NEWMARKET, ENGLAND (Sep. 24, 2021) – Mick and Janice Mariscotti’s Masekela (IRE) heads a field of seven in Saturday’s Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) at Newmarket. The 1-mile contest, restricted to 2-year-old colts and geldings, offers a guaranteed fees-paid berth into the US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 84 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 Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California, on Nov. 5-6.
The Andrew Balding-trained Masekela (IRE) boasts impressive form ahead of this Group 2 contest. A winner on debut, the son of El Kabeir finished fifth to subsequent Group 2 winner Point Lonsdale (IRE) in the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, before placing second by a short head behind Native Trail (GB) in the bet365 Superlative Stakes (G2) at Newmarket on July 10. Godolphin’s Native Trail (GB) recently enjoyed top-level success in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (G1) at The Curragh on Sept. 12, with Point Lonsdale (IRE) in second.
Stepping up to race over 1-mile for the first time, Masekela (IRE) was last seen taking the 7-furlong listed Denford Stakes under Oisin Murphy at Newbury on Aug. 14. Murphy has the ride again with connections hoping the 2-year-old colt can continue the stable’s good form.
Trainer Andrew Balding said: “He’s been working well at home and is in good form. I think the extra furlong should really suit him in this race. We’re looking forward to the Royal Lodge and fingers crossed he can put in another good performance.”
Royal Patronage (FR), a two-time winner this season, heads the opposition for trainer Mark Johnston. The son of Wootton Bassett (GB) was last seen scoring a big upset in the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York on Aug. 18, winning by 2 ¼ lengths at 25-1. Jason Hart takes the ride.
Owned and bred by Godolphin, Coroebus (IRE) makes a significant jump up in grade after winning in his sole start to date – a novice stakes at Newmarket on Aug. 13. The Charlie Appleby-trained son of Dubawi (IRE) will be partnered by William Buick.
Four-time Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf-winning trainer Aidan O’Brien fields Howth (IRE), who was a close-up fourth in the “Win and You’re In” KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes (G2) at The Curragh last time out. O’Brien’s son Donnacha saddles Atlantic Thoroughbreds’ Unconquerable (IRE). In his most recent start, the son of Churchill (IRE) placed third in the Japan Racing Association Tyros Stakes (G3) at Leopardstown on Jul. 22. Frankie Dettori has the mount.
Completing the line-up are Oneforthegutter (GB) and Seattle King (GB). The Ian Williams-trained Oneforthegutter (GB) placed second by a head in the Circus Maximus Prix Francois Boutin Stakes (G3) at Deauville last time out, while Seattle King (GB), trained by Ralph Beckett, steps up in company after finishing fourth behind Masekela (IRE) in the Denford Stakes.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes winner to start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, which will be run at 1-mile on the Del Mar turf course. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance of US$40,000 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. 25 to receive the rewards.
Breeders Cup Press Release