Edited Breeders’ up Release ― Kentucky-bred Capulet has been declared to face eight rivals as the favorite in Saturday’s Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) at Newmarket. The winner of the 1-mile contest will gain an automatic berth into the $1 million Prevagen Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 80 Graded/Group stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, scheduled to be held Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
Capulet, a son of Triple Crown hero Justify owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, posted a commendable effort in just his second start when finishing second by a half-length to stablemate Diego Velazquez (IRE) in the Sept. 9 KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes (G2) at Leopardstown, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race for the Juvenile Turf. Trainer Aidan O’Brien is just one victory away from equaling the record of Noel Murless, who has eight wins in this race.
Speaking ahead of the race, O’Brien said: “We’ve always liked Capulet. From day one we always thought he was a lovely colt and he’s very genuine.”
The unbeaten Aablan (IRE), trained by Charlie Appleby, is one of the most exciting 2-year-olds in England at present. The Godolphin-owned son of Dubawi (IRE) looks ready for the step up to this distance after he stayed 7 furlongs strongly last time out at Sandown to claim the Sept. 2 Virgin Bet Solario Stakes (G3) by a neck.
The Sheikh Abdullah Almalek Alsabah-owned Al Musmak (IRE) won for the second time in three starts Sept. 9 when he captured the listed Betfair Daily Tips On Betting Stakes going a mile at Haydock.
Roger Varian will be double-handed in this contest as he has also declared Defiance (IRE). The son of Camelot (GB) is the second of three runners in this race who still retain a 100% record. He was an impressive debut winner at 1 mile on Aug. 10 when overcoming inexperience at Sandown to run down Caviar Heights (IRE), eking out the success by a head.
Juddmonte’s Macduff (GB) was 1 1/2 lengths behind Al Musmak (IRE) when they faced each other at Haydock, and the Ralph Beckett-trained colt will look to reverse that form on Saturday.
Ghostwriter (IRE), trained by Clive Cox, is another 2-year-old whose perfect record of two wins is under threat. The J.C. Smith-owned colt defied a penalty at Ascot last time over 7 furlongs. The step up to 1 mile means there could be further improvement to come still for this son of Invincible Spirit (IRE).
The nine-runner field is completed by the Christophe Soumillon-ridden At Vimeiro (GER) and the Richard Hannon-trained Son (GB).