One of the biggest and best events towards the end of the racing calendar is the Breeder Cup meeting in America. With long distance traveling, hot weather and different surfaces to contend with, the Europeans are often at a disadvantage when trying to compete with the American horses. However, when it comes to the races on turf, Europe holds the key.
The Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf is a race the European trainers target and a race they have had success in recently. Last year, Queen’s Trust, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, won the race, partnered by experienced Italian Frankie Dettori. That was a third win in the race for Stoute, one he clearly targets as many of the European trainers do.
Looking ahead to this year’s meeting, the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf has been targeted again by the European trainers, as has the Breeders Cup Turf. It is expected that we will see a strong European challenge in both of these races. It comes as no surprise that these two races are two of the races where European trainers hold the advantage.
Both races have two things in common. Firstly, they are run on turf, the same surface that European horses have been running on all season. All the big races in Europe are held on turf and during the summer months; that means the best horses in Europe are all comfortable with running on a fast surface, exactly the type of conditions they are going to face at the Breeders Cup meeting.
The second thing is that these two races are run over the distances of 1M4F (Breeders Cup Turf) and 1M2F (Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf). It is over these distances where the true European greats run, with so many huge prizes and classics at these distances, or close to them. Many of the biggest breeding operations in Europe are centered around breeding horses to run at these distances, meaning Europe is full of great animals that are specially bred to compete in these races.
European trainers are expected to do well in these two races in particular, and this year they look to have an exceptionally strong challenge. The bookmakers show Europe have a strong group of challengers ready to head over to the States, although there's a wealth of races to get through in the UK in the meantime; Betsafe's latest horse racing betting page lists events at Pontefract and Salisbury, among other meets.
Alongside stable mate Queen’s Trust on the plane will be Ulysses, who won the Group 1 Coral Eclipse earlier this season. He gives Sir Michael Stoute two great chances in the two races where Euorpean horses are expected to dominate. He isn’t the only one heading over to America; Aidan O’Brien, Roger Varian and Charlie Appleby also have fancied contenders in these two races.
The Breeders Cup is on the horizon and the Europeans look set to challenge once more. They may only target specific races but the ones they do are where they hold the advantage. It looks like a couple of the big prize money pots on offer could be heading back to Europe in 2017.