Author: Nicholas Godfrey
38... Breeders’ Cup
This coming weekend of November 5-6 sees the 38th edition of the Breeders’ Cup, North America’s two day championships featuring 14 races and a total of $31 million in prize money. A record 56 international entries featured among an initial entry of 196 for what is likely to be the most cosmopolitan edition there’s ever been. Britain heads the way with 26, from Ireland 17, Japan 8, France 2, plus one each from Argentina, Peru and South Africa. This is the second time the Breeders’ Cup has been held at Del Mar, located on the Pacific Coast just north of San Diego in southern California, following 2017 when Gun Runner took the Classic. The inaugural Breeders’ Cup was a seven race affair held at now defunct Hollywood Park on November 10, 1984. Don MacBeth-ridden Chief’s Crown won the first ever Breeders’ Cup race, which was the Juvenile. In front of a crowd of 68,000, the $3m Classic went to Wild Again under Pat Day, after a stewards’ inquiry following a stretch battle with Gate Dancer.
25... Damien Oliver
Damien Oliver achieved a notable feat on Saturday [Oct 30] when a Group One double on the Victoria Derby card meant he became the winningmost Group One jockey in the history of Melbourne Cup week. Having partnered Godolphin’s Colette to win the TAB Empire Rose to equal Bobby Lewis’s Cup week mark of 24 top level successes, Oliver secured the ‘go ahead’victory a couple of hours later on Superstorm in the Kennedy Cantala. The Perth-born veteran, who is 49, exited the weekend with a career total of 125 Group One victories, among them three Melbourne Cups: Doriemus (1995), Media Puzzle (2002) and Fiorente (2013). The Hall of Famer has ridden well over 3,000 winners and has ten Melbourne city premierships to his name. Sydney-based James McDonald equalled the Victoria Derby day riding record with four winners on the card, including three for Winx’s trainer Chris Waller headed by Home Affairs, who won the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes for the sponsors.
100... Ted Bassett
James E. ‘Ted’ Bassett III, whose name has been synonymous with Keeneland for more than half a century, celebrated his 100th birthday last week on October 26. Lexington-born Bassett began working for the Keeneland Association in 1968 after acting as director of state police in Kentucky. He was Keeneland president from 1970-86 before becoming chairman of the board. In 2003, he was named a trustee and remains a trustee emeritus. During his tenure, Keeneland evolved into arguably the world’s foremost auction house while the attached racetrack is now one of most prominent in the US, twice a Breeders’ Cup host site. They’ll make it three in 2022. An iconic figure in US racing, Bassett has served in a multitude of capacities on a wider industry basis. He is, for example, a former president of both Breeders’ Cup Ltd. and the Thoroughbred Racing Association. He won the Eclipse Award of Merit in 1996 and in 2019 entered the US Hall of Fame.
7.5m... Golden Eagle
With prize money of A$7.5 million, or about $5.64 or £4.12m, Saturday’s Golden Eagle may carry no Group status but it is nevertheless knocking on the door of a place in the world’s Top Ten richest races. The third running of the 1,50om (7½f) conditions race for 4yos at Rosehill in Sydney was won by I’m Thunderstruck, who scored by a head under Hugh Bowman for the training partnership of Mick Price & Michael Kent. It is the third most valuable race in Australia behind the Everest (A$15m) and the Melbourne Cup (A$8m). “It’s as good as any Group One, I can assure you of that,” said Bowman, who last month rode his 100th Group One winner with Montefilia in the Metropolitan at Randwick.
29... Tyler Gaffalione
With 29 victories, Tyler Gaffalione landed his third riding title at the Keeneland’s 85th anniversary ‘Fall’ Meet, which ended on Saturday. Gaffalione, 27, partnered Nakatomi to victory in the black type Bowman Mill Stakes for his only winner from eight rides on the closing day card. However, he rode three winners or more on five days during the prestigious Stakes laden meet to win the title by 11 from Florent Geroux, who rode 16 winners. Reigning Eclipse Award winning trainer Brad Cox was top trainer with 14 wins, one more than seven time Keeneland champ Wesley Ward. Keeneland offered a meet record $6m in Stakes purses across 22 such races.
57... Hong Kong
A total of 57 individual Group One winners from nine countries hold the entry for the Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin on December 12. Breeders’ Cup heroine Tarnawa, Champion Stakes winner Sealiway and Aidan O’Brien’s Classic winning fillies Snowfall and Love are among those engaged in the four Group One events worth a total HK$100 million (£9.3m). Everest winner Nature Strip could be headed to the HK Sprint for Australia but Japan leads the way with 40 of the 90 overseas entries listed altogether, among them top racemare Gran Alegria and Loves Only You plus defending Sprint champ Danon Smash. HK Horse of the Year Golden Sixty heads the home team as he moves towards a repeat bid in the HK Mile.
141... Colin Keane
Colin Keane, who will be in California this weekend to ride Tarnawa at the Breeders’ Cup, was crowned Irish Champion Jockey for the third time at Naas’s Flat Finale meeting on Sunday with a record 141 winners. Keane, 27, recorded a double in the last two races on Ireland’s final turf card of 2021, partnering longshot winner Yaxeni in the featured November Handicap before repeating the dose on Team Of Firsts half an hour later. Both horses were trained by Ger Lyons, and the latter success could hardly have been more appropriate as it came in the Congratulations to the 2021 Flat Champions Handicap over 1m2f.
48 wins... Dylan Browne McMonagle
Completed his apprentice title success with victory on Noel Meadetrained Joe Masseria in the 7f maiden, while Aidan O’Brien retains his trainers’ title with over €3.6 million in prize-money. The Ballydoyle legend has won 24 Irish titles in al, including the last 23 seasons, plus six more in the UK