By George, Vancouver turns the tide

Moore brings Breeders' Cup solace to O'Brien but Excelebration finds the pace too hot in California

santa anita

So Frankel isn't the only horse who can make Excelebration look pedestrian. We will never know how the retired champion would have fared, if only his connections had dared to risk his unbeaten record at the Breeders' Cup. But we do know that the Americans have seldom had a turf miler like Wise Dan, who last night broke the track record here in a vintage race.

Excelebration, who became a standard gauge of Frankel's brilliance in Britain, just missed out on the podium as Wise Dan saw off the rallying 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom, in a thriller. Obviously, who controlled a less frantic pace than many had anticipated, held Excelebration at bay for third.

That shifted the European raiders over the margin between satisfaction and disappointment. The defeat in the Turf of his stablemate, St Nicholas Abbey, had left the visitors indebted to the meeting's expansion, five years ago, to accommodate two turf races for juveniles.

As one of several initiatives devised to fortify its status as the Turf's defining international carnival, these have proved a significant stimulus to European interest in the Breeders' Cup. On Friday's preliminary card, Flotilla had exported the fillies' race to France – albeit she might not have done so, had Richard Hughes had better fortune on Sky Lantern – and yesterday George Vancouver plundered the colts' prize for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore. The same pair had combined to win with Wrote, last year, and took the overall European tally to four wins from six runnings.

In fairness to Hughes and William Buick, who had endured a similarly vexing experience on The Fugue the previous day, Moore's tactics were more or less identical – with the difference that a stronger gallop almost guaranteed him a break in the straight. "Yesterday, they went quite steady in those races," Moore said. "When the pace is slow a lot of horses will still be travelling, turning in, and it's harder to find room. I only had a small gap, but I had so much horse that if anything I got there too soon."

So it was that George Vancouver, in west coast sunshine, took the Ballydoyle team to the other end of the spectrum from George Washington – their tragic loss in a New Jersey monsoon, five years previously. Placed in two of Europe's elite juvenile races, the Prix Morny and the Dewhurst, George Vancouver was brought here by O'Brien in the hope of fast ground. "He's been crying out for it all year," the Ballydoyle trainer said. "His dad was the same, Henrythenavigator. We've been destroyed with soft ground at home. Most races have been slogging races, not speed races. All this one needed was for the going to turn."

Clearly relishing the extra furlong, George Vancouver might yet have another crack at the Dewhurst winner, Dawn Approach, in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas – but O'Brien emphasised that fast ground would be "vital". Coral offer 20-1.

St Nicholas Abbey had himself bogged down in unsuitable ground at Longchamp last month. Not for the first time this year, however, St Nicholas Abbey was never closer than at the line in his bid to retain the Turf, beaten a little over a length in third behind Little Mike and Point Of Entry.

To the stable's patrons at Coolmore Stud, however, that reverse had already been rendered tolerable by a priceless success in the Juvenile itself, on the dirt track. Only days previously they had secured a deal to stand Shanghai Bobby on their Kentucky farm, as and when he eventually leaves Todd Pletcher's barn – and they suddenly find themselves on a historic mission. For Rosie Napravnik not only became only the second woman to ride a Breeders' Cup winner, after Julie Krone in 2003. On the assumption that she retains the mount next May, the 24-year-old will have a big chance of becoming the first of her sex to win the Kentucky Derby itself.

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
people
Life & Style
The new low cost smartphone of Motorola, 'Motorola Moto G', is displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 13, 2013. The smartphone, with dimensions 65.9mm W x 129.9mm H x 6.0 - 11.6mm D is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with quad-core 1,2 GHz CPU, a 4.5-inch display and Android Operating System 4.3 and a suggested price of $ 179 USD.
techData assessing smartphones has revealed tens of millions of phones are at risk of being harvested
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Pare as Megan Draper and Jon Hamm as the troubled, melancholy Don Draper
tvAnd six other questions we hope Mad Men series seven will answer
Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film
News
David Beckham is planning to build a stadium in Miami’s port for a new football team he will own
news... in his fight for a football stadium in Miami's port area
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed in ...

Eye for Detail?

£41000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Eye for Detail? S...

NGO and Community Development in Cambodia

Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...

Senior Infrastructure Consultant

£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...

Day In a Page

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?