European Punters Rooting for Rock of Gibraltar

The fans and punters in England are all rooting for Rock of Gibralter in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), but the betting shops sure aren't. Their biggest extension, by far, is on "the Rock."

"He has support to a man," David Hood, head of public relations for the William Hill bookmaking firm, said. "He is the biggest loss for all the firms should he win."

Hood left Rock of Gibraltar at even money following the draw, the star Danehill colt drawing the 10 post. "I didn't think 10 was bad for him. He can drop over and get a very good position."

Conversely, Hood raised the odds on Landseer after he drew post 13. From 6-1, he was eased out to 8-1.

In that same race, Hood said there has been considerable support this week for Good Journey, who is trained by Wally Dollase and has won four straight. A week ago, Good Journey was 14-1. He dropped to 10-1 and now has dropped even further, to 7-1.

Many small bettors wager on their favorite European horse, but Hood said the big punters don't care where they horse is based. His firm has taken large wagers on U.S. horses."

"Many of them, they judge the European form they have seen, and those they don't think will hold their form, they take a stand against them. Hawk Wing, for instance, there are those that don't think he will beat the Americans.

"They say money talks, and never has that so eloquently been applied as with gambling," Hood added.

William Hill opened odds on individual horses just after the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) last March; full fields were posted a month ago.

"The success of last year showed that we are bringing very good horses, that we can compete on a level playing field. The Europeans now see the Breeders' Cup as the end to our racing season."