The great thing about the Breeders’ Cup isn’t that a different racetrack in America hosts the World Championships every year, nor is it just that top turf and dirt horses from across the globe compete. That also goes the jockeys doing the steering.
They aren’t just the leading riders stateside, but horsemen and women from the other side of the Atlantic and beyond come over and take part. The 2020 Breeders’ Cup is at Keeneland in Kentucky, so the Bluegrass State will become the center of the equine universe on November 6 and 7.
Success for British, Irish and European jockeys in the USA isn’t actually that rare. Back in 2012, Hayley Turner became the first woman from the UK to ride a Grade 1 winner internationally when she partnered I’m A Dreamer to Beverly D Stakes glory at Arlington Park.
With breakthrough moments like that happening in America, who are the European jockeys to follow at the 2020 Breeders’ Cup? Let’s take a look:
In his storied career, Italian master rider Frankie Dettori has got the leg up on 14 Breeders’ Cup winners – a record for any jockey based outside of America. He also heads to Keeneland this year knowing that he has always linked up well with the local barn of Wesley Ward’s in the past.
For evidence of that, look no further than leading Juvenile Turf Sprint and Juvenile Fillies Turf fancy Campanelle, who won the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot this June with Dettori on board. The pair later followed-up with Group 1 glory in the Prix Morny at Deauville on heavy going.
The Breeders’ Cup this year is a home fixture for Ward and his highly regarded filly. Ward may keep Campanelle apart from Norfolk Stakes runner-up Golden Pal by keeping her against her own sex, but that could leave Dettori with rides on two fancied juvenile runners on the opening day of the meet.
As the top stable jockey at the Aidan O’Brien Ballydoyle yard, and with him being retained as a trainer to powerful global owners Sue Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor of the Coolmore operation, Ryan Moore can expect some good mounts at the Breeders’ Cup again. He has ridden nine winners in total to date.
O’Brien often targets the Juvenile Turf race and the Breeders’ Cup Turf itself. Three-year-old wonder filly Love and older stable companion Magical both have invites to the latter, so Moore could end up having a difficult choice to make depending on what connections decide to do.
Love missed the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris due to unsuitable heavy going, but O’Brien has hinted they may skip the Breeders’ Cup with her. Magical may compete on British Champions Day at Ascot before possibly making a transatlantic trip to Keeneland.
O’Brien may send Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris winner Mogul in their stead. Whichever horse Moore ends up on in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, it will have strong claims of enhancing both his and trainer’s fine records in the race.