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Green Moon

Green Moon (right): among first seven home to be bred in Europe

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Cup and Mental add weight to Aussie theory

WORLD CLASS: an analysis of the international scene according to Racing Post Ratings

AUSTRALIA: the sprinters are faster than in Europe and the stayers are slower.

The more we test the theory, the more apparent it becomes and last week saw examples at both ends of the spectrum.

The steady pace may have undone the European raiders in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, but the imports still trounced the home team, with the first seven home all bred in Ireland.

That's the second year running that the first seven were bred exclusively in Europe and there is no going back from here.

If you want to compete over two miles you need Northern Hemisphere blood. Aussie trainers are well aware of this and have quickly altered their buying habits.

But going the other way isn't nearly so financially viable. At present there is only one operation that takes Aussie sprinters to Europe - and they aren't doing it for the prizemoney.

The first year of Godolphin's Aussie sprint project did not work. They shipped leading two-year-olds Sepoy and Helmet from their Aussie base with trainer Peter Snowden to Newmarket. Both horses were finished before they even hit the heath.

This follows the common trend of Aussie juveniles peaking at two and never making it as older horses, but next year Darley's Aussie-Euro sprint project looks set for it's first big success - and it should be Mental.

On Saturday, the curiously named gelding continued his rapid rise through the ranks with victory in the Patinack Farm Classic at Flemington, won in 2010 and 2011 by Black Caviar.

The leading sprinters in Australia (Black Caviar, Hay List and Atlantic Jewel) are injured at present, but two weeks ago Sea Siren and Mental proved they were best of the rest by finishing clear of the remainder in the Manikato Stakes.

Sea Siren confirmed that form on Saturday, but Mental was able to step it up again, reversing the placings with the Manikato winner to score by three-quarters of a length with a career best RPR of 126.

The big two pulled three-lengths clear of some solid yardsticks and the winner's rating ranks him up with successful Royal Ascot raiders like Takeover Target (126), Scenic Blast (127) and Starspangledbanner (125).

Saturday's run was Mental's last for Snowden. He will now head to Dubai before joining the Godolphin team in Newmarket.

Black Caviar is unlikely to run overseas again and Hay List will be rising eight next year, so Mental shouldn't have much competition in Europe. Especially as the home team very rarely get sprinters rated 126.

If he does secure a Group 1 sprint in Europe it would be the first for the powerful owners since Diktat won the Sprint Cup at Haydock back in 1999. It could also be the starting point to a new chapter for Godolphin.

Not many owners can afford to ship sprinters to Europe, but with Sheikh Mohammed's outfit eager to recapture the huge success they enjoyed in Europe in the 90s, Aussie sprinters could provide them with a winning niche.

At the other end of the spectrum, Euro raider Mount Athos looked the most unlucky runner in the Melbourne Cup, staying on from the rear to take fifth in a result dictated by the pace. He became yet another might-have-been for Luca Cumani.

Since Vintage Crop landed the race for Ireland in 1993, British based trainers have by far the worst record in the race with 59 runners and no winners.

France have enjoyed two winners from six runners over the same period, while Japan boasts a winner and a second from just four starters.

This statistical skew could be because British horses, having run exclusively in fast-run races, are handicapped up to their ability, while French, Japanese and home contenders can save something from the handicapper being held up in more slowly run races.

Winning a 24-runner handicap generally requires a horse to be a fair way ahead of his mark, so this rather broad theory makes sense, although with Red Cadeaux (2011), Bauer (2008), Crime Scene (2009) and Purple Moon (2007) all finishing close seconds in recent years, the British losing record may simply be down to a never-ending run of bad luck.

Either way, this is one of those stats that has to die sooner or later, since more and more Brits are targeting the Melbourne Cup and European bloodstock continues to dominate the finish - even if they are exports.

Green Moon posted a small career best RPR of 117 for his length win over Fiorente in Tuesday's valuable feature.

TOP OF THE CLASS Mental 126 Peter Snowden (Aus) (Patinack Farm Classic, Flemington, 6f, 10 November)


Name (country trained) Race Rating
1  Frankel (GB)
Queen Anne/International 143T
 Cirrus Des Aigles (Fr)
Prix Dollar/Champion Stakes
3 Excelebration (Ire) Queen Elizabeth II 131T
4  Black Caviar (Aus)
Lightning Stakes
 Hay List (Aus)
Newmarket Handicap 129T


 Orfevre (Jap)
Takarazuka Kinen
7 Fort Larned (US) Breeders' Cup Classic 128D

 Wise Dan (US)
Ben Ali/Stephen Foster  128A/D
9 Camelot (Ire) Derby 127T

 I'll Have Another (US)
Preakness Stakes 127D
   So You Think (Ire)
Tattersalls Gold Cup 127T
   Nathaniel (GB)
Eclipse/King George 127T
   Moonlight Cloud (Fr)
Prix Maurice de Gheest 127T
   Dullahan (US)
Pacific Classic 127A
  Mucho Macho Man (US) Breeders' Cup Classic 127D


Name (country trained) Race Rating
1  Frankel (GB)
Queen Anne/International 143
 Cirrus Des Aigles (Fr)
Prix Dollar/Champion Stakes
3 Excelebration (Ire) Queen Elizabeth II 131
 Black Caviar (Aus)
Lightning Stakes
 Hay List (Aus)
Newmarket Handicap 129

 Orfevre (Jap)
Takarazuka Kinen
 Wise Dan (US)
Woodbine Mile
 8  So You Think (Ire)
Tattersalls Gold Cup 127
   Moonlight Cloud (Fr)
Prix Maurice de Gheest 127
   Nathaniel (GB)
Eclipse/King George 127
   Camelot (Ire)
Derby 127


Name (country trained) Race Rating
1  Wise Dan (US)
Stephen Foster Hcap 128
  Fort Larned (US) Breeders' Cup Classic 128
3 Mucho Macho Man (US) Breeders' Cup Classic 127

 I'll Have Another (US)
Preakness Stakes 127
5  Bodemeister (US)
Arkansas/Preakness 126
   Caleb's Posse (US)
Met Mile 126
7  Amazombie (US)
Churchill Downs 125

Game On Dude (US) Awesome Again 125
9  Ron The Greek (US)
Stephen Foster Hcap 124
   Shackleford (US)
Met Mile 124
   Successful Dan (US)
Alysheba Stakes


Name (country trained) Race Rating
1  Wise Dan (US)
Ben Ali 
2  Dullahan (US) Pacific Classic 127
 Monterosso (UAE)
Dubai World Cup 126
4  Amazombie (US)
Bing Crosby Handicap 125
   Game On Dude (US)
Hollywood Gold Cup 125
6  Camp Victory (US)
Triple Bend Hcap 124
7  Krypton Factor (BHR)
Golden Shaheen
8  Musir (SAF)
Maktoum Challenge R1
   Colour Vision (GB)
Sagaro Stakes 122
   The Factor (US)
Triple Bend Hcap 122
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