Top Irish trainer Dermot Weld will bring some international flair to the Belmont Fall Championship Meet with a pair of nominees for the Grade 1, $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, topped by John D. Murrell's Zhukova.
Zhukova, a 5-year-old Irish-bred mare by Fastnet Rock, will return to the site of her biggest career win to date, when she got the best of her male competition and drew off to a six-length victory in the Grade 1 Man o' War on May 13.
She is also expected to be among the nominees for the Grade 1, $500,000 Flower Bowl on Sunday, October 8, which will be released later Sunday.
Since the Man o' War, Zhukova finished fourth against fillies and mares in the Group 1 Pretty Polly at the Curragh in July and eighth of 10 against open company in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes on September 9 at Leopardstown.
Scheduled to arrive from Europe on Tuesday afternoon, Zhukova will be joined on the flight by Frank Gillespie's Irish Group 1 winner The Grey Gatsby, who is also nominated for the Joe Hirsch.
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