Mother Earth Headlines 13-Horse Field In ‘Win And You’re In’ Matron Stakes

Derrick Smith & Mrs. John Magnier & Michael Tabor’s Mother Earth (IRE) heads a strong 13-runner field in the Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes (G1) at Leopardstown on Saturday. The winner of this race will earn an automatic starting position and fees paid into this year’s Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series 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 will be held at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California, on Nov. 5-6.

A daughter of Zoffany (IRE) out of the Green Desert mare Many Colours (GB), Mother Earth finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) last year, before kicking off her 3-year-old season in perfect style with a win in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas (G1).

The filly went on to place second in the Emirates Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (G1) at ParisLongchamp, third in the Coronation Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot, and runner-up in the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes (G1) at Newmarket. She returned to the winner’s circle in her last start, taking the Prix Rothschild (G1) at Deauville on Aug. 3.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien said: “We were delighted with Mother Earth the last day in Deauville, and everything has gone well with her since then.”

The Classic heroine is one of two Guineas scorers for O’Brien, who also saddles Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) winner Empress Josephine (IRE), alongside stablemate Friendly (IRE).

Johnny Murtagh enjoyed a glittering career in the saddle, including three wins at the Breeders’ Cup. He celebrated his first top-level success as a trainer in this race last year with Champers Elysees (IRE) and the 4-year-old returns to Leopardstown to defend her crown.

The daughter of Elzaam (AUS) will need to reverse recent form with Juddmonte’s Acanella (GB). Trained by Ger Lyons and ridden by Colin Keane, Acanella was last seen when winning the Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes (G3) at The Curragh, with Champers Elysees three-quarters of a length behind in second.

The Paddy Twomey-trained Pearls Galore (FR) is another stepping up to Group 1 company for the first time. The 4-year-old recently secured Group 3 success at Fairyhouse and Tipperary.

Other notable runners include Pretty Gorgeous (FR), trained by Joseph O’Brien, and Shale (IRE), trained by Donnacha O’Brien. The duo meet again having repeatedly clashed last season, but neither are yet to reproduce their top-class juvenile form.

As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the winners of the Challenge Series winners to start at this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Breeders’ Cup will also 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 be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of Oct. 25 to receive the rewards.

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