Classic success seals glory night for Europe

Dettori enjoys Cup victory on thunderous Raven's Pass as Gosden's gamble pays the ultimate dividend. By Chris McGrath at Santa Anita

A day of joyous renewal for the Breeders' Cup, albeit that this may not be quite the way the hosts view things. First the Europeans reiterated their traditional hegemony on the grass, thanks to a bewitching evocation of Miesque from Goldikova in the Mile, and a breakthrough on the international stage for Ryan Moore on Conduit in the Turf. But the impudent, thunderous success of Raven's Pass in the Classic may mean that the Americans will take rather longer to embrace the revolution in their racing surfaces.

Last year, at Monmouth Park, the pretensions of the Breeders' Cup to being the apex of international horseracing seemed to dissolve in rain and tears. To many European eyes, an insidious stagnation in the carnival acquired a revolting finality that day, when George Washington broke down in a dangerous slop. But it is hard to imagine a more redemptive scene than this: champions divided by oceans, but not by the surface under their feet, measuring each other safely and fairly on a synthetic track – all under cloudless Californian skies.

Expanded to 14 races, over two days, the Breeders' Cup has been restored as an authentic international carnival, and found a fitting climax in the field assembled for the greatest race in the American sport. The favourite was the richest runner in Turf history in Curlin, perhaps the last of the old-fashioned dirt champions, but on the new surface the Europeans were more than willing to take him on.

Aidan O'Brien declined less demanding options at the end of long seasons for both Henrythenavigator and Duke Of Marmalade. But it was John Gosden's audacious gamble on the stamina of Raven's Pass that paid the massive dividend. Frankie Dettori, replacing the ill-named Jimmy Fortune, tracked Curlin as the favourite made his move into the straight – and his mount was moving so smoothly that you dreaded the uncharted distance ahead. But he quickened past Curlin and at no stage looked likely to yield to the brave finish of another upgraded miler, Henrythenavigator. Tiago stayed on best from the rear for third, with Curlin one-paced in fourth.

It was a stunning return to California for Gosden, who began his training career here. He had earlier saddled Donativum to win the Juvenile Turf, only hours after his recent Newmarket victim, Crowded House, had gilded the form at Doncaster. Dettori – wearing the same Raven's Pass silks of Sheikh Mohammed's wife, Princess Haya – just denied Johnny Murtagh on Westphalia.

Sheikh Mohammed's own silks were also successful in the Juvenile itself, Midshipman ostensibly volunteering himself as a Kentucky Derby candidate – and, what is more, one in the hands of a man who has been there and got the job done in Bob Baffert. Of course, Churchill Downs is still persevering with its old dirt track for now, so Midshipman must prove his versatility first, and conceivably he may also leave Baffert's care for Godolphin, too.

As for Conduit, he ran down Eagle Mountain in the closing stages, his stamina coming into play in a race run at a relentless gallop. That was largely thanks to the way Murtagh clung to his pacemaker on Solider Of Fortune, who plugged on for third but found the ground too firm. Sir Michael Stoute's record with older horses guarantees more to follow next season.

O'Brien, meanwhile, was left to rue a barren streak at the Breeders' Cup stretching back to 2003. Instead this was a day to celebrate the breakthrough of Freddie Head into the international elite of trainers. Goldikova's was his ninth Group One success of the year, and made him the first man to ride and train a Breeders' Cup winner. He won the same race twice on Miesque, down the road at Hollywood Park in 1987 and then in Louisville the following year, and was happy to salute Goldikova as an equal.

Full of running on the heels of the leaders in the home turn, she dashed through a gap early in the stretch and pulled serenely clear in a matter of strides. Kip Deville, last year's winner, reduced the winning margin to a length and a quarter but Goldikova was in a class of her own.

The tone had been set by the remarkable emergence of Muhannak, who sealed Ralph Beckett's breakthrough season by winning the Marathon, barely a year after winning a Kempton handicap off 76. For this was a day that dismantled many different frontiers.

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio talks during the press conference for the film
films

Film follows park rangers in the Congo

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
Sport
Adel Taraabt in action for QPR against West Ham earlier this month
footballQPR boss says midfielder is 'not fit to play football'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

History Teacher

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Seconda...

** Female PE Teacher Urgently Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

** Cover Supervisors Urgently Required In Knowsley **

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Seconda...

Java developer - (Intershop Enfinity)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Java Developer...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album