Team Europe sticks to safe horizons for Breeders' Cup

 

Nothing, it seems, is quite so universal as insularity. Despite the best efforts of its organisers, the publication yesterday of entries for the 29th Breeders' Cup reiterated the challenge they face in matching its formal billing as the World Thoroughbred Championships.

For while the European raiding party looks up to scratch, in quality and quantity, it also reflects the work of narrower minds either side of the Atlantic.

Thanks to the maddeningly parochial scheduling of Qipco Champions Day, cheek by jowl with both the Arc meeting and the Breeders' Cup, Excelebration and Fame And Glory are the only two horses deemed hardy enough to proceed from Ascot last Saturday to Los Angeles next week. For their part, meanwhile, the American professional community – in urging Santa Anita to abandon its momentous experiment with a synthetic racing surface – has guaranteed that Frankel was only one of the European stars to abjure those races now staged back on dirt.

The two Breeders' Cups staged on a synthetic circuit at Santa Anita yielded unprecedented success for the raiders, with five winners in 2008 and six in 2009. This time round, however, they have dared just three entries in dirt races – and two of these, Fame And Glory and Sense Of Purpose, contest one that plays to another European strength, stamina, in the Marathon. Much credit is due, then, to Tom Dascombe for his enterprise in preparing Ceiling Kitty for the Juvenile Sprint.

In fairness to the Breeders' Cup management, Santa Anita's retreat to dirt was beyond their jurisdiction – and they continue to provoke their compatriots by dismantling other barriers to overseas competition, in eligibility, costs and medication. For the first time, Lasix will be prohibited in all the two-year-old races. It seems highly instructive, then, that only nine fillies and 10 colts have been mustered for the two showcase juvenile events on dirt. (Three of those fillies, moreover, have alternative engagements.)

In contrast, the turf races in this division have been oversubscribed – as another congenial innovation, from the European perspective – and bookmakers identify Sky Lantern (Richard Hannon) and Dundonnell (Roger Charlton) as favourites to export first prize.

John Gosden has long targeted The Fugue at the Filly and Mare Turf, but the mainstay of the raiding party is once again Aidan O'Brien. His nine candidates are headed by Excelebration, as short as 6-4 in places to follow up his Ascot rout in the Mile. With such a demanding fortnight in mind, O'Brien was careful to give him a light build-up after he endured the last of several thrashings by Frankel at Royal Ascot.

"He's only been with us one season and we've been learning a lot about him as we went along," O'Brien said. "We were testing him, and when we knew Frankel was going a different route we put together everything we learnt from that whole experience. We think he's got stronger and faster, and he has top form on every type of ground."

S t Nicholas Abbey defends the Turf, alongside Treasure Beach, while Starspangledbanner will go for the Turf Sprint if coming through his prep at Dundalk on Friday. Line Of Battle and George Vancouver give the stable a strong hand in the Turf Juvenile, while Up and Infanta Branca tackle the senior and junior fillies' races. As for Fame And Glory, the mission is a candid gamble.

"He has got a little bit clever," O'Brien admitted. "When the going got tough on that ground at Ascot, he just curled up a bit. The dirt is obviously an unknown, it's an experiment really, and he'll probably run in a visor." A useful reminder, perhaps, that those are only supposed to be worn by the horses.

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Miss Dashwood (6.10 Wolverhampton) Has made a good start in handicaps and, having travelled strongly throughout when scoring here last time, looks to have got away lightly with a 3lb rise.

Next best

Sea The Storm (9.10 Wolverhampton) Quickly finding his feet for a new stable, well clear of the pack when running a thriving rival to a neck last time.

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress among those on 'master list' of massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
News
i100
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

NQT and Experienced Primary Teachers Urgently required

£90 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: NQT and Experienced Primary Teac...

Year 1 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day + Excellent rates of pay, Free CPD: Randstad Education Sou...

Upper KS2 Primary Teacher in Bradford

£21000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Upper KS2 Primary Teacher...

KS1 Float Teacher

£90 - £130 per day + Excellent rates of pay : Randstad Education Southampton: ...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor