The Breeders’ Cup has announced that Ireland will host three Breeders’ Cup Challenge races this year.
Winners of the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh (September 8) and the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes and the ICON Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Trial Stakes at Leopardstown a day earlier will earn automatic starting berths into a corresponding race at Santa Anita on November 1 and 2.
Last year’s Moyglare winner, Richard Hannon’s Sky Lantern, was subsequently sent off favourite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, but finished a disappointing eighth.
The ICON Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Trial, a new race to the Challenge series, will be run over a mile and will be an automatic qualifier into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
As part of the enhanced benefits programme for Breeders’ Cup Challenge, the Breeders’ Cup will again pay the entry fees of all Challenge winners into the Championships.
This year, all starters based outside of North America will receive $40,000 (€30,000) in travel allowances, including Challenge winners. This is a $20,000 (€15,000) increase in the overseas travel allowance over last year for Challenge winners.
The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup programme by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of October 21 to receive the rewards.
Jason Morris, Horse Racing Ireland’s director of racing, said: “Horse Racing Ireland is delighted at the inclusion of three Irish races in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, which is due recognition that the Red Mills Irish Champion and Moyglare Stud are amongst the very best races in the world in their respective categories, while the ICON Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf provided a very strong field for its inaugural running last year.
“The incentive of the Breeders’ Cup paying the entry fees and a travel allowance for the three winners in the nominated contests, as well as a guaranteed spot in the field for their equivalent Breeders’ Cup races, will act as a further encouragement for connections to run in these already great Irish races.”