Win fails to restore Big Brown's repute

The aura of invincibility that had surrounded Big Brown as he strode imperiously through the first two legs of the American Triple Crown and which was burst by his defeat in the Belmont Stakes can now be consigned to the past. True, he was victorious in a $1m race at Monmouth Park, New Jersey, on Sunday night but the manner of his victory was such that the bookmakers lengthened, rather than shortened, his odds for the Breeders' Cup Classic. Instead, in their books for the autumn showdown of champions they tightened up on Henrythenavigator, a horse that had won more narrowly than Big Brown last week but is trained by a man called Aidan O'Brien – now there is invincibility.

Big Brown showed plenty of determination in returning to a winning path in the Haskell Invitational, and had almost two lengths to spare at the line, but it all looked rather hard work for Kent Desormeaux in the saddle.

The winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, who was virtually pulled up when becoming the latest horse to fail in the last leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, outfought the long-time leader, Coal Play, in the race's final yards.

"Big Brown stuck out his neck and went and got them," Desormeaux said. "He showed his true class. He made a lead change and showed another gear. He's back."

Not so, say the bookmakers. Coral eased Big Brown to 5-1, from 4-1, for the Classic, which this year will be run on an artificial surface at Santa Anita, while Henrythenavigator was nipped to 4-1 joint favourite. Last year's Classic winner, Curlin, is the other 4-1 market leader, although he remains a possible for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on 5 October, which would hardly be the perfect prep for a race in California less than three weeks later. Zenyatta is next in the betting, at 8-1, after her Grade Two win at Del Mar on Saturday. Ladbrokes have been even more decisive, cutting O'Brien's colt to 3-1 and easing Big Brown to 8-1.

As a reminder of the importance of the Breeders' Cup to European owners and trainers, Freddie Head yesterday announced a new plan for Sunday's impressive Prix Rothschild winner Goldikova. She is to be campaigned with Santa Anita in mind, although the target has yet to be defined. "There is the Distaff [over nine furlongs, now called the Ladies' Classic], the Filly & Mare Turf, or the Mile," Head said. "We'll see, but she will stick to a mile in Europe. She will go to the Prix du Moulin next [on 7 September], and won't run in the Prix Jacques le Marois."

For Head that means avoiding a confrontation with another of his stable stars, the Prix Jean Prat winner Tamayuz. "I left the choice for the owners, but of course I am happy she will not clash with Tamayuz. The Wertheimers [the owners] had the choice, but said they wanted to go to America. Goldikova is very fast and I wouldn't be afraid of running her over six furlongs."

Head's other Group One performer, Marchand D'Or, will try for a third Prix Maurice de Gheest win at Deauville this Sunday. "He is very well, as well as before the July Cup," Head said.

In hat-trick form at Naas in Ireland yesterday was Johnny Murtagh, fresh from picking up the top jockey award at Glorious Goodwood. With an eye to future success the important win was on Black Bear Island for Ballydoyle in a maiden race.

A full-brother to the 2002 Derby winner, High Chaparral, he was introduced into Epsom betting at 20-1 by Stan James to follow his sibling to glory in 2009.

BREEDERS' CUP CLASSIC (Santa Anita, 25 October) Coral: 4-1 Curlin, Henrythenavigator, 5-1 Big Brown, 8-1 Zenyatta, 12-1 Colonel John, 14-1 Casino Drive, Well Armed, 16-1 Commentator, Go Between, Harlem Rocker, Macho Again, Mast Track, New Approach, Pyro.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot