Euro Report: Giant's Causeway To make Next Start In Cup Classic

Dubai Millennium's retirement through injury earlier in the season blunted the European challenge for Breeders' Cup XVII, but Michael Tabor and Sue Magnier's Giant's Causeway has stepped front and center to replace him in the Classic (gr. I), while Highclere Thoroughbred Racing's Petrushka has been rattling off Group I races throughout the summer and is rated by bookmaker Coral as their 2-1 favorite for the Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT).

Racing at Newmarket on Saturday will shed much light on European trainers' Breeders' Cup plans, particularly where Giant's Causeway is concerned. A winner of five Group I races this campaign, the 3-year-old son of Storm Cat had been training for the Dubai Champion Stakes (Eng-I) but now looks unlikely to run and he will probably go direct to Churchill Downs. Coral rate the Aidan O'Brien trainee a 4-1 chance for Breeders' Cup glory behind Lemon Drop Kid and Fusaichi Pegasus.

With the Rowley Mile ground softening in his favor, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) fourth Montjeu, who also represents Tabor/Magnier, was declared a Champion Stakes runner after a satisfactory work at Chantilly on Tuesday. The ten furlong race was schedule to be Montjeu's final race before retirement. However, according to Racing Post, the Breeders' Cup could still be in the works, depending upon Saturday's performance.

Petrushka rounded off her European campaign with victory in the Prix de l'Opera (Fr-I) on Arc day, after bagging the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks (both Group I), and the Michael Stoute-trained sophomore daughter of Unfuwain will carry much European confidence for the second running of the F&MT. "She has an amazing cruising speed, which she will need there, and the ability to quicken off a fast pace," said Highclere managing director Harry Herbert. "I think she has got what it takes."

Sheikh Marwan al Maktoum's Crimplene also claimed three consecutive Group Is at midseason for trainer Clive Brittain, who is expected to send her into battle on the dirt for the Distaff (gr. I) although the Mile (gr. IT) is under consideration. Brittain took the 1985 Turf (gr. IT) with Pebbles.

Other Euros who could go on the dirt are Godolphin youngster Noverre, supplemented into Saturday's Dewhurst Stakes, a possible runner in the Juvenile (gr. I) for David Loder, and another French-trained colt, J. R. Chester's Nuclear Debate, who is intended for the Sprint (gr. I) out of John Hammond's Chantilly yard. Other Classic contenders from this side of the Atlantic include Pine Dance from Dermot Weld in Ireland, and Running Stag from Philip Mitchell at Epsom. Both have run a couple of times in the U.S. already this year. Also being mentioned by Newmarket's International Racing Bureau is Andre Fabre-trained Agol Lack, recent course-record winner of La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte (Fr-III). Fabre sent out the longest-priced winner in Breeders' Cup history when Arcangues took the 1993 Classic.

Both the Turf (gr. IT) and Mile (gr. IT) are projected to attract seven European runners at this early stage. Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor could send Bertolini, Kabool and Muhtathir over the shorter trip while Mutafawek and Fantastic Light could carry their silks in the Turf.