The Group One Juddmonte International run at York, is set to be the only European race that offers “Win and You’re In” benefits to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be staged at Santa Anita Racetrack in California, this November.
The successful horse in the £1 million flagship contest on the Knavesmire will receive a range of benefits ahead of any tilt for the $6 million prize in the United States. Significantly, connections would see their entry fee of $150,000 (c£115,000) fully funded as well as receiving $40,000 to assist with travel expenses.
The showpiece contests of their respective Festivals are closely linked; just last season, Roaring Lion carried the silks of Qatar Racing to glory at York and across Europe, before a valiant run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Back in millennium year, the Coolmore owned superstar, Giants Causeway, provided trainer Aidan O’Brien with success at York and so would have benefited ahead of a second place in America. In the last two years, three horses have headed stateside after their run in Yorkshire (Roaring Lion, Thunder Snow and Churchill).
Already part of what is formally known as the Breeders Cup Challenge Series; are the two other Group One contests staged at York; with both the Yorkshire Oaks and Coolmore Nunthorpe linking to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint respectively, come 1st and 2nd November.
William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of York Racecourse, said, “Our continuing partnership with Breeders’ Cup further demonstrates the global reach and appeal of the top races at York. The Juddmonte International was ranked in the top five races in the world in 2018 and the Breeders’ Cup Classic is the highest rated race in North America. It is an honour to be selected by our friends at Breeders’ Cup as the first, and indeed only, European contest to offer the “Win and You’re In” benefits to their feature race. Our aim is to attract the best horses and jockeys to York and I hope initiatives such as these continue to add to the appeal of racing at York.”
Speaking on behalf of the Breeders’ Cup, President and CEO, Craig Fravel said; “In conjunction with York Racecourse, we are very pleased announce that this year’s Juddmonte International will be the first-ever Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race in Europe to award the winner an automatic starting position into the Breeders’ Cup Classic. As Group 1 stars from the Juddmonte International have been pointed to the Classic over the years, it is a natural decision to bolster that opportunity and reward horsemen with the Challenge Series’ incentives of a free berth, and no entry fees for the Juddmonte International winner to be entered into this year’s Classic.”