Planteur a Euro Bomb for BC Classic

If you feel the Breeders' Cup Classic field is pretty much cut and dry, you might want to follow the results of Saturday's Prix Dollar at Longchamp.

A big effort by the Irish-bred Planteur could earn the son of Danehill Dancer a trip to Santa Anita, and he is classy enough and tough enough to be taken seriously.

Run at nearly 1 1/4 miles, the group II event has been won two of the last three years by the top-class group I winner Cirrus des Aigles, who is back again this year. It should be noted that Planteur defeated Cirrus des Aigles, as well as group I winners Sarafina and Cape Blanco, in group I Prix Ganay at about 1 1/4 miles in 2011. He also defeated Rewilding, winner of the group I Prince of Wales's Stakes, in the group II Prix Noailles in 2010, so we know he has plenty of back class.

But he is best known for having finished third in the last two runnings of the Dubai World Cup, so we also know that he handles a synthetic track, as he demonstrated when he captured the winter Derby Trial Stakes over Lingfield's all-weather track this past February.

The 6-year-old Planteur is trained by Marco Botti, who has already launched a successful invasion of Santa Anita, winning the 2009 Goodwood Stakes with 18-1 shot Gitano Hernando, who was coming out of a weight for age race at Wolverhampton. Ironically, it was Gitano Hernando who defected from the 2012 Dubai World Cup after changing hands, leaving a spot open for none other than Planteur, who, as first reserve, took advantage of his late entrance into the race by finishing a strong third behind Godolphin's Monterosso.

Planteur first established his reputation as a 3-year-old by winning the Prix Noailles before rattling off a string of second-place finishes in the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby), Grand Prix de Paris, and Prix Niel before finishing seventh in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. He concluded the year by finishing fifth of 13, beaten only 2 1/2 lengths by Snow Fairy, in the Hong Kong Cup.

He then started off his 4-year-old campaign with back-to-back victories in the group II Prix d'Harcourt and group I Prix Ganay.

Planteur began his career racing for his breeders, the Wildenstein brothers, before being sold to Mohamed Albousi Alghafli. Then, 10 days before this year's Dubai World Cup, he was sold to Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani from the ruling family of Qatar.

Planteur has established himself as one of the classiest, toughest horses in Europe during his five years of racing. While his breeding is made up mostly of grass influences, his broodmare sire, Giant's Causeway, demonstrated his affinity for dirt by nearly winning the 2000 BC Classic and has sired several classy dirt horses. Planteur's dam, Plante Rare, is inbred to Roberto, who also has sired both top grass and dirt horses.

It is also interesting to note that Planteur's second dam, Palmeraie, is a half-sister to the dam of the Wildensteins' great Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Peintre Celebre.

The Prix Dollar is not an easy spot, especially if  Cirrus des Aigles has returned to form, but a good performance from Planteur could very well send him to the States for the Classic.

Another race to watch regarding the Classic is either the Champion Stakes or Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot Oct. 19, as one of them should attract Ballydoyle's Declaration of War, who has had the Classic targeted for a while now. However, he was forced to scratch out of the Irish Champion Stakes because of soft ground, and the Newmarket  races are run only two weeks before the Breeders' Cup, so that would mean a quick turnaround.

Declaration of War is a two-time group I winner this year, having taken the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot at one mile (the race in which Animal Kingdom finished far up the track) and the Juddmonte International at 1 5/16 miles in his last start.

The son of War Front has also placed in the group I Coral Eclipse Stakes and Sussex Stakes.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien ranks him right up there with Giant's Causeway as one of the toughest horses he's ever trained.

Declaration of War is being quoted from 10-1 to 12-1 in England, while Planteur's odds are holding steady at 25-1...for now.


Leave a Comment:

steve from st louis

Steve, I just started watching with some interest the English Premier League on NBC in an interesting game the Europeans call "football". People have always told me it's called soccer. I'm just as amazed at how foreign European racing still is to us Americans and vice-versa.

Ever since the late Joe Hirsch tried to pump up the Washington D.C. International and the Arc de Triumph while Sonny Werblin took the cue from Woodbine's Rothman  and ran with the Arlington Million 30 years ago. Sure, we've heard of a few of their international cracks and how the Irish tried to buy Secretariat 40 years ago. We know of their heartbreak with Shergar and they know of ours with Alydar and Ruffian. But it's amazing how segregated the thoroughbred game still is between Europe, the Middle East and North and South America and the Far East, as well.

