Edited Breeders’ Cup Release ― River Tiber (IRE), winner of the Coventry Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot, heads into Group 1 company for the first time in the Sumbe Prix Morny (G1) at Deauville on Sunday. The winner of the 6-furlong straight course contest for 2-year-olds will be provided an automatic starting position into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (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.
The unbeaten River Tiber, a son of Wootton Bassett (GB), hasn’t been seen since his Royal Ascot success on June 20 and his trainer Aidan O’Brien has warned that his exciting colt suffered a setback in the lead-up to the race.
O’Brien, who won this contest 12 months ago with Blackbeard (IRE) said: “The plan is to run River Tiber. He had a setback a couple of weeks ago so there will be a cloud over him when we do run him as we’re a bit worried about his fitness, but the plan at the moment is to run. He had a hold-up and missed his second-last piece of work so he had that week off, but he did a piece of work this week so that gave him a chance to go.”
River Tiber is joined in the race by stable companions Edwardian and Johannes Brahms (GB), who was the runner-up as the favorite in the listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Christopher Head’s Ramatuelle is one of two fillies in the race. She will look to add to her impressive victory in the Prix Robert Papin (G2) at Chantilly last time out, a race which she dominated to convincingly defeat another Aidan O’Brien horse in His Majesty (IRE) by 4 lengths.
Vandeek (GB) made it two-for-two when defying soft conditions to run away with the Markel Richmond Stakes (G2) at Goodwood 17 days ago, and connections are hoping this striking son of Havana Grey (GB) can handle this step up in grade.
Amo Racing, Mrs. Rachael O’Callaghan, and Giselle De Aguiar’s Valiant Force caused one of the shocks of the season with a victory in the Norfolk Stakes (G2) at odds of 150-1. That victory earned him a guaranteed start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint via the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. He will be one of two Amo Racing contenders in the race, with the owners also represented by Thunder Blue (GB) whose sole victory came in the Novice Stakes at Goodwood on June 11.
Jasour (GB), trained by Clive Cox,defied odds of 16-1 to impressively claim the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes (G2) at Newmarket’s July Festival over 6 furlongs. A run in the Prix Morny would represent a first taste of Group 1 action for Jasour, but with a Group 2 under his belt, Cox believes his charge has all the attributes to follow in the footsteps of his 2012 Prix Morny winner, Reckless Abandon (GB), and strike at the top table.
The second filly in the race is Sacred Angel (IRE) whose latest victory came at Ascot in the June 29 Bateaux London Princess Margaret Stakes (G3). That win gave her trainer Charlie Johnston a first Group level success.
Elite Status (GB), trained by Karl Burke,has course and distance form after winning the Prix de Cabourg (G3) on July 30. Burke won this race in 2017 with Unfortunately (IRE). Sajir (IRE), who finished second to Elite Status in the Prix de Cabourg,completes the field.