The war between Coolmore and the Maktoums that was evident at the recent Keeneland September yearling sale is expected to move north on Oct. 7 when Susan Magnier's Dylan Thomas squares off against Darley Stable's Bernardini and Shadwell Farm's Invasor in the $1-million Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).
In a surprise move, Dylan Thomas, who was being pointed for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), will now cross the Atlantic a month earlier to do battle with the Maktoum brothers' top guns in his first race on dirt.
Dylan Thomas, a son of Danehiill, won the Irish Derby (Ire-I) and Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) and was third, beaten a head in the English Derby (Eng-I).
"We wouldn't go there expecting to win it, by any means," trainer Aidan O'Brien told The Independent.
It would be a trial for him, a chance just to run a nice race and learn. We'd be throwing him in a the deep end, and no doubt he'll be shocked."
"He's very tough, acts on fast ground, and never gives up. He stays a mile and a half, but has the class for a mile, mile and a quarter. He is the right type of horse, a grinder, but first he has to get into a position to grind – that's the tricky part."
The presence of Dylan Thomas will make the Gold Cup, already billed as the showdown of the year, a mini Breeders' Cup Classic, pitting three of the top horses in the world - all bred on different continents - against each other.
It could also determine who is the best 3-year-old in the world, matching classic winners from the United States and Europe.