Disappointment for Ballydoyle stable as Rock Of Gibraltar is defeated in Breeders’ Cup Mile in Chicago, while stablemate Landseer suffers a broken leg and is put down
Rock Of Gibraltar’s winning streak was finally brought to a disappointing end by the French colt Domedriver on Saturday in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Arlington Park in Chicago, US.
Rock Of Gibraltar (pictured) was favourite to claim his eighth Grade or Group 1 win, but circumstance conspired against the colt, owned by Manchester United FC manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.
The colt appeared fractious at the start and missed the break before being settled at the back of the field by jockey, Mick Kinane. As the pack turned for home Kinane started to make his move when Landseer fell in front of them.
The favourite managed to avoid his prone stable mate but, despite passing 10 horses to the way to the finishing post, failed to beat the 26-1 Domedriver, ridden by Thierry Thulliez.
After the race, some racegoers blamed Kinane for Rock Of Gibraltar’s defeat, claiming he should have done more in the early stages of the race to ensure the horse was in a strong position to challenge for the lead towards the finish.
Aiden O’Brien, the colt’s trainer, told the Racing Post: “The way I saw it circumstances beat Rock Of Gibraltar on the day. He was a bit slow at the start and ended up last round the first bend.
“He was beginning his run off the final bend when poor Landseer had his accident in front of him. To finish the way he did showed just how great a horse he is.”
The day’s racing was marred by the death of Landseer, whose cannon bone shattered as he raced around the final bend. The horse was taken into a horse ambulance, but the damage was too severe to treat and he was put down.
The Ballydoyle team’s spirits were raised slightly by a strong performance from High Chaparral, who enjoyed a comprehensive win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. He was the fourth European horse to win the $2million prize in as many years.
Read an indepth report into all the Breeders’ Cup action in this week’s Horse & Hound (31 October), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.
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