Return to dirt to reduce European winners at the Breeders’ Cup

Europe enjoyed particularly promising results at the Breeders’ Cup in both 2008 and 2009 when a synthetic surface was used instead of typical dirt, with 11 winners celebrated across these two years.

However, news that dirt will once again be used at Santa Anita this year has had an impact on European entries and as a result should result in fewer winners.

Europe only have three horses in total entered in the dirt contests this year, with both Fame And Glory and Sense of Purpose in the Marathon, which is a stamina-sapping race that tends to favour European horses.

To show how hard European winners will be to come by, it is 8/1 that Europe celebrate five Breeders’ Cup victories and 40/1 that six or more are achieved.

With the dirt decision made, the pool of races that can be won by Europeans is limited, but four successes are still possible at 11/4, even if the favourite in the market is that there will be three European-trained winners at 7/4.

Meanwhile, it is 11/4 for a repeat of the two winners from 12 months ago.

The Breeders’ Cup Turf is the favoured race for Europe, with eight victories in the last 11 renewals, including the last three on the bounce.

St Nicholas Abbey and Shareta are the big fancies this year to continue the winning record, although it is home hope Point Of Entry that currently heads the betting.

The best European fancy is seemingly Excelebration in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and if it were not for Frankel, he would have been mopping up Group One contests over the distance all season.

The Fugue has been consistent all season and the faster ground at Santa Anita makes her a worthy favourite for the Breeders’ Cup Fillies & Mares’ Turf, while Europe are mob handed with French filly Ridasiyna and Nahrain.

Dundonnell is the fourth most likely European winner and the present favourite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, while Aidan O’Brien’s duo Lines Of Battle and George Vancouver again providing worthy competition.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.


Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.