Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Time to Dispel Our Weary Cup Myths

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Time to Dispel Our Weary Cup Myths

Article excerpt


IF you believe our most high-profile trainers, we're beaten before we've even arrived for Saturday's 20th renewal of America's [pounds sterling]8.36million Breeders' Cup event. It's a predictable reaction considering how arrogant we were when the Breeders' Cup first started in 1984. Our horses were flung across the Atlantic to face America's best as an afterthought to a full European season, with little consideration given to how different training, riding and racing is over there. We deserved to bomb and bomb we did.

In the first 10 years of the Breeders' Cup, Britain won only two of the 70 races despite sending our best thoroughbreds over there. The excuses: well, there have been many ranging from American tracks being too tight to an unsuitable climate.

It's pathetic. We're guilty of seizing excuses instead of examining what we actually did wrong and putting it right.

Some are learning, however, like Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien, who has proved with his preparation of Hold That Tiger that he understands how he lost his Breeders' Cup races with slow starts last year. Just look at the past nine years: five winners, three of those in the last four years. So, we're getting better all the time.

Now let's look at some myths. Luca Cumani, who runs Falbrav in the Turf, tells us this year's Breeders' Cup venue - California's Santa Anita - is "where the Brits have the worst record". "You are flying further, there is a greater change of time zone and the change of climate is greater," he added.

We Brits are nought for 13 at that venue, but we haven't been back since 1993. And if Cumani is right, how come French trainers won a race at both previous Santa Anita-hosted Breeders' Cups?

John Gosden supposedly wants to 'rip up a sad list of excuses', but excuses are all he's offering for Oasis Dream. …

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