On the surface, it was business as usual in Breeders’ Cup turf racing. Aidan O’Brien found success with Meditate , Victoria Road and Tuesday while Charlie Appleby continued his fantastic Breeders’ Cup record thanks to mischievous magic , modern games and The Rebels novel .
It looks like all is well with the British and Irish races after another strong international result, but is that really the case?
The success and dominance of O’Brien and Appleby on the British and Irish shores needs no introduction, and the fact that it was these two coaches, backed by their immensely wealthy and infinitely successful owners, suggests that all may not be well.
There have been talks about a potential monopoly of the top British and Irish breeds, and results like this won’t do much to deter people from that view.
We all want to see the best horses in the best races – that’s not to argue – but the Breeders’ Cup showed that the conglomeration of Europe’s top talent heading to the superpowers remains alive and well.
This raises a big question: is there a danger for the future Princess Highfield -esque stories lost to a racing monopoly?
Race can still produce outstanding human stories
In any other year not involving the magnificent line of flight the biggest talking point at the Breeders’ Cup would have been the remarkable story of Cody’s Wish .
Cody Dorman, 16, was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that requires him to communicate using a tablet.
During a Make-A-Wish trip to Godolphin’s Gainsborough Farm, an unnamed foal shone into Cody, and the story of Cody’s Wish was born.
Cody Dorman celebrates with his dad in the winner’s circle at Keeneland
Cody’s Wish rose in the closing strides of the Dirt Mile to win his second straight year in stunning fashion, leaving his trainer, Bill Mott, to say “luck follows that horse”.
Seeing the family celebrations in the winner’s circle will have left most viewers shedding a tear (or two).
Horse racing often makes headlines for the wrong reasons, and it’s a story that everyone associated with the sport can savor.
If you’re good enough, weight doesn’t matter
No, this is not an advertisement for Weight Watchers, but rather a philosophy that Paul Nicholls seems to subscribe to after the stable stars Greeneteen and Frodo poked fun at their topweight status by picking up victories at Exeter and Wincanton on November 4 and 5.
Greaneteen asked Nicholls to hit the ‘D’ word as he compared his performance winning the Haldon Gold Cup by an official 168 – conceding more than 15 pounds to the rest of the field – with Denman’s stunning victory in Hennessy Gold Cup out of 174 in 2009.
Frodo followed that up with a typically brave display giving heaps of weight to land the Badger Beer.
It’s no secret that the quality of Britain’s major handicappers has declined over the past two decades, with many top trainers preferring to keep their best horses away from this company, but Nicholls’ bold strategy shows that there should be nothing to be afraid of throwing the stars into these historic contests.
#Dominance #OBrien #Appleby #good #sports