08/31/2009 11:00PM

British book favors Euros in three BC races


William Hill, one of Britain's premier bookmakers, is offering European-trained horses as antepost favorites in three of the most important Breeders' Cup races. Goldikova, as might be expected, is 4-5 to successfully defend her Mile title. Fame and Glory is 11-4 to upend defending champ Conduit in the Turf. And Sea the Stars is Hill's 7-2 choice in the Classic, although he is no more than a possible for the race at this stage.

Having run roughshod over her Group 1 opposition in the Prix Rothschild and Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville last month, Goldikova looks like the horse most likely to be singled in the Breeders' Cup pick six. The Freddy Head trainee will use Longchamp's seven-furlong Prix de la Foret on Oct. 3 as a tune-up for her second visit to Santa Anita. In theory that should be the ideal prep for any European horse aiming at the Mile, as it is always a fast run race due to a short run to the turn and the first 2 1/2 furlongs being downhill. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Sussex Stakes winner Rip Van Winkle, 3-1 with Hill, will use the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes as his likely Mile prep, in which he will face the 7-1 Delegator, recent winner of the Celebration Mile. Rip Van Winkle's stablemate Mastercraftsman is 9-2 for the Mile but is also listed at 14-1 for the Classic. He is entered in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday, but may defer to stablemate Fame and Glory.

Wickerr Stakes winner Colonel John is Hill's leading American Mile contender at 10-1, while Battle of Hastings, a two-time stakes winner going longer at Colonial, is 16-1. Justenuffhumor, 6 for 6 on turf including wins in the Fourstardave and Bernard Baruch at Saratoga, is a tempting 25-1.

Saturday's Irish Champion Stakes will be one of the most revealing races of the year should good ground enable Sea the Stars to take his place. If so, he will face Turf favorite Fame and Glory, the Irish Derby winner who was 1 3/4 lengths second to Sea the Stars in the Epsom Derby. Conduit was only 5 1/2 lengths third to Sea the Stars in the 1 1/4-mile Eclipse Stakes but bounced back when stepped up to his favorite distance of 1 1/2 miles to take the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Probably the best older male in Europe, Conduit is 3-1 for the Turf, for which Gio Ponti is 5-1. The Eric Libaud-trained Prince of Wales's Stakes winner Vision d'Etat is 8-1.

That Sea the Stars requires fast ground improves his chances of winding up in the Classic, although the Irish Champion and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Oct. 4 are his preferred stops before then. Zenyatta, who has yet to face males in any of her 12 victories, is Hill's second favorite in the Classic at 4-1 with Rip van Winkle and Travers winner Summer Bird at 6-1, Hollywood Gold Cup winner Rail Trip 10-1, Quality Road and Einstein 12-1, Tiago 16-1 and Mine That Bird 20-1.