Racing: Ouija Board the Texas trailblazer

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The Independent Online

It seems, from the British and Irish perspective at least, that the venue for this year's Breeders' Cup is most appropriate. Lone Star Park in Texas is where racing's Olympics will be held on Saturday week and Ouija Board stands as the sole luminary from these parts travelling to Grand Prairie.

It seems, from the British and Irish perspective at least, that the venue for this year's Breeders' Cup is most appropriate. Lone Star Park in Texas is where racing's Olympics will be held on Saturday week and Ouija Board stands as the sole luminary from these parts travelling to Grand Prairie.

It appears a cowboy mentality has set in. Lone Star Park is the smallest site in 21 runnings of the Breeders' Cup and the reason for its appearance on the roster is unclear. It could indeed be that the event executive are keen to spread their favours around North America, but then it could also be a state desire to get hold of the championships, because what Texans want they usually tend to get.

For those whose knowledge of the Lone Star State (and this number may include the British and Irish trainers and owners who have absented themselves) rely on Randolph Scott movies and Dallas there are urban and outback myths at play.

The horses will be not be running past blanched skulls and cactus in America's second largest state. The temperature is likely to be about 60 degrees. The track itself, by legend as tight as Walthamstow, is in fact no different in circumference from Santa Anita in Los Angeles, the venue 12 months ago.

No British horse has ever run at Lone Star, but then neither has a particularly good American one as the track has never staged a Grade One race. The time difference of six hours is not particularly demanding for European horses, whose connections can calm themselves with the thought that the domestic team will all also have to ship outside a normal time zone. There are as many positives as negatives here for Team Europe.

The Ouija Board camp, at least, appear to have done their homework. The dual Oaks winner, who was third home in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, has a choice of targets. There is the easier option of the Filly & Mare Turf or the alternative of a showdown against the colts in the Turf.

"We wouldn't be worried about taking on the colts again," Peter Stanley said yesterday. Stanley is Lord Derby's racing manager - one of the globe's easier postings as his lordship has just one horse in training. "She's been up there with the best of the colts this year, as she proved in the Arc. She wouldn't look out of place in that race.

"We have had people look at the track for us and it is tighter than she is used to, but she's got a good turn of foot which should stand her in good stead there."

Ouija Board, who will fly out on Monday, is to be the mount of Kieren Fallon, who has acknowledged that his championship has gone to Frankie Dettori. The Irishman gave up his seven booked rides at Pontefract yesterday as he said he was suffering from a 'flu-like illness.

Fallon, who now expects to return at Nottingham tomorrow, received confirmation of a another big-race ride yesterday when it was announced that Michael Bell's much-touted Motivator would run in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday.

Breeders' Cup (Lone Star Park, 30 Oct) Coral odds:

Turf: 9-4 Kittens Joy, 3-1 Ouija Board, 5-1 Powerscourt, 8-1 Acropolis & Magistretti, 12-1 Kicken Kris & Star Over The Bay, 16-1 Balto Star, 20-1 Sarafan, 25-1 Better Talk Now, Polish Summer & Vangelis, 33-1 Request For Parole.

Mile: 4-1 Six Perfections, 5-1 Nothing To Lose, 6-1 Special Ring, 8-1 Whipper, 10-1 Artie Schiller & Cacique, 12-1 Blackdoun, 14-1 Antonius Pius, Mr O'Brien & Soaring Free, 16-1 Singletary, 20-1 Honor In War, 25-1 Silver Tree.

Filly & Mare Turf: 7-4 Ouija Board, 6-1 Crimson Palace & Light Jig, 7-1 Nebraska Tornado, 12-1 Riskaverse & Yesterday, 16-1 Film Maker, Megahertz, Moscow Burning, Necklace, Stage Shy, Stay Forever & Wonder Again, 20-1 Dimitrova & Katdogawn,

Classic: 7-4 Pleasantly Perfect, 11-2 Ghostzapper, 6-1 Birdstone, 8-1 Roses In May, 10-1 Funny Cide, 12-1 Powerscourt, 16-1 Azeri, 20-1 Perfect Drift & Personal Rush, 25-1 Dynever, Fantasticat & Freefourinternet.

European Winners: 11-10 None, 7-4 One, 7-2 Two, 14-1 Three, 33-1 Four or more.

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