In its continuing international expansion of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup, in conjunction with Ascot Racecourse, today announced that winners of this year’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1), Queen Anne Stakes (G1) Norfolk Stakes (G2) and Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1) at the Royal Ascot meeting, June 19-23, will be awarded automatic “Win and You’re In” berths into the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs.
All four races will be televised live and streamed in the U.S. as a part of NBC Sports Group’s live coverage of the Royal Ascot meeting. In the UK, all races are covered on the main ITV1 channel.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of more than 80 graded/group stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positons and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge races at the 2018 Royal Ascot meeting are as follows:
The Queen Anne Stakes, June 19, for 4-year-olds and older at one mile on turf, will give the winner an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). Queen Anne Stakes winners Barathea (IRE) and Goldikova (IRE) also won the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
The Prince of Wales’s Stakes, June 20, for 4-year-olds and older at 1 ¼ miles on turf, will give the winner an automatic berth into the 1 ½- mile Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). Prince of Wales’s Stakes winners Fantastic Light and Highland Reel (IRE) also won the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
The Norfolk Stakes, June 21, for 2-year-old males and fillies at five furlongs. The winner will receive a free berth into the new Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, which will be run at 5 ½ furlongs.
The Diamond Jubilee Stakes, June 23, for 4-year-olds and older at six furlongs on turf, awards the winner with an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), which will be run at 5 1/2 furlongs.
These races join the 1 ½-mile King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO) (G1), run July 28, and will award an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf, as the fifth “Win and You’re In” races to be run at Ascot Racecourse this year. The King George has been a part of the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge since 2011.
“There is nothing quite like the excellence, tradition and prestige of the Royal Ascot meeting, and we are so proud and delighted that the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, Queen Anne, Norfolk and the Diamond Jubilee will be a part of the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Challenge series as we continue to encourage international participation for the World Championships,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “We thank our partners at Ascot for working with us in accomplishing this goal, and look forward to the outstanding coverage from the NBC Sports Group of these fixtures, and extensive coverage of the Royal Ascot races in June.”
“We’re delighted to be participating in the Breeders’ Cup ‘Win & You’re In’ programme with races from Royal Ascot for the first time,” said Nick Smith, Ascot Director of Racing and Communications. “These are pivotal race meets in our respective jurisdictions and natural targets for the very best racehorses in the world. It’s particularly pleasing to be involved from the start with the development of the new Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. It’ll provide an excellent new opportunity for European juveniles.
“Recent years have seen numerous Ascot winners successful at the Breeders’ Cup, and it was wonderful to see Tepin perform the feat in reverse in 2015/16, especially being our first year of the hugely important NBC arrangement.”
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” NBC Sports Group television schedule will be announced tomorrow April 10, and the full 2018 Breeders’ Cup Challenge series schedule of races will be announced on April 11.