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Breeders' Cup Challenge



Mastercraftsman Heads to Santa Anita After Dundalk Victory

It is next stop Santa Anita for the Aidan O’Brien-trained Mastercraftsman, winner of this season’s Classic, the Irish 2,000 Guineas, plus the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, after his easy success in the Group Three Diamond Stakes at Dundalk in Ireland.



The Diamond Stakes is of 11 European races in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge, guaranteeing the winner a place in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, but O’Brien has his sights on another prize at Santa Anita, either the $2 million (US) TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile or the $5 million (US) Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 7.

After Mastercraftsman’s five-length victory over Fiery Lad in the extended 10-furlong ace on Polytrack, Ireland’s champion trainer said: “I’m delighted with that performance. There was no pussy-footing around and they went a very strong gallop.

“Johnny (Murtagh), as per usual, kept very cool and he knows the horse better than anyone.

“You'd have to be very impressed with that performance and Johnny said when he went to follow the leaders he probably got there a bit too soon. He is a great horse and showed all his class.

“He’s proved he can go on the surface and cruised home. He will definitely go to Santa Anita, probably for the Classic - though he's in the Mile too - along with Rip Van Winkle. If both horses are well, I imagine they will run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”

Sent off the 2/9 favourite, Mastercraftsman was settled in third by Johnny Murtagh as stable companion Augustusthestrong led initially and then Via Galilei took over the pacesetting role.

He was 15 lengths back at one stage but made progress turning for home and closed on the weakening leaders strongly at the two-furlong pole. He led within another half furlong and went clear under a hands and heels ride. The time for the 10 furlongs and 150 yards was 2m 12.18s.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of 63 races whose winners earn qualifying positions into a corresponding race at the World Championships, following the payment of applicable entry fees on October 26.

Following tonight’s Diamond Stakes, there are two more European races still to come in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge. The Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp on Sunday, for which the winner earns a place in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, and the Group One Emirates Airline Champion Stakes at Newmarket on October 17, for which the victor is guaranteed a place in the $3 million (US) Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf.

For the full schedule of the Breeders' Cup Challenge races, please visit


About Breeders' Cup

The Breeders' Cup administers the Breeders' Cup World Championships; Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships consisting of 14 races and $25.5 million in purses, which makes it the richest event in sports. At last year's Breeders' Cup, more than $100 million in winning wagers were returned to fans at betting locations around the globe. The Breeders' Cup also administers the Breeders' Cup Challenge qualifying series, and the Breeders' Cup Stakes Program. Breeders' Cup has offices in Lexington, Kentucky, and in New York City. Breeders' Cup press releases appear on the Breeders' Cup Web site, You may follow the Breeders' Cup on Twitter at

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