Europe’s outstanding colt has to overcome something of an Arc-Breeders’ Cup hoodoo if he is to find success at Keeneland on Saturday night.
Golden Horn stormed to victory at Longchamp and is a short-priced favourite to end his career with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. However, history is against him, with many top-class racehorses having tried and failed in their attempts at the illustrious double.
In total, 11 Arc winners have tried and failed in the Breeders' Cup, with six of those attempting the double in the same year. Based in France, All Along was the first to try. A wonderful filly, she won the Arc as a four-year-old in 1983. A year later she competed in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup and was defeated in a thrilling finish by fellow French trained Lashkari, who was ridden to victory by legendary French jockey Yves Saint-Martin.
Dancing Brave was the next outstanding champion to find America a step too far. His win in the Arc of 1986 was one of the most eye-catching in the events history. He was simply scintillating when passing virtually the whole field late-on with a devastating burst of speed. Unfortunately he failed to reproduce his best in California when the strong end to end gallop appeared to negate his familiar finishing kick. He faded to a disappointing fourth behind American trained Manila.
Trempolino, Saumarez, Subotica and Carnegie were the next to fail in their quest for Breeders’ Cup glory, before Montjeu similarly faltered State-side. The French-trained colt had broken Japanese hearts when overhauling El Condor Pasa to win the Arc in 1999. A year later he travelled to America having already showed signs of faltering form. And so it proved when he trailed home seventh behind Sir Michael Stoute’s Kalanisi.
Sakhee attempted to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic after his 2001 Arc success. Ridden by Frankie Dettori and racing on Dirt for the first time, he came agonisingly close to victory when failing by a nose to hold off the two-time Classic winner Tiznow in a barnstorming finish.
Bago, Hurricane Run and Dylan Thomas complete the ‘tried and failed’ list. Indeed it’s surprising to find that Arc ‘also-rans’ have a far better record in America’s great event. Ballydoyle’s St Nicholas Abbey won the 2011 Turf after finishing only fifth in the Arc a few weeks earlier. Held up for longer than at Longchamp, he finished powerfully to win by two and half lengths.
Conduit was successful in the 2009 Turf after his fourth place finish in the Arc. Shirocco did the same in 2005 and another Ballydoyle colt, High Chaparral, went one better when winning the Turf twice in 2002 and 2003 after respective thirds in each of his Arcs.
With this in mind, could Aidan O'Brien’s classy filly Found prove to be Golden Horn’s nemesis? She finished ninth in this year’s Arc but was denied a clear path at Longchamp. Her last run in the Champion Stakes at Ascot, though defeated, proved again that she is more than capable of beating the colts at the highest level.
John Gosden’s colt has proved to be in a class of his own during the summer. He has to reproduce that blistering form just one more time to end his career in style.