It seemed like every year Ron McAnally or Charlie Whittingham had some grass specialist up his sleeve from South America just for the Santa Anita stakes.

I know if we comingled these bloodlines more than we do, it could only improve the breed. I mean, you look at a Keeneland Fall Yearling Catalogue page and you have to look really hard to find a horse without any Mr. Prospector blood in the first five generations. How about a little Danehill Dancer here, a few Dansili  fillies there, some Dubawi blood crossed with Kitten's Joy colts and El Prado fillies. A guy can dream, can't he?  

02 Oct 2013 8:18 PM
Arts and Letters

The Internet does make it a lot easier for those who wish to follow racing in other countries these days.  Most of the big European races show up on various official Youtube channels in good quality right away, and Bigpond has the Australian races (but you have to catch them within 48 hours before they're locked down).  Then there are //cough// certain torrents if one can find them.  And I really appreciate the Blood Horse Race Replays - without those I wouldn't be able to see 99% of North American races.  

Living in Canada, I get very little racing on tv (no HRTV, TVG or even ESPN here).  But I have managed to find contacts through the Internet in the US, Ireland, and Hong Kong to trade with.  (Still looking for someone in Australia, sigh).

I love being able to follow the major horses in different countries - and it makes the Breeders Cup more interesting when I'm somewhat familiar with most of the foreigners.  

03 Oct 2013 11:39 AM
Sam Santschi

Thanks Steve.  The Internationals and the internet have really added flavor  to following racing and sometimes betting these races.  Xpressbet and Amwager offer substantial access to it and XB just added French racing last month.  Being able to watch Black Caviar, Frankel, the Arc, Japan Cup and Melbourne Cup is amazing.  I still remember having to drive from Chicago to Merrillvile IN in the early days of simulcasting to watch Gulfstream.  Now you can watch and bet by phone, internet laptop, Ipad whatever in states like mine (WI) with no live racing. Wishing the industry could capitalize better on technology and the easier travel.  Shame that a lot of these BC preps have 6-7 horse fields because connections want to stay on their respective coasts.  I hope the Quipco Champion's Day doesn't supplant the BC going forward for the Euro's.  Sure was exciting to watch them finish 1-2 at SA in 2009 at the Classic.


