The 2014 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita will be one that the European challenge will want to forget as, apart from the victory of Karakontie in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, one disappointment followed another with the narrow defeat of Toast Of New York in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic proving a heartbreaking experience for connections despite the compensation of winning $1 million for finishing runner-up.
After an opening day dominated by the home contingent Europe fielded a strong hand in the Breeders’ Cup Filly And Mare Turf headed by 2013 winner and 7-4 favourite Dank but the best Sir Michael Stoute’s five-year-old could manage was fourth spot behind Dayatthespa with Charles Hills’ Just The Judge one place better in third. The David Simcock-trained Caspar Netscher ran a brave race in the Turf Sprint without troubling the judge a remark which also applies to The Great War in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the mount of Ryan Moore finishing an honourable fourth.
The 1m 4f Breeders’ Cup Turf was expected to go the way of Telescope or Arc runner-up Flintshire with Chicquita and Brown Panther also holding decent prospects but it was Main Sequence, second to Camelot in the 2012 Epsom Derby and now with Graham Motion who just edged out Andre Fabre’s challenger with Telescope back in fourth. The Breeders’ Cup Mile finally went the way of a European runner as Karakontie defied his high draw to get first run on another French runner in Anodin with Richard Hannon’s Toronado proving a major disappointment, weakening after chasing the pacesetting Obviously for much of the race.
The biggest disappointment however was saved to last as Jamie Osborne and Jamie Spencer came agonisingly close to landing the biggest prize of all courtesy of Toast Of New York in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the son of Thewayyouare just failing to catch all the way winner Bayern in an exciting finish which also concerned Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome. Just as agonising was the announcement of a stewards enquiry into the wayward action of Martin Garcia’s mount on leaving the stalls although, to the dismay of the British contingent, the result was allowed to stand.
So near and yet so far for the former leading Jump jockey but they still have a lot to look forward to with their stable star, the 2015 Dubai World Cup just one potential target.