Challenge Series: Win And You’re In for the US$2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
YORK, ENGLAND– The Kirsten Rausing-owned Alpinista (GB) has been declared to take on six rivals in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (G1) at York on Thursday. The winner of the 1 ½-mile showpiece is guaranteed an automatic starting position into the US$2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 82 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 4-5.
The Darley Yorkshire Oaks will be televised live on TVG with a 10:35 a.m. ET post time.
Alpinista, a 5-year-old daughter of Frankel (GB), is chasing a fifth consecutive G1 as she makes her first start on British soil since July 2021, having won top-level races in both Germany and France in recent months.
Her trainer Sir Mark Prescott spoke fondly about his Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (G1) winner. “She’s always been the underdog and so far, she’s proved herself to be top dog,” said Prescott. “She’s just very pleasant, she eats well, she’s sound so far and she’s just very, very straightforward in how you can ride her.”
With regards to potential ground conditions, Prescott would prefer quick ground for his star mare. “I see there is a little bit of rain forecast in Yorkshire, but the fast ground wouldn’t inconvenience me, so I would prefer it if it didn’t rain,” said Prescott. “She did win her German Group Ones with plenty of cut in the ground so she’s very versatile. What doesn’t suit the others will suit me.”
The rapidly improving Magical Lagoon (IRE) will provide Alpinista with some fierce competition. Owned by Zhang Yuesheng, the daughter of Galileo (IRE) produced a career-best effort last time out to win the Juddmonte Irish Oaks (G1) at The Curragh by a half-length. That victory followed up her Royal Ascot success in the Ribblesdale Stakes (G2) and this daughter of Galileo will aim to continue the recent good record 3-year-olds hold in this race. Enable (GB) in 2019, aged 5, has been the only successful older horse to win the Yorkshire Oaks in the last eight renewals.
Team Valor International LLC’s La Petite Coco (IRE) won the Alwasmiyah Pretty Polly Stakes (G1) by a half-length last time out. She now returns to 1 ½-miles for the first time since her 5 ½-length win in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Give Thanks Stakes (G3) last year as she chases a fifth straight career success.
Another Irish filly who has been declared is the Cazoo Oaks (G1) heroine Tuesday (IRE). Owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Westerberg, she was subsequently fourth in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (G1) last time out against the colts and represents a stable who have won the last two renewals of this race.
The Jon and Julia Aisbitt-owned Lilac Road (IRE) is one of just two British runners declared. Lilac Road is yet to win a G1 but did win the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies’ Stakes (G2) here at York in May over 1 ¼-miles. Her trainer William Haggas won the Yorkshire Oaks in 2018 with Sea Of Class (IRE).
The second British filly set to line up at York on Thursday is Poptronic (GB). Trained locally in Middleham by Karl Burke, she is another contender with recent form at this track, after finishing finished second last time out in the British Stallion Studs EBF Lyric Fillies’ Stakes (Listed) by 1 ¾-lengths.
Completing the field is Juddmonte’s Prix de Malleret (G2) winner Raclette (GB). Trained by Andre Fabre, the daughter of Frankel (GB) showed a great attitude to win at ParisLongchamp in July and now steps into G1 company for the first time.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the Darley Yorkshire Oaks winner to start in the US$2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland, which will be run at 1 3/16 miles. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of Oct. 24 to receive the rewards.
Breeders’ Cup Press Release
Photo: Challenge Series logo