03 Oct 2013 1:38 PM
Arthur Wellesley

If Planteur runs well in the Dollar and lines up fit and healthy with a good draw in the Classic then for sure 25/1 is a good each-way price. But those are a fair few ifs. It is also worth noting that although Planteur has some very good form (2nd in the French Derby and Grand Prix de Paris) he has only one Group 1 win to his name and that came in the April of 2011, and it's fair to say that the colt is not in the same form over two years on. Let us not forget that Planteur was dismissed by an overwhelming 19 lengths by the mighty Frankel in the 2012 Juddmonte International. You also have to question the form of the Dubai World Cup performance when you consider Red Cadeaux has been beaten 15, 14 and 11 lengths in his 3 attempts in Group 1s since that race and Animal Kingdom hardly franked the form in front of Her Majesty. The Marco Botti trained horse's 2 wins from 10 attempts since the Ganay have been at Listed and Group 3 level and the most recent victory was underwhelming to say the least, beating the 108 rated Al Waab by 1 1/4 lengths, albeit having to make all of the running. To put it lightly the 6 year old will have to run a blinder in Paris to start the Classic with a good chance and/or really take to the track - which is never a certainty with European horses. As you say the Ballydoyle battler Declaration Of War has better credentials being US bred and a liking for firm ground. He seems the sort for US racing and is easily good enough having won 6 of his 11 races and 2 from 3 over 10 furlongs. The form of his International win is good with Trading Leather and Al Kazeem in behind. The Queen Anne form wasn't great but then again he didn't have the firmest ground or best trip. Otherwise he ran to within a couple of lengths of Al Kazeem (who lines up in the Arc on Sunday, generally a 14/1 chance) in the Eclipse up the steep Sandown hill, and only jockey error stopped him getting closer. Other than that he finished 3 lengths behind Toronado and Dawn Approach in the Sussex at Goodwood, which is good form when considering those two horses are among the best milers in the world right now and he ran to the same sort of mark when 2 lengths adrift of Moonlight Cloud in the Marois. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't run again until the Breeders Cup as the weather forecast for Ascot isn't too good and it's more than likely that the QE2 and Champion Stakes will be run with cut in the ground. That means I would be worried as I have yet to see Declaration of War run well fresh having bombed out in the Lockinge on his seasonal debut. But as I said he has the form to just about match any US runner in the field. As I'm at it, concerning other European contenders looking states-bound, the French trained filly Vorda looked head and shoulders above the competition in last week's Chevely Park at Newmarket, both in the paddock and on course, so should take some beating in the fillies' 2 year old race. Now The Fugue is a huge question because her Arc bids depends on the ground at Longchampe and if she runs and wins the race then I dare say she'll be retired on the spot, whereas if Gosden decides to dodge it or she runs down the field then expect her to line up in the BC Turf, which she really should win based on easy victories in the Yorkshire Oaks and Irish Champion Stakes. As for the Mile, well I know Wise Dan is a really good horse and although not Frankel quality, he should take some beating in that race. His chances for a second consecutive victory remain in the hands of us Europeans for from what I can see Toronado, Dawn Approach and Moonlight Cloud seem the only horses in the world that could beat him. And to be fair doing it in his own back garden won't be easy. As for Moonlight Cloud? Well she was all at sea in the race last year so she's more than dodgy to trust. I've felt Toronado was better than Dawn Approach since his narrow defeat in the St James' Palace and is probably the best miler in Europe. He prefers a good pace and to hear his hooves rattle so he should run well in the USA. However, the colt does have trouble having twice suffered a displaced pallet this year and had a wind operation. Nonetheless if he were to line up in good health in the BC mile then I'd expect him to be favourite with British bookmakers and be the main danger to the Wise Dan band wagon. As for the Classic? I'd take Declaration Of War each-way but reckon the likes of Palice Malice and Game On Dude to be too much on home soil for the Coolmore boys.

03 Oct 2013 2:37 PM

Arts and Letters, if you are in or near Toronto, you can subscribe to HPI and, like me (a vampire) stay up very, very late (very early?) and watch the Aurstralian races as they run (1:30 - 2:30 in the morning).

I, too, love the BH replays (and some other replays (TDN -- sorry, can I name a competitor) because otherwise, you can never see anything on TV, since it appears horse racing is no longer a sport.

Re: the International: wasn't Kelso in a running with Russia's Analin -- the Analin who still had flash frozen or cloned get in the 90's?  (and this is not the Analin who played with Russia when Esposito and Henderson made us proud).

03 Oct 2013 4:19 PM
Abigail Anderson

Hi Steve: I don't know enough about PLANTEUR to say anything intelligent except "Thanks for the heads-up!" But DECLARATION OF WAR I can see as having a genuine chance at the Classic given his pedigree. The fact that Aidan O'Brien compares him to "THE IRON HORSE" (Giant's Causeway) speaks loud to me. And wouldn't Coolmore just love to have another horse potentially of-interest to American & Canadian breeders!

03 Oct 2013 5:52 PM

The internet is definitely bring the world closer, and now we see the racing all over the world.

also I think we lived in our world and did not pay attention to other people moving forward in both racing and breeding.

I was fortunate that I have a chance to see horse racing around the world because of my travel business I was in at the time,

I remember in the late 70' I went to china for the first time they open to the world and make a stop at Hongkong and Japan, went to Shatin racetrack and Tokyo track

I couldnot believe my eyes how much they bet on horses,

I told my friend they bet $ 75 mill

in one day, and they laugh at me,

I think they bet $ 120 million now.

Those day the top Japanese horse will have a tough time beating our G3 horses, but now their top horse can run against our top horse at any time, they have improve their breeding so much in the last 30 yrs

Enough for the long story, I am get ready for the Arc this weekend

and hope some of those good horse shows up at the breeders'cup.

03 Oct 2013 5:54 PM

Steve, just want to make a connection. The Champion Stakes and QEII are run at Ascot on Champions Day, not at Newmarket.

The Champion Stakes used to be run on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket, but was switched in 2012 (less said about it the better).

