Sceptical and Hello Youmzain Headline Saturday's Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot for Automatic Berth into Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint
ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND (June 18, 2020) -– James McAuley’s Sceptical (GB), winner of his last four races, and Haras d'Etreham and Cambridge Stud’s Hello Youmzain (FR), lead Saturday’s 6-furlong, Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot. A victory in the Diamond Jubilee will give the winner an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of stakes races, whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held at Keeneland Race Course, in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov 6-7.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the winner of the Diamond Jubilee to start in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, for 3-year-olds and up, which will be run at 5 ½ furlongs over the Keeneland turf course. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a travel allowance of US$40,000 for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must already be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program or it must be nominated by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of Oct. 26 to receive the rewards.
The Diamond Jubilee is the fourth of four Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races to be conducted during the 2020 Royal Ascot meeting. The race will be televised live on NBC and TVG at approximately 10:35 a.m. ET in the U.S.
Sceptical, by Exceed And Excel (AUS) out of 2009 Royal Ascot winner Jealous Again, was bred by Godolphin but never went into training and was picked up at auction by McAuley last August for just approximately US$3,500. He has won four of his five starts, confirming his status as Ireland’s top-rated sprinter with a 3-length victory in the listed Woodlands Stakes at Naas on June 8.
The Woodlands was Sceptical’s first win on turf as his four previous races were on the all- weather surface at Dundalk, which include the first two starts of this year.
Trainer Denis Hogan decided last week that the 6-furlong Diamond Jubilee Stakes was the preferred target over the 5-furlong King’s Stand Stakes (G1), which was won on Tuesday by Battaash (IRE).
“I suppose the Diamond Jubilee is the more suitable race without having to take on Battaash (IRE) [in the King’s Stand],” said the County Tipperary-based Hogan last week. “The distance is ideal and it gives him nearly an extra week to get over Naas.
“With a long season ahead, I think it would have been asking too much to run him back so quick. We had thought about going for both races but you can’t be too greedy.”
Sceptical will be ridden for the first time by Frankie Dettori, who is seeking his second victory in in this race after winning it in 2015 aboard Undrafted.
The 4-year-old Hello Youmzain, trained by Kevin Ryan, returns to Royal Ascot following a third- place finish in last year’s 6-furlong Commonwealth Cup (G1). A bay son of Kodiac (GB) out of the Sharmadal mare Splasha (GB), Hello Youmzain started next in September and won his first Group 1, the 6-furlong Haydock Park Sprint by a length over The Tin Man (GB). He was leading the QIPCO British Champions Sprint (G1) at Ascot on October 19, but gave way in the final furlong and wound up eighth. Kevin Stott has the mount aboard Hello Youmzain.
Lael Stable’s versatile 6-year-old mare, One Master (GB), trained by William Haggas and ridden by James Doyle, finished second by a length in last October’s British Champions Sprint, which came 13 days after she successfully defending her title in the 7-furlong Prix de la Foret (G1) at ParisLongchamp. Last year at Royal Ascot, One Master finished third in the 1-mile Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at 20-1, after leading the field into the final furlong. In her subsequent Group 1 effort, the 1-mile Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket in July, One Master finished second by a neck.
Hamdam Al Maktoum’s 4-year-old Khaadem (IRE), trained by Charlie Hills and ridden by Jim Crowley, earned some sprinting success last summer following a seventh-place finish in the Commonwealth Cup. The brown son of Dark Angel (IRE) finished second in his next start, the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury in July. His best race of the year came at Goodwood on Aug. 3 when he defeated 26 rivals in the Unibet Stewards’ Cup (Heritage Handicap) by 2 ¾ lengths.
In last year’s Diamond Jubilee, the favored Blue Point (IRE) appeared to be home free in the stretch before Saeed Suhail’s 12-1 Dream of Dreams (IRE) unleashed a determined drive to the wire, and just missed collaring Blue Point at the line, finishing second by a neck. The now 6-year-old son of Dream Ahead, trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden Saturday by Ryan Moore, Dream of Dreams will try to get 2020 off to a better start after finishing off the board in the July Cup (G1) at Newmarket, Sprint Cup (G1) at Haydock and the Champions Sprint back at Ascot during the second half of last year.
Fred Archer Racing’s venerable The Tin Man will be making his fifth consecutive start in the Diamond Jubilee, having won the 2017 edition over Tasleet (GB) by neck. The 8-year-old gelding, trained by James Fanshawe and ridden by Oisin Murphy, finished fourth in the race in 2018, and rebounded two races later to capture the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock. However, The Tin Man has not won since, including a sixth-place finish in last year’s Diamond Jubilee.
The Diamond Jubilee is the last of four Breeders’ Cup Challenge races to be run during the Royal Meeting. On Tuesday, Circus Maximus (IRE), earned a “Win and You’re In” berth into the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) by taking the Queen Anne Stakes (G1). On Wednesday, Lord North (IRE) secured an automatic starting position into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) by taking the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1). On Friday, the Norfolk Stakes (G2) winner will earn an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2).
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series will return to Ascot on July 25 for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1), which will award the winner with an automatic starting position into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.
ABOUT BREEDERS’ CUP
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred horse racing’s year-end Championships, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The Breeders’ Cup is also a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an organization composed of industry leaders committed to advancing safety measures in Thoroughbred racing and improving the well-being of equine and human athletes.
The 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, is scheduled to be held on November 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky and features a total of $35 million in purses and awards. The event will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
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