Our new Correspondent John Mac writes:
‘I must admit that during the early years of its formulation in the 1980s, I had very little interest in the Breeders Cup. As happens so many times as a punter, it is having a stroke of luck in a particular event which then stimulates a lifetime of subsequent involvement.
1993 was the year that ignited my Breeders Cup flame and it was quite by chance that it came about.
Back in the day I would normally totally ignore racing abroad as I had no knowledge of foreign formlines and would find myself just watching this event annually without having any financial involvement whatsoever. This year was going to be different.
I remember buying the Sporting Life Weekender every week and on this occasion I must have been very bored with the English racing which was betwixt the end of the flat and beginning of the jumps, so I took to reading up on some of the fare about to be dished up on the other side of the pond. I was particularly taken with an article I read on a horse called ARCANGUES. The paragraphs produced a very well-reasoned argument on why this French bred and based horse had been overlooked by the majority and at the forecast price he may be worth a spin on his first outing on dirt. The author also went on to say that it would probably be best to back the horse at the American tote returned price as he was sure to be much bigger than the UK books were offering.
Well, I really liked the case made and thought that the amount of research that had been put in had to carry a certain amount of credence, so following the instructions to the letter I filled out my slip, £20 win @ American tote returned odds ARCANGUES in the Breeders Cup Classic.
As it was the one of the last races on the card it was a long wait for the race to come round but as it was a Saturday evening, I had got a few mates round and we were having a beer or three, throwing in a fiver a race with the pot growing. It was to be paid on a winner or carried over to the next and none of us really had a clue about what to pick. Anyway as the big race approached the beer glass was stuffed full of cash. We changed the rules slightly for the last race in as much as we were going to pay out whoever got nearest to picking the winner. Naturally I was ridiculed as I nominated the horse I had backed earlier, who was a rank outsider, as my selection for the race. In for a penny I thought.
I can’t really remember how the race was run but I sure can remember the result. 1st ARCANGUES. The lads were not laughing anymore. This was followed by the broadcast of the tote returns and it will stay with me forever. It paid $269 for a $2 stake. Absolutely incredible. Not only had I won the glass but I had won over £2.5K for the score bet (half was for my mate, who still hasn’t given me the tenner back). It was going to be a long session this one.
Happy days and vivid memories. I hasten to add the many subsequent losers have been consigned to the depths of my betting records never to talked about with such glowing passion!
So that is where my love affair with the Breeders Cup began and now I will offer you my own opinion of what may happen in this year’s big race.
BREEDERS CUP CLASSIC
SO YOU THINK is one of those horses who, in my eyes, is a complete freak – able to put in Group One performances and times in very quick succession, not appearing to suffer any adverse effects from having to perform at the top of his game, at the top level with only a very short recovery period. America will be the fourth country he has visited to race in at Group/Grade One level in a period of under two months!!! A staggering fact on its own. He has suffered defeats but has always been carried out on his shield as he gives everything.
Dirt racing is an unknown but as it favours endurance rather than acceleration it may suit rather than hinder. To my eye he has a stride pattern and running style which should be ideally suited to this new challenge and from the research I have carried out, the American horses don’t appear to have a stand out contestant. If he does act on the dirt he may well grind them into submission. In his early days when trained in Australia, he was prepared for racing on an artificial surface so it will not be a complete unknown for him and I would imagine Team O’Brien will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of glory. All the drug issues will be monitored and he will be given the opportunity to perform at his very best. The draw will probably play its part but as a fast break is going to be of paramount importance I would hope that he can do it from whatever box he gets. Getting stuck in behind will not play to his strengths here, I don’t think.
How to bet him is yet another difficult conundrum. I would suggest that no bet is placed until the bookies offer the “non runner no bet” concession and then split the stake with half on the win in the UK market and half on the American tote returned price on the day.
So that’s what I think, what do you think ?
Good luck to both backers and layers.’