Breeders' Cup: Five great British and Irish-trained winners

By Harry Allwood@harry_allwood
Mon 31 Oct 2022

Harry Allwood takes a trip down the Breeders' Cup memory lane and recalls some memorable British and Irish-trained winners.

2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf – Enable

Enable, one of the greatest mares of all time, made history when becoming the first horse to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Breeders’ Cup Turf in the same year in 2018.

John Gosden’s superstar had missed the majority of the season due to injury and returned from almost a year off the track only two months prior to her victory in the Churchill Downs showpiece.

Having raced wide throughout in search of better ground, Enable was widest of all off the home turn before locking horns with Magical, and the pair pulled nine lengths clear of the third during a titanic tussle.

Frankie Dettori saluted the crowd as he crossed the line three quarters of a length in front of Aidan O’Brien’s charge.

"She's conquered America!” said a jubilant Dettori afterwards. “She's the first one to do it. Amazing, I've no words to say how brilliant she is.”

John Gosden was equally as pleased and was quick to heap praise on Enable who had endured a “difficult year”.

"It was a big ask for our filly, and she greatly deserved it," Gosden said. "It was a tough race, and Frankie wanted to stay wide.

"When Magical slipped up her inner, I thought, 'This is the one we've got to beat', but she is mentally so strong, and I think it was her mental strength as much as anything that brought her home in front.

"She's had a difficult year and really it's amazing she's here today. She showed enormous courage, beating a very high-class filly, and it was interesting that they came well clear of the third."

2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf – Found

Having won the Derby, Coral-Eclipse, Irish Champion Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe prior to his run in Keeneland, Golden Horn was all the rage in the market and was sent off the 4-6 favourite ahead of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf.

After racing predominantly in third under Frankie Dettori, John Gosden’s star colt began to make his challenge turning for home, but his every move was tracked by Ryan Moore aboard Found.

Golden Horn edged over to the inside rail when he hit the front in the straight, while Found began to stay on strongly and grabbed the lead inside the final furlong before eventually scoring by half a length from the gallant runner-up.

Prior to the race, John Gosden raised concern about how his charge would handle the loose, sand-based turf course, and both Gosden and Dettori were quick to point out afterwards that the conditions blunted Golden Horn’s brilliance.

It was revenge for Found who had been beaten by Golden Horn on two previous outings that year, and was described as a “very special filly” by Aidan O’Brien following her victory.

“She came out of her races well, and everything was going well with her, so we tried this,” said the Ballydoyle handler.

“She’s a very special filly. She ran in two champion stakes, an Arc, and a Breeders’ Cup all in little more than a month, and as a three-year-old filly.”

2006 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf – Ouija Board

"She's definitely the best filly in the world, without a doubt,” said Frankie Dettori after Ouija Board regained her crown to become the fifth dual winner of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf in 2006.

Ed Dunlop’s globetrotter was narrowly denied in a memorable finish by Dylan Thomas in the Irish Champion Stakes on her previous start and was seeking her seventh Group/Grade One victory of her career.

Settled towards the rear by Dettori, Ouija Board began to cruise into contention entering the home straight before she stormed clear when unleashed by Dettori.

She first landed the Grade One showpiece at Lone Star Park in 2014 and finished second in the 2015 renewal at Belmont Park behind Intercontinental.

"She's the best; there's no other way to say it," a delighted Ed Dunlop said. "She's an absolute champion."

The dual Oaks winner finished third behind Japanese star Deep Impact in the Japan Cup on her next outing which ended up being her final start as she was forced to retire due to an injury ahead of the Hong Kong Vase.

2003 Breeders’ Cup Turf – High Chaparral dead-heat with Johar

One of the greatest finishes in Breeders’ Cup history. The 2003 Breeders’ Cup Turf produced the first dead-heat at the iconic meeting when High Chaparral and Johar fought out an epic finish.

Aidan O’Brien’s superstar won the Breeders’ Cup Turf the previous year, but his task was made a lot harder in 2003 when American champion Johar stormed home having been held up in last, whilst Falbrav again proved a tough nut to crack.

High Chaparral raced a shade keenly in midfield and was boxed in at a crucial stage when Falbrav cruised into contention and took up the lead entering the home straight.

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The pair had gone head-to-head in the Irish Champion Stakes the month before where High Chaparral scored by a neck, and there was not much between them again at Santa Anita.

However, as High Chaparral got his head in front in the final few strides, Johar was gaining ground and joined High Chaparral who found extra under Mick Kinane to force a dead-heat on the line, with Falbrav a head back in third.

Aidan O'Brien said afterwards: "He is a horse that, when he wins, he doesn't win by very much because he is very idle. When he turned in [to the home straight] I thought he had too much ground to make up but when the horse [Johar] came on his outside, he got competitive again and came home."

The English-Irish Derby winner retired following this victory having won ten of his 13 starts, which included six Group/Grade One victories and £3,446,311 in prize money.

2001 Breeders’ Cup Turf – Fantastic Light

A true globetrotter for the Godolphin team who raced in seven countries during his career and was successful in six Grade/Group One contests, including the Irish Champion Stakes on his penultimate outing where he defeated Galileo in a titanic tussle.

The final start of his illustrious career was in the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Turf, and it ended up being the perfect swansong. Sent off the short-priced favourite under Frankie Dettori, Saeed bin Suroor’s charge raced prominently before he eye-balled the leader and kicked clear in a matter of strides to defeat St Leger winner Milan.

Fantastic Light also set a new turf-track record in the process, and Dettori said “he’s like new wine – he gets better with age” after the victory.

Dettori was not wrong, either, as Fantastic Light enjoyed a hugely successful stud career and, after standing in three continents, he sired over 2,000 winners.

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