Godolphin SNC's undefeated Earthlight (IRE), under jockey Mickael Barzalona, held off Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum's favored filly Raffle Prize (IRE) by a neck to win Sunday's six-furlong Darley Prix Morny (G1) for 2-year-old colts and fillies at Deauville. With this victory, Earthlight, trained by Andre Fabre, gained the first automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) this year 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, Nov. 1-2.
As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders' Cup will pay the pre-entry and entry fees for Earthlight to start in the $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint at five furlongs, a race which was run for the first time at the World Championships last year. Breeders' Cup also will provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.
— Breeders' Cup (@BreedersCup) August 18, 2019
Earthlight (IRE), a bay son of Shamardal out of the New Approach (IRE) mare Winters Moon, has now won all four of his starts. Sent off at 12-5 in the eight-horse field over the straight course at Deauville, Earthlight tracked behind the 19-10 Raffle Prize, ridden by Frankie Dettori, until the final furlong as the two leaders separated themselves from the rest. Racing just to the outside of his rival, Earthlight prevailed in the stretch drive, completing the six furlongs in 1:12.00 over a course listed as heavy.
Al Mohamediya Racing's Golden Horde (IRE) finished 2 ¾ lengths back in third, followed by the Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's Arizona (IRE) in fourth.
The big disappointment in the Morny was the fifth-place finish of Shaikh Duaij Al Khalifa's A' Ali (IRE), who was prominent early, but came up empty in the final furlong. A' Ali had earned a “Win and You're In” berth into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) by taking the Norfolk Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot, and had recently won the Darley Robert Papin (G2) at Deauville on July 21.
Earthlight, also bred by Godolphin, broke his maiden at 5 ½ furlongs in June at Maison-Lafitte, and then won the his next two races at Deauville: the six-furlong Prix de Caen by 3 ½ lengths on July 2 and six-furlong Darley Prix de Cabourg (G3) on July 28, taking the lead in the final furlong and driving home to a four-length win over the straight course.
Fabre, who has trained five Breeders' Cup winners, won the Prix Morny in 1992 with Zafonic.
Raffle Prize (IRE), trained by Mark Johnston, had won three consecutive starts, including back-to-back Group 2 wins, first at 18-1 in the Queen Mary Stakes on June 19 at Royal Ascot and then at Newmarket on July 12, taking the Duchess of Cambridge at six furlongs.
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