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When to back and avoid GB & IRE raiders at the Breeders’ Cup 

| 31.10.2016

Every year, a select group of British and Irish Flat racing trainers head off to America with their best horses hoping for Breeders’ Cup glory.

Most come back with nothing but a story, as the hosts are understandably so dominant in their own back yard, but there are a couple of races that lean towards the raiding parties.

Read on for where to get involved with the jolly travellers, and when to stick with the locals.

Turf – Back

It doesn’t get any better than this for the raiders, with British and Irish-trained horses taking the $4m event in seven of the past ten years.

Aidan O’Brien is looking for his fourth Breeders’ Cup Turf success since 2011, and with four-time winning jockey Ryan Moore likely to be aboard Highland Reel – who beat home favourite Flintshire when they met over this 1m4f trip last summer – Ballydoyle have a cracking chance.

Filly and Mare Turf – Back

With Sir Michael Stoute, Ed Dunlop and the late Henry Cecil providing five winners here since 2003, the most recent coming from the former three years ago, the visitors will fancy their chances.

Jim Bolger’s Pleascach looks a fresh sort after missing most of the 2016 campaign, with the four-year-old narrowly beaten by Speedy Boarding in the Group 1 Prix De L’Opera Longines at the start of the month. She looks worth a wager.

Classic – Back (with caution)

Only one British or Irish trainer has won the big race since its inception in 1984, and that was John Gosden’s American-bred Raven’s Pass, while just two horses born outside the US have ever taken it.

California Chrome will probably be around odds-on favourite this year, having failed here in his spectacular, Kentucky Derby-winning 2014 campaign, and looks the right age at 5, but those who believe it’s the raiders’ turn to land the Classic could do worse than Ballydoyle filly Found.

The four-year-old, who won the Breeders’ Cup Turf 12 months ago, has just added the Arc to her mantelpiece and ran a stout second behind Almanzor in the Group 1 Ascot Champion Stakes last time out.

Sprint – Avoid 

The 6f event has completely locked out visitors in its 31-year history, with only the home team’s horses taking the laurels. Judging by this year’s expected field, that’s not likely to change.

With four victories in total, three coming in the past nine years, Bob Baffert is the most successful Breeders’ Cup Sprint trainer ever and saddles Drefong and Lord Nelson.

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



Iain Houten

Iain has been contributing pieces to various websites on an array of subjects, including sports, politics and art, for over four years. Despite blue being his favourite colour, the teams he supports all wear red.