That's a good sign, and she's good in her coat. She's getting more mature."

Ouija Board will be Dunlop's fourth runner at these games. "We have gained a lot of experience from those visits, but we realise what a tough challenge it is," the trainer added. "Many champions have been there before and have been beaten and, if we come away with anything, we will be thrilled."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test