It could also determine who is the best 3-year-old in the world, matching classic winners from the United States and Europe.
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.