There will be a British and Irish invasion of the Breeders’ Cup when the event takes place in November in the United States. The leading owners, trainers, jockeys and horses will be vying for the major crowns in American thoroughbred racing’s signature festival.
Aidan O’Brien, John Gosden and Sir Michael Stoute will be among the trainers ushering their charges over the Atlantic to compete for the top prizes on offer. No trainer has been more successful in the Breeders’ Cup Turf than O’Brien. His six victories are the most by any trainer on the circuit, including those from the States.
However, the Irishman has failed to win the event since 2016 amid the talent that has emerged from the yards of Andre Fabre, Dermot Weld, Chad C. Brown and Gosden. The 2021 event presents O’Brien with a great chance to end his drought and extend his dominant record with a seventh triumph. In his quest for victory, he can put forward his outstanding mare Love along with his other two impressive charges St Marks Basilica and Bolshoi Ballet.
Their performances will be worth monitoring in the horse racing tips for the end of the flat racing season in the United Kingdom and Ireland to determine whether they can maintain their form. The issue that British and Irish trainers have faced in the past at the Breeders’ Cup is keeping their charges fit and fresh for the challenge of competing in the States. Trainers in the States are used to the long gap between races as the elite meets can stretch over a period of several months.
In the UK and Ireland, the flat season is short and sharp compared to the National Hunt, peaking in June before winding down towards the end of August. Therefore, it does provide a test of trainers and their ability to manage the workload of their horses before deciding whether they are prepared to challenge for honours overseas. The journey itself can be quite taxing on the horses. It can be a tough decision for owners and trainers to decide to take on the race overseas, especially when horses will be competing in a different environment.
O’Brien has nailed his preparation in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and his dominance is beginning to spread to other events in the festival. However, he has yet to conquer the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the biggest event of the competition, which offers a purse up to $6m. The best trainers in the States save their top horses for the race, and they’re usually the charges that have triumphed in the Triple Crown races earlier in the campaign or have at least competed in those events.
Given the race is competed on dirt rather than turf, it’s not an easy transition for horses from the UK and Ireland to make due to the difference of the track under foot. There may be a time in the future when that changes and the likes of O’Brien are able to send their top talent to compete in the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and Preakness Stakes before attempting to win the Classic. However, it’s unlikely to occur in the near future, with the priorities set on racing in the UK and Ireland during the summer time.
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