Anthony Oppenheimer has stated there is a “good chance” that Arc winner Golden Horn will head to Keeneland for the Breeders’ Cup Turf at the end of the month, but to triumph he will need to overhaul a rather unnerving statistic.
Should he line up in the contest on October 31, he will be bidding to become just the second horse to win another race in the same calendar year after taking the Longchamp contest since 1980.
A total of 15 horses have taken in another contest in their Arc winning season, but you have to go all the way back to 1983 for the last one to triumph.
That victor was All Along who took the 2013 Canadian International after a victory in Paris.
Of course, just because other horses have been beaten on their next start, it doesn’t mean Golden Horn has less of a chance.
However, some greats down the line have fallen foul to this particular curse.
Dancing Brave could only manage fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 1986, while Montjeu finished in the same position in the Japan Cup 13 years later.
More recently Danedream was sixth in the Tokyo contest in 2011, while 2012 Arc heroine Solemia only beat four of her 16 opponents home 12 months later.
Frankie Dettori has described Golden Horn as “probably the best horse he has ridden” and that statement is reflected in his skinny odds of 4/6 for the contest in Kentucky.
There could however, be plenty of factors standing between him retiring to stud following a win stateside.
First of all, while the weather for the Breeders’ Cup meeting is on the whole, usually glorious resulting in good ground at the minimum, this year’s location could cause problems for the four-time Group 1 winner.
While still forecast to have a relatively dry month, the temperature and dry climes of southern California it is not.
Any precipitation will surely have an adverse effect on Golden Horn’s chances, with his liking for decent ground.
Of his potential rivals The Pizza Man (10/1) is a horse that has won on ground described as ‘Yielding’, and could be a danger at a bigger price if he’s able to get his toe in.
A tight turning track could also present the son of Cape Cross with something new in Lexington.
Market rival and Arc runner-up Flintshire has revelled in his trips across the Atlantic in recent years, so clearly has a liking for the American style tracks.
Runner up in the Turf last year, Andre Fabre’s consistent sort was a winner at Saratoga on his penultimate start.
He has two lengths to make up on Golden Horn, but with the track set to play to his strengths there is no reason he cannot get closer.
In truth Golden Horn should have the class to see him through, but with the track and ground both having the potential to go against him, and the apparent scourge on Arc winners tasting another season’s victory, backing him to go out with a bang looks a risky proposition.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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