Challenge Series: Win And You’re In for the US$6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic
YORK, ENGLAND― Shadwell Estate Company’s Baaeed (GB) will take on five rivals in the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) at York on Wednesday. The winner of the 1 ¼-mile showpiece is guaranteed an automatic starting position in the US$6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (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.
Baaeed, a 4-year-old son of Sea The Stars (GB), has won each of his nine career starts and is in search of a sixth consecutive G1 as he steps up to 1 ¼-miles for the first time. Those victories included the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot, which gave him an automatic berth into the US$2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) and the Qatar Sussex Stakes (G1) at Goodwood on July 27, also a FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile division race. William Haggas is confident his stable star will cope with the step up in distance and is looking forward to the race.
“I think he’ll stay it, no problem. Whether he’s better, I don’t know,” said Haggas. “It feels right to me. You’d think that he can just sit and wait and let it all unfold. I think Jim (Crowley) has a lot of confidence in the horse and trusts the horse to quicken.”
The Prince A A Faisal-owned Mishriff (IRE) was an impressive 6-length winner of the Juddmonte International Stakes last year and returns to York to defend his crown. He has been second in each of his last two starts in both the Coral-Eclipse (G1) at Sandown Park and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes (G1) at Ascot.
When asked what danger Mishriff poses to Baaeed, Haggas responded by saying: “There’s nothing I can do about the competition on the day, and if the Mishriff of last year comes to York in the same form he’ll be incredibly difficult to beat, as he was unbelievably impressive that day. Mishriff ran a very, very good race in the Eclipse and a little bit of a lackluster race in the King George, so who knows which one will turn up. But he’ll be a danger, as will lots of others.”
Baaeed is one of two runners saddled by William Haggas, who also runs the Mohamed Obaida-owned G2 winner Dubai Honour (IRE). Connections will be hoping Dubai Honour can reverse recent form with the Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds XI Racing-owned Sir Busker (IRE) after the pair went head-to-head over course and distance in the Sky Bet York Stakes (G2) last time out.
Godolphin’s Classic hero Native Trail (IRE) has also been entered. The Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) winner was beaten a half-length last time out in a hot renewal of the Coral Eclipse. His trainer Charlie Appleby, and jockey William Buick won this race two years ago with Ghaiyyath (IRE).
The Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Mrs. A.M. O’Brien owned High Definition (IRE), second in the Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1) at The Curragh, completes the field of six.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the Juddmonte International Stakes winner to start in the US$6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic on dirt at Keeneland. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a US$40,000 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: Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series logo