Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Heads To South Africa This Saturday

A.N. & The Honorable Mrs. G. R. Foster’s 5-year-old homebred Belgarion, a winner of his last six races, headlines a field of nine runners entered for Saturday’s one-mile L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) at Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town, South Africa. The race winner will earn an automatic berth into the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile presented by PDJF (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. One race prior to the Queen’s Plate, Mauritzfontein Ltd.’s unbeaten 5-year-old mare Summer Pudding leads the 1 1/8-mile Cartier Paddock Stakes (G1) for a free starting position into the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).

Now in its 14th season, the Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into corresponding races of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held this year at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California on Nov. 5-6.

As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the pre-entry and entry fees for the winners of Saturday’s races, and also will provide a US$40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America, to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of Oct. 25 to receive the rewards.

Belgarion, a bay son of Dynasty, is trained by Justin Snaith, who has three starters in the race. Belgarion’s biggest career score was on July 25, 2020 when he won South Africa’s most prestigious race, the 1 3/8-mile Vodafone Durban July Stakes (G1) at Greyville by three-quarters of a length. He returned on Dec. 12 in the 7-furlong World Sports Betting Greenpoint Stakes (G2) at Kenilworth. Last of eight runners at the top of the stretch, Belgarion closed with a powerful rush to defeat the favored Rainbow Bridge by a neck. That victory improved Belgarion’s record to eight wins in 10 starts, and was his seventh-straight triumph dating back to September 2019. Belgarion will be ridded by Richard Fourie from post six.

Mr. and Mrs. M.L.P. Rattray’s 7-year-old gelding Rainbow Bridge, trained by Eric Sands, has had some hard luck in his last two starts. In addition to his close second-place finish in the Greenpoint Stakes, the bay son of Ideal World finished a short head behind Golden Ducat in the 1 1/8-mile World Sports Betting Champions Cup (G1) at Greyville on Aug. 29. His lone victory last year, however, came in the Group 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge at about 1 mile on June 28 at Greyville, defeating Vardy, last year’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate winner. Luke Ferrais will ride Rainbow Bridge out of gate five.

The front-running Cirillo also should be a factor for owner C.J.H. Van Niekerk and trainer Sean Tarry. Hitting the board in his last four starts, Cirillo held the lead in deep stretch in the Greenpoint Stakes before being passed in the final yards by Belgarion and Rainbow Bridge. A 5-year-old bay by Pomodoro, Cirillo last won on March 7, taking the 7-furlong Betting World Hawaii Stakes (G2). Breaking from post four, Cirillo will be ridden by Gavin Larena.

Another starter trained by Snaith is the 2019 L’Oramins Queen’s Plate winner Do It Again, owned by Nick Johnson and Bernard Kantor, who will be making his first start since Aug. 29. Ridden by Anton Marcus from post seven, the 6-year-old Twice Over gelding won two more Group 1 races in 2019, taking the Rising Sun Gold Challenge and the Durban July. Do It Again, though, did not win a race last year in five starts. He was sixth in the 2020 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, and third in both the Hollywood Bets Gold Cup and the Durban July.

Snaith’s third starter is longshot Hurricane Harry, who won three races last year, but trailed seven runners last time out in the Cape Mile at Kenilworth on Nov. 7. He will be ridden by Robert Khathi, breaking from post one.

In the Cartier Paddock Stakes, Summer Pudding, trained by Paul Peter, looms large over 11 rivals, having never lost in nine starts. Saturday’s race will be her first at Kenilworth as eight of her victories came at Turrfontein and one at Greyville. A 5-year-old bay daughter of Silvano out of Cherry on the Cake by Strike Smartly, Summer Pudding has three Group 1 wins, including her most recent triumph over male rivals by 2 ½ lengths in the 1 1/8-mile World Sports Betting Gauteng Summer Cup at Turffontein on Nov. 28. That was Summer Pudding’s first start since July 7, when she captured the 1 1/8-mile Champion Stayer: Out of Your League Pinnacle Stakes over fillies and mares at Turffontein.

Summer Pudding’s first Group 1 score came on March 7 in the 1-mile Wilgerbosdrift S A Fillies Classic. After winning the Group 2, 1 ½-mile Wilgerbosdrift S A Oaks at Turffontein on June 6, she got her second Group 1 of the season, defeating Driving Miss Daisy in the 1 1/8-mile Woolavington 2000 at Greyville on June 28. Summer Pudding will be ridden by Warren Kennedy from post 11.

The main danger to Summer Pudding could come from defending champion Queen Supreme. Also owned by Mauritzfontein (Pty) Ltd., Queen Supreme, trained by Mike de Kock, is a 5-year-old chestnut daughter of Exceed and Excel out of the Gone West mare Call Later. Queen Supreme captured last year’s Paddock Stakes by 2 ½ lengths over Driving Miss Daisy for her first Group 1 win. Two starts later, she finished third against males in the Hsh Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes (G1) on June 27 at Turrfontein. Off until Nov. 28, she faced open company again in the 1-mile World Sports Bet Ipi Tombe Challenge at Turffontein, finishing second by 1 ¾ lengths. She returned to the winner’s circle in her last start, taking the 1-mile Computaform Online Pinnacle Stakes by 4 ½ lengths on Dec. 12. Queen Supreme will be ridden for the first time by Keagan De Melo, from post two.

A.C. Peter’s Silvano’s Pride, third in last year’s race for trainer Justin Snaith, won two races in 2020, including her last start on Dec. 19 when she captured the 1-mile Cape Racing Victress Stakes (G2) at Kenilworth by a half-length. A 5-year-old chestnut daughter of Silvano, Silvano’s Pride also won the 6-furlong Tibouchina Stakes (G2) at Greyville on June 28 by 2 ¼ lengths. Robert Khathi has the mount, breaking from post seven.

The Eric Sands-trained Driving Miss Daisy has been off the board since her runner-up finish in the Woolavalington 2000 behind Summer Pudding. A 5-year-old bay daughter of Master of My Fate, Driving Miss Daisy finished sixth last time out in the Conditions Plate at Kenilworth on Nov. 21. Driving Miss Daisy breaks from post eight under jockey Morne Winnaar.

The post Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Heads To South Africa This Saturday appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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