The international Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series moves to The Curragh on Sunday for two “Win and You’re In” races in the $418,142 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes (G2), led by Havana Grey (GB) and Sioux Nation, for a free berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), and the $408,143 Moyglare Stud Stakes (G1), headlined by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Just Wonderful, for an automatic starting position into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of 85 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 Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 2-3.
As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the winner of the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five to start in the Turf Sprint and the winner of the Moyglare Stud Stakes to start in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. If not Breeders’ Cup eligible, the Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of October 22 to receive the rewards.
The Derrinstown Stud Flying Five is a 5-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up. Global Racing Club and Mrs. E. Burke’s 3-year-old Havana Grey has a win over the course, taking the five-furlong Sapphire Stakes (G2) at The Curragh on June 22 by one length. Trained by Karl Burke, Havana Grey, a gray 3-year-old son of Havana Gold (IRE), has run at the five-furlong distance in 12 of his 13 career starts. He has raced twice since the Sapphire, finishing sixth in the King George Qatar Stakes (G2) on Aug. 3. In the 5-furlong Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (G1) at York on Aug. 24, Havana Grey was contention racing alone on the far side of the course before weakening in the last 100 years, and winding up fifth.
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Aidan O’Brien has three of the nine starters in Sunday’s race, led the 3-year-old Sioux Nation, who won the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (G1) last August at The Curragh. The bay son of Scat Daddy, bred in Kentucky by Fethard Bloodstock, won the six-furlong Goffs Lacken Stakes (G3) at Naas on May 20, but has failed to hit the board in four Group 1 races after that, the most recent being an eighth-place finish in the Coolmore Nunthorpe.
Regarding O’Brien’s other two starters, Battle of Jericho (IRE), who like Sioux Nation, will race in the Michael Tabor colors, has won three listed races this year, including the Irish Stallion Farms EBF in his las start on Sept. 8. The 3-year-old filly Different League (FR), who won last year’s Albany Stakes (G3) at Royal Ascot, is winless in five starts this year.
Straight to Victory Syndicate’s Hit the Bid (GB), trained by Darren Bunyan, raced in Dubai this winter, winning the Watch Time Handicap in February. In his first start since March 31, the 4-year-old bay son of Exceed and Excel (AUS) finished second in the listed five-furlong Kilfrush Stud Abergwaun Stakes by three-quarters-of a length at Tipperary on Aug. 30. Norcroft Park Stud’s Take Cover (GB), trained by David Griffiths, won the listed William H. Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes at Beverley on Sept. 1.
The Derrinstown Stud Flying Five is the fourth Breeders’ Cup Challenge race this year in the Turf Sprint division. Disco Partner, winner of the Jaipur Invitational (G1) at Belmont Park; Merchant Navy (AUS), who won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot, but was retired after the race; Long On Value, winner of the Highlander Stakes (G1) at Woodbine and Alpha Delphini (GB), who captured the Coolmore Nunthorpe are the other automatic qualifiers thus far.
Moyglare Stud is first “Win and You’re In” for Juvenile Fillies Turf
The Moyglare Stud, run at seven furlongs, will award the first “Win and You’re In” of the year in the Juvenile Fillies Turf division. Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith’s Just Wonderful has won two of her four starts. She broke her maiden in her first attempt, winning the Irish Stallion Stakes EBF in May. Just Wonderful, a bay daughter of Dansili (GB), went off as the 2-1 favorite in the six-furlong Albany Stakes (G3) at Royal Ascot, but had a troubled trip and finished 14th of 18 runners. Bred in Kentucky by Orpendale, Chelston and Wynantt, Just Wonderful returned to The Curragh for her next start, the 6 ½ furlong Angelsey Stakes, where she finished third on July 21. Stretched out to mile, Just Wonderful found the winner’s circle again, taking the Flame of Tara Irish EBF Stakes by 1 ½ lengths as the 7-4 favorite at The Curragh on Sept. 1.
Anthony Rogers and Mrs. Sonia Rogers’s Skitter Skatter has already made six starts in her young career, and winning three of them. Bred in Kentucky by Three Chimneys Farm LLC and Airlie Stud, Skitter Skatter broke her maiden at Dundalk on April 11, and then after finishing third and second in her next two starts, has won consecutive Group stakes for trainer Patrick Prendergast. A bay daughter of Scat Daddy, Skitter Skatter captured the seven-furlong Jockey Club of Turkey Flash Stakes (G3) at Leopardstown on July 26, and one month later, was victorious in the seven-furlong Debutante Stakes (G2) over a yielding course at The Curragh by 2 1/4 lengths at 7-1.
Saif Ali’s Main Edition (IRE) has won four of her five starts for trainer Mark Johnston. A bay daughter of Zoffany (IRE), Main Edition came home a winner in her first three races, including the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 23. She suffered her only defeat thus far when finishing seventh in the six-furlong Duchess of Cambridge Stakes (G2) at Newmarket on July 13 as the 11-4 favorite. Main Edition, however, regained her winning form next time out at Newmarket on Aug. 11, tallying the seven-furlong Sweet Solera Stakes by 1¼ lengths as the 7-4 favorite.
Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier’s Zagatova (IRE), broke her maiden in her second start at 3-10, winning the one-mile Irish Stallion Fillies Maiden at Cork on Aug. 11 for trainer Aidan O’Brien. She was sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the Debutante, contested the lead half-way through the race but could not sustain a bid, winding up third, beaten 2 ¾ lengths behind Skitter Skatter.