03 Oct 2013 6:10 PM
Steve Haskin

You're so right, Kauto. I had a brain lapse. I keep thinking of the Champion at Newmarket.

Arthur, thank you for that extremely detailed report. I agree about Planteur but it doesnt hurt to keep my fellow yanks aware of his presence and intentions of coming for the Classic. Now at least they know who he is.

03 Oct 2013 6:26 PM
steve from st louis

Of course the thoroughbred world is getting smaller by the year. Who five years ago had heard of Michael de Kock? Now we take it on the chin just as he does when The Apache gets DQd in Chicago. Racing fans are more catholic regarding the established  runners but breeders are still so provincial, that was my point. See how many Frankels are catalogued outside of Europe next spring. Animal Kingdom could be a crossover sire but they are interested in Australia not Europe. Why? Are Europeans lining up mares for Pulpit, Smart Strike or Curlin? No, but Mastercraftsman, Dandy Man and Bushranger are busy. Are we in the same game? I say not really.

03 Oct 2013 8:51 PM
Arts and Letters

Thanks MZ.  I'm in Alberta so, sadly, can't even get the options that Ontario has.  (it's not quite the middle of nowhere, but I can see it from here).  :)

03 Oct 2013 10:04 PM

Very pleased to see Planteur in the headline of your blog.  He was one of my picks the last two world cups and I had bet an exacta box with Planteur/Animal Kingdom. Wanted to bet across, but if I'm recalling correct there was no show wagering. So, just received my BC tickets in the mail. Can't wait to find out if Planteur just might be this year's Arcangues.  

Thank-you Steve!  

04 Oct 2013 1:27 AM

The BCC has been won by horses falling into three age groups:

3YOs - 9

4YOs - 13

5YOs – 7

The likes of Zenyatta, Pleasantly Perfect and Cigar failed to repeat as 6YOs. These horses carried far better credentials than likes of Planteur, Game On Dude, Flat Out and Ron The Greek who are all on the other side of six.

The horses cited above are in an age group that has never won the classic. Based on historic data they can be safely eliminated from the top spot.

The focus should be on the horses from the categories that have dominated the race since its inauguration.

04 Oct 2013 5:31 AM

steve from st Louis:

The issue you raised about breeders is interesting.

I am a defender of breeders.

Commercial breeders are businessmen. They breed to sell. If the market demands inbreeding to Northern Dancer and Mr Prospector that is what the breeders will produce. If the market demands outcrossing that is what the breeders will produce.

Look at the horses at the top of the line in Europe. You will find that many are inbred to Northern Dancer. Planteur is inbred to Northern Dancer.

Animal Kingdom’s sire, Leroidesanimaux, will stand at stud in 2014 in Europe.

The market dictates what will be produced and the breeders respond by producing the product that will help them pay their bills. It is how capitalism works.

Watch War Front continue to soar as his offspring race in America and Europe.  He just happens to be inbred 2x5 to Northern Dancer.

04 Oct 2013 10:51 AM
Katie L.

Arts and Letters:

I feel your pain, i'm living in Quebec and it's impossible to see anything live. I can't even have NBC sport for the Breeders' Cup, I'll be able to watch like 1 hour or 2 before switching to the internet link which offer so little compare to the tv.

I hate to have to watch my replays on youtube cause 95% of the time people write the name of the winner in the title, where's the excitment?

Is there any website to watch racing live without any obligation to bet (I hate betting, I just love the horses for the athletes they are) and racing around the world if possible?

04 Oct 2013 3:40 PM
Arts and Letters

Katie L - you can watch the previous 48 hours worth of Australian racing for free on  

Some of the official race track channels on Youtube don't list the winner in the title.  Also, the Youtube channel is pretty good.

06 Oct 2013 7:50 PM

planteur will not be good enough. I doubt declaration of war would be either on the dirt. and when you hear the comments about where the really good horses are heading next, then you have to worry a little about the breeders cup. hong kong, japan, ascot. very few mention the bc. it is a crying shame. but there is a lot of competition out there. I don't know why. for a fan, it is perfectly timed. in the afternoon in the us, and late evening in europe.

the japan cup? who the hell wants to watch top-class racing eating coco pops at 7 in the morning? so sort it out breeders cup people! I want my breeders cup back. not some watered down thing where the best horses go to asia.

12 Oct 2013 6:28 PM

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