BC Internationals: Turf contender Golden Horn
Photo courtesy of Champions Series via Twitter.
At the start of the season, few could have imagined what Golden Horn would go on to accomplish -- a glittering resume, featuring several of Europe's most coveted prizes, and deserved favoritism for the 2015 Breeders' Cup Turf (G1). Trainer John Gosden has done a masterful job of keeping him pitch-perfect throughout, with just one final swing left to take.
It all began innocently enough in the April 15 Feilden at Newmarket (click link for replay). Lining up as a debut winner at Nottingham in his only outing at two, Golden Horn stayed on strongly to pass his first stakes assignment.
Next came an ostensibly stiffer challenge in the Dante (G2) versus stablemate Jack Hobbs, who went off as the 2-1 favorite, and Elm Park, the 2014 Racing Post Trophy (G1) hero, who ranked as the 7-2 second choice. But Golden Horn showed that the public was backing the wrong Gosden horse:
Supplemented to the Derby (G1) at Epsom, Golden Horn settled well off the frenetic pace before steaming past Jack Hobbs and topping the Gosden exacta. The next step on the ladder was versus older horses in a tactical renewal of the Eclipse (G1), in which Golden Horn set the pace himself and rebuffed The Grey Gatsby at Sandown. He was entered in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (G1) at Ascot, but scratched due to Gosden's concern about putting him through a 1 1/2-mile slog on bad ground.
Golden Horn did take his chance on rain-softened ground at York in the 1 5/16-mile Juddmonte International (G1), which wouldn't have had the same prospect of bottoming him as the longer King George. Just as the aura of invincibility began to envelop the son of Cape Cross, however, it was dispelled by a shock defeat there at the hands of 50-1 Arabian Queen.
But Golden Horn picked himself off the canvas, using his tactical speed to good effect in the Irish Champion (G1), and knocking out Free Eagle with a devastating right cross. Note that Turf rival Found gets up for second:
The biggest danger to two-time defending champion Treve in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1), Golden Horn made better use of her pacemaker than she did and drove to a convincing victory over last year's Arc and Turf runner-up Flintshire:
Now Golden Horn hopes to end the frustration that past Arc winners have endured in the Breeders' Cup before retiring to a stallion's life at Darley in Newmarket.
For more commentary on Golden Horn, check out the detailed international analysis at brisnet.com/cgi-bin/special_reps.cgi.
Brisnet.com has the Breeders' Cup PPs files available for all 13 races -- 4 on Breeders' Cup Friday and 9 on Breeders' Cup Saturday.