Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier's 2-year-old longshot Royal Dornoch (IRE), under jockey Wayne Lordan, prevailed by a neck over 6-5 favored Kameko to win Saturday's one-mile $160,000 Juddmonte Royal Lodge (GII) at Newmarket Racecourse. With this victory, Royal Dornoch earned an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf through the international Breeders' Cup Challenge.
The Breeders' Cup Challenge is an international series of 86 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 Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, on Nov. 1-2. As part of the benefits of the Challenge series, Breeders' Cup will pay the entry fees for Royal Dornoch to start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, which will be run at one mile. Breeders' Cup also will provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.
Royal Dornoch, trained by Aidan O'Brien, joins stablemate Mogul (GB), winner of the KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes (G2) at Leopardstown, and Decorated Invader, who captured the Summer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine, as the first three horses to earn automatic berths into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf this year.
The winning trainer said: “He's a lovely horse and it is testament to him that he's been able to compete at the top level over 6f and a mile.
“He is like all Gleneagles, they have speed and they are so tough, genuine and tough.
“He ran well at Doncaster in what was a messy race, Padraig [Beggy] said that he was better than that run and that he would be better again going up to a mile.
“He has always worked like a good horse despite taking some time to win his maiden, but he is very genuine and we haven't protected him in any way, he's been pitched in all the time and has never disappointed us.
“Donnacha [O'Brien] has been telling me from an early stage that this horse needs a trip, and he is probably right. He'll definitely get a mile-and-a-quarter, whether he gets a mile and a half I don't know. Usually, horses that start at trips that short don't get a mile-and-a-half but he is by Gleneagles, who is by Galileo, so anything is possible.
“I'm sure he will improve again. Wayne [Lordan] felt that he still had plenty left at the line, which is always a positive sign.
“I would be surprised if he doesn't have an entry in the Vertem Futurity Trophy and it all depends on how he is a week before the race because at this time of the year horses can come and go a lot.”
Royal Dornoch, a bay son of Gleneagles (IRE) out of Bridal Dance (IRE) by Danehill Dancer (IRE), completed the one mile in a juvenile course-record time of 1:35.13.
Running prominently in the center of the course against six rivals, Royal Dornoch chased the pacesetting Kentucky-bred Kameko, ridden by Oisin Murphy, inside the final furlong and steadily wore down his opponent to get up in time at the finish. Two O'Brien-trained runners, 9-1 Iberia (IRE) and 6-1 Year of the Tiger (IRE), finished third and fourth respectively. Sound of Cannons (GB), Highland Chief (IRE) and Pyledriver (GB), completed the order of finish.
“He has ability, he was third in a Group 2 over six furlongs (Qatar Richmond Stakes at Goodwood, Aug.1) so he has the pace, but we always felt he wanted the mile,” said Lordan to ITV Racing afterward. “He's a very straightforward colt, he had to dig deep and he did.”
Today's win was the second in seven starts for Royal Dornoch, but his first at the mile distance. He broke his maiden at Gowran Park in Ireland two races back at seven furlongs, but trailed a five-horse field in his last start, the seven-furlong Pommery Champagne Stakes (G2) at Doncaster on Sept. 14.
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