Fillies Take Center Stage at York for Nunthorpe

August 18, 2022

Win And You’re In for US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

YORK, ENGLAND― Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum’s Royal Aclaim (IRE) heads a 15-runner field in Friday’s 5-furlong Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes (G1) at York. The winner will receive an automatic starting position in the US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (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 Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes will be televised live on TVG at 10:35 a.m. ET.

Trained by James Tate and ridden by Andrea Atzeni, the undefeated Royal Aclaim returns to York where she won the John Smith’s City Walls Stakes (Listed) in impressive style in July. The 3-year-old daughter of Aclaim (IRE) seeks to give Tate a first G1 success.

Royal Aclaim will be having just the fourth run of her career, one less than the 2-year-old contender The Platinum Queen (IRE), but that lack of experience is not concerning Tate, who thinks the filly is at her peak for the race.

Tate said: “She’s the least experienced horse in the field, and that includes a 2-year-old. It is unheard of, but she is like nothing we have ever had through our stable gates before – she’s completely different. In three runs she’s achieved a rating of 108, beaten two G1 winners and, to be quite honest, she’s never been 100 percent fit and ready to go as she is now.”

Middleham Park Racing XV’s 2-year-old The Platinum Queen was supplemented for the race by her connections at a cost of £40,000 (approx. US$48,000). The daughter of Cotai Glory (GB) scorched the turf at Goodwood in the British EBF Alice Keppel Fillies’ Conditions Stakes in a very quick time and has won three of her four starts to date, with her sole defeat coming in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot. Hollie Doyle will take the ride on the filly, who gets a huge weight and sex allowance as she takes on her elders. However, no 2-year-old has won the race since Kingsgate Native (IRE) in 2007.

(NOTE: The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint is restricted to runners 3 years old and older. Should The Platinum Queen win Friday’s race, connections would be permitted to transfer the waived entry fees for her to start in a Breeders’ Cup World Championships Juvenile race based on eligibility.) 

The Trainers House Enterprises Ltd-owned Highfield Princess (FR) is the only horse in the line-up to have won a G1 in 2022. That win came in the Arc Prix Maurice de Gheest (G1) at Deauville earlier this month over 6 ½furlongs. This will be the daughter of Night Of Thunder’s (IRE) first start over 5furlongs. Jason Hart takes the ride for local trainer John Quinn.

The Simon & Ed Crisford-trained Flotus (IRE) sole racecourse appearance at York culminated in victory in last month’s William Hill Summer Stakes (G3) but is another who has yet to prove her effectiveness over 5 furlongs.

The King George Qatar Stakes (G2) form from Goodwood will be on show with the race’s winner Khaadem (IRE), second place Raasel (GB), fourth Lazuli (IRE), sixth Clarendon House (GB) and seventh Acklam Express (IRE) all lining up at York.

The Yoshiro Kubota-owned Dragon Symbol (GB) finished third in last year’s renewal for trainer Archie Watson but was transferred to Roger Varian over the winter. Connections will be hoping he can build on his recent victory in the Apex Traffic Management EBF Soba Conditions Stakes at Hamilton Park.

As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes winner to start in the US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, which will be run at 5 ½ furlongs at Keeneland. 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

@jonathanstettin such a great read! In my car reading this on my lunch break with a huge smile.

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