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A European Breeders’ Cup Preview | Superfectablog v3.0

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June: Fairy Chant
b. 1937
Why: A champion at 3 and 4, Fairy Chant won the Beldame twice. She was in the money for 26 of her 42 races.

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A European Breeders’ Cup Preview

It’s a bit of a quiet week; Curlin had a workout to prep for the Jockey Club Gold Cup on the 27th and Colonel John became one of the first Breeders’ Cup contenders to work over Santa Anita’s new surface. Like Big Brown and a number of other potential starters, he will not have another race before the big day (although one hopes that the Classic will be more of a career resurgence for Colonel John, rather than the final act). Big Brown is unlikely to arrive in California more than a few days before the event, so the Polytrack will be just as new to him as it will be to many of the other potential starters.

Speaking of new surfaces, Duke of Marmalade may become one of the first high-profile stars to take to the track at the new Great Leighs racecourse – that’s if he skips the Arc, of course. The track will be staging a Breeders’ Cup ‘trials‘ card on the 27th and it seems they have earned the support of the Breeders’ Cup organization, after a long-delayed opening for the new facility and its all-weather track. The Saturday evening event will be broadcast in the US on TVG. (And yes, this is the first I’ve heard about it as well).

It seems that the new surface at Santa Anita and the chance to earn world bragging rights may indeed prove a strong pull for the European contingent:

This in turn raises the distinct possibility that four of the top six horses in the world on ratings – Duke Of Marmalade, Curlin, Big Brown and New Approach – could line up for the same event, with the winner emerging as a true global champion.

This is just what the Breeders’ Cup needs if it is to justify its boast that is the “world championship” of racing. Twenty-four years after the event was first staged, this year’s Cup could mark a new beginning, if Europe’s owners and trainers have the imagination to rise to the challenge.

I will be particularly intrigued if New Approach does come to California; he’s been somewhat overlooked, given the sheer number of stars Ballydoyle is turning out and the ongoing Big Brown/Curlin trash talking, but the Jim Bolger trainee may be the most versatile horse in the bunch:

Fact is, of course, New Approach already has the perfect CV for the modern stallion. Four times a Group One winner, champion juvenile and a Derby winner, who has won from seven furlongs to a mile and a half. A win on an artificial surface would be the icing on the cake.

One would also hope he would remain in training beyond the autumn as well; he may have been a champion at two and been outstanding this year, but he still only has seven lifetime starts. This year’s 3-year-old crop in Europe (including fillies Zarkava and Goldikova) seems to be as deep as the North American (male) version is weak; it’s going to be an interesting showdown if all the top names all ship over.

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