Breeders’ Cup: Heffernan excels on Highland Reel in Turf
Highland Reel: was given an excellent ride by Seamie Heffernan
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Heffernan excels from front on Highland Reel By David Carr 10:13PM 5 NOV 2016
Report: Santa Anita, Saturday
Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (Grade 1) 1m4f, turf, 3yo+
ANYTHING Ryan Moore can do, Seamie Heffernan can do – not better perhaps, but certainly just as well.
Ryan Moore won the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes from the front on the Aidan O'Brien-trained Highland Reel at Ascot in the summer. But four months on he had to watch from the saddle on board Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Found as Heffernan repeated the trick in the Breeders' Cup Turf.
The jockey had never ridden a winner at this meeting – whereas Moore had won this race alone four times – yet he gave a masterclass of riding from the front, setting slow fractions then quickening to open a decisive lead with less than half a mile to travel.
Flintshire got closest of the chasing pack but could not reel in the winner while Found, who had beaten him in the Arc, had to settle for third this time and has now been retired.
'Straightforward and sound'
Heffernan, who had also been on board Highland Reel when second in the Arc, said: "I was on a horse that handled the conditions well. He's straightforward, he's very sound and he stays hard.
"If I had the choice I would have ridden Found! But it is nice to be on the team and it is nice to get the opportunities, I have a lot of people to thank."
Highland Reel had also beaten Flintshire into second in the Hong Kong Vase last December and part-owner Michael Tabor said: "He's a proper globe-trotting superstar and this track and the ground suited. Sometimes it works out."
Coolmore have now won this 1m4f race four times in the last five years and six times overall. Tabor said: "Once you get the addiction it's there, long may it continue!"
Flintshire was running his final race and owner Khalid Abdullah's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: "We're a bit deflated. We obviously had high expectations. The winner did well but we didn't quicken up good enough.
"He's going to Hill 'n' Dale Stud and Juddmonte retain an interest in him. I can't think there's a sounder, tougher or more brilliant horse going to stud. He's been remarkable."
Found was the eighth Arc winner to be beaten when going on to tackle this event from the eight that have tried.
Third prize here took her career earnings past £5 million.
Ulysses was fourth for Sir Michael Stoute, who said: "Three world class horses have beaten him. That's his best race to date. He's going in the right direction."