New Breeders' Cup incentives will boost European participation - Racing - Sport - The Independent

New Breeders' Cup incentives will boost European participation

In racing, Europeans tend to discover evidence of parochialism in the United States faster than you can say "Baseball World Series". But the real insularity comes in the failure, this side of the water, to grasp momentous efforts being made by the Breeders' Cup to justify its billing as the World Thoroughbred Championships.

Though so far received as little more than a bureaucratic footnote, there is a case for wondering whether the latest such initiative will prove one of the most significant in the history of the international sport. For with a single stroke, the Breeders' Cup has dismantled the barriers that have historically confined European participation to a minority blessed by unusual luck or resources. Up until now, overseas horses that were not nominated as foals – an utterly random blessing – could only be entered for an eye-watering supplementary fee. It could cost as much as $250,000 (£160,000 at current rates) to supplement a horse to the Breeders' Cup Classic. And this was even true of those that won the various challenge races which guarantee a starting berth at the Breeders' Cup – marketed, rather speciously, as the "Win and you're in" series.

Now all bets are off. Instead of leaving it to owners of each individual foal to find $500 to nominate, from 2011 the Breeders' Cup will automatically register all stock by overseas stallions whose owners pay 50 per cent of a single covering fee for each relevant crop. No stud farm with the faintest commercial self-respect will fail to absorb that expense. As a result, the organisers hope that overseas eligibility for the Breeders' Cup will soar from 1,200 horses to 20,000.

What is more, next year the "qualifying" programme will be exactly that. The winners will have their entry fees paid along with a travel bursary. This transforms the landscape for winners of several elite prizes in Europe. No longer need connections ask why they should pay so much to go to the Breeders' Cup when generous subsidies tempt them to Hong Kong and Dubai.

The timing of the announcement offers precious succour to the Europeans, just when it seemed as though conservative, vested interests in the American sport had fatally reversed the progress made over the past two years. Last month it was announced that the synthetic surface at Santa Anita – springboard to unprecedented European success at the 2008 and 2009 Breeders' Cups – is to be dug up, and replaced by the sort of traditional dirt track that has long seemed inimical to turf horses. Both this autumn and next, moreover, the series returns to dirt at Churchill Downs in Kentucky.

To Europeans, the controversies over the new tracks – primarily their properties in terms of equine welfare – had seemed to show the best and worst of America. On the one hand, there were those ready to compromise, to assimilate other cultures in the hope of producing something better; on the other, some could not care less about the global resonance of what they were doing so long as they were comfortable with it (starting, you suspect, with the huge fees commanded by some dirt stallions). That the Breeders' Cup is prepared to again challenge the reactionaries – who immediately objected that the new nomination scheme was prejudicial to North Americans – represents evidence that the return to dirt at Santa Anita was only a battle lost, not a war.

Closer to home there are some decent midweek distractions today. Sandown and Yarmouth stage Listed races, while Listowel celebrates one of the first big chases of the Irish campaign, the Guinness Kerry National.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Sennockian Storm (5.0 Yarmouth) Far more scope for improvement than some exposed rivals here and a pedigree that entitles her to prove considerably better than her initial rating after a decisive maiden success last at Ffos Las.

Next best

Pausanias (8.10 Kempton) Well regarded colt who had little trouble running down a more experienced rival at Goodwood – the runner-up franked the form at Chester last weekend.

One to watch

Musnad (B W Hills) Has a fine pedigree and was last off the bridle on his debut in a hot maiden at Doncaster last week.

Where the money's going

Paddy O'Prado, winner of the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington last month, is 8-1 from 12-1 with William Hill for the Breeders' Cup Turf.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
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

Recruitment Consultant - Soho - IT, Pharma, Public Sector

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week