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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By HRI Foreign Staff — The Breeders’ Cup Mile has had a truly international flavour through the years. Stavros Niarchos, the Greek billionaire, is the most decorated owner in the history of the race, triumphing six times in a 27-year span from 1987 to 2014. Freddy Head, the legendary French jockey and trainer, enjoyed a hat-trick of successes with the unstoppable Goldikova, onboard whom another Frenchman – Olivier Peslier – prospered as a jockey.

Other nations have enjoyed success on the turf, and it’s no surprise that Ireland added its name to the list in 2020. Aidan O’Brien, who has enjoyed glory all around the globe courtesy of his star-studded stable, was the latest overseas Breeders’ Cup Mile champion courtesy of Order of Australia, who wasn’t even originally meant to be in the race.

An injury to One Master saw the three-year-old bumped up from the reserve list, and he made it count in the ultimate way – scoring the win for O’Brien at sportsbook odds of a staggering 40/1. The horse may return to defend his crown in 2021 in an attempt to join the illustrious list of repeat winners, but in the meantime, O’Brien has a number of major international races to contemplate.

And central to his plans will be Bolshoi Ballet.

Leading a Merry Dance

At this early stage, the three-year-old is in the running to feature in either the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, one of the most prestigious races on French soil, or the Melbourne Cup, the Australian renewal with a huge prize fund. Some eye-catching wins at Leopardstown have led to The Derby at Epsom, and a solid run there will surely lead to a winter campaign overseas as O’Brien looks to add more honours to his collection.

At the time of writing, Bolshoi Ballet is priced at 12/1 in the Space Casino betting odds for the Arc and 20/1 to prevail in the Melbourne Cup. It’s in the former where the best interest lies given how overseas horses have struggled in the heat and on the firm ground in Flemington.

O’Brien’s rollcall of major champions borders on the astonishing. In his native Ireland, he has prevailed ten times in the 1,000 Guineas and has eleven victors in the 2,000. He has also practically monopolised the Irish Derby with 14 winners in that renewal since the late 1990s.

The Breeders’ Cup meeting has also been a rich source of success to the Ballydoyle yard. O’Brien has won the Mile, the Marathon, the Juvenile, and the Juvenile Turf, plus six winners have come in the oh-so-difficult to win Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Those with one eye on the winter schedule will note that he has saddled a plethora of winners in France, including two Arc champions in Dylan Thomas and Found as well as a dual victory in the Prix Ganay. Less common has been silverware on Australian soil, but that’s not surprising given how difficult overseas trainers and connections find it to compete with the home contingent.

When put that way, Bolshoi Ballet – who possesses an extraordinary turn of speed – has to be considered a major contender for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe this October.

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