x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Americans turned off by Tapeta

The main race was won by the French-trained Gloria de Campeao, the first winner in the 15-year history of the World Cup not trained in America or by Godolphin.

Bennie Woolley, the Kentucky Derby-winning trainer, said yesterday that the American challenge for the Dubai World Cup is over for the "foreseeable future" and that his compatriots will not race their best horses at the meeting. His comments come after Saturday's first running of the world's richest horse race on Tapeta, a synthetic surface, at Dubai's new Meydan Racecourse. The US$10 million (Dh36.7m) race was won by the French-trained Gloria de Campeao, the first winner in the 15-year history of the World Cup not trained in America or by Godolphin.

"I was disappointed at the number of ours that went over there and how they performed," Woolley said. "I think it is detrimental to the world programme that Dubai have gone with synthetic. It rules out dirt horses from the mix, and I really do think that it will stem the tide of American horses for the foreseeable future." Gloria de Campeao, who is trained by Pascal Bary in France, had been outclassed by 14 lengths when finishing second on dirt to the American horse Well Armed in the World Cup in 2009, but because of the change in surface the US challenge at the meeting was much reduced this year.

The connections of a host of top US dirt performers chose to skip the race, including the unbeaten filly Zenyatta, even though she won last year's Breeders' Cup Classic on Pro-Ride, another synthetic surface. "I'm not a fan of synthetic at all," said Woolley. "The grass horses seem to do better on it. It's to do with their action. Grass horses tend to have more of an action, whereas dirt horses move more smoothly.

"Horses were born to run on grass and dirt." * Reuters