British bookies are worried the track at this weekend’s Breeders Cup could hamper European interest. The Breeders Cup takes place over this weekend at Santa Anita Park in California in what is recognized by those on the other side of the Atlantic as the “Breeders Cup World Championship”.
CalvinAyre.com spoke to Rory Jiwani from Stan James and Charlie McCann from BetVictor to try to get a perspective on what the race means on this side of the pond. While neither can fault the regard in which the meeting is held they can both see why it doesn’t hold the same place in European’s hearts as say the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Grand National or Cheltenham Gold Cup.
“There’s no doubt the Breeders Cup is a fantastic event but it comes at the end of a long season for runners from Britain and Ireland and just two weeks after Champions Day which is possibly now a more attractive option,” Jiwani stated.
It also misses one vital ingredient that the final festival of 2012 can’t do without from a worldwide viewpoint…
“There is great interest in the Breeders‘ Cup although had Frankel been running in the Classic there would have been huge world-wide interest,” McCann said.
This year is the sixth year that the series has been held at Santa Anita Park and the first time since 2009 that they’ve decided to move the race over to The Golden State. The track itself opened its gates for the first time in 1934 and presents a very different challenge to tracks in Europe – another reason that the bookies think European horses haven’t taken the race to their hearts.
The number of entries from this side of the Atlantic is also down due to Santa Anita reverting to dirt instead of the Pro-Ride surface used there in 2009 for races such as the Classic,” Jiwani said. “Many of the American horses are unfamiliar to punters over here and that makes the Breeders Cup a less attractive betting proposition, especially antepost.”
McCann agreed that the “dirt races won’t have European interest”, whilst stating that a strong contingent of European horses, including Excelebration, Nahrain, Sky Lantern, St Nicholas Abbey and Roger Charlton, means a “steady stream of money” has already been seen.
The Marquee race is the Breeders Cup Classic, which will be broadcast in prime-time on NBC. Frankel isn’t running and that should detract from what is still among the most important races on the worldwide calendar.