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Alpha earns Breeders’ Cup ticket

McLaughlin-trained colt will bid to give Godolphin first victory in the $5m Classic

Image Credit: AP
Alpha will enter the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.
Gulf News

Dubai: Godolphin’s Alpha has been handed the task of ending the stable’s wait for victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita after dramatically dead-heating with Golden Ticket in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday.

Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, a forward champion trainer when based in the UAE, the son of Bernadini has shown significant improvement in every start and his most recent effort in top flight company confirmed him as one of Godolphin’s future stars.

McLaughlin won the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2006 with Invasor in the colours of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.

Alpha was winning at Grade 1 level for the first time when competing in the Travers, the highlight of the summer race meeting at Saratoga.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic is the highlight of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup meeting, which will feature some of the best horses from America and Europe in a $5million showdown.

Speaking on Godolphin’s website, McLaughlin said: “I will take a dead heat. At the sixteenth pole, I thought we were second best, then, at the last lunge or two, I thought we got there. Alpha ran very well and I am very proud of him.

“I have talked to Simon [Crisford, Godolphin’s racing manager] and Alpha is likely to race next in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on September 22 and then the Breeders’ Cup.”

Godolphin and McLaughlin could also be represented in the Classic with Questing, who annihilated her rivals by nine lengths in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga last week.

Godolphin, who have yet to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, came closest in 2001 when Sakhee went down by a nose to Tiznow.

Alpha is by Darley star Bernardini and out of Munnaya, a mare by English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky II, from a female line that has enjoyed a high success rate with high-class performers for more than a century.

This year’s Breeders Cup will take place at the famous Santa Anita race course in California on November 2-3.

The Classic is likely to attract a number of quality horses looking to follow in the footsteps of last year’s champion Drosselmeyer.

Among them are four horses who have qualified for the mile and a half contest through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, a global series of 73 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions into a corresponding race at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Dullahan, is the most recent qualifier for his win in last Sunday’s TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar when he beat Game on Dude in a track record time of 1:59.54.

Dullahan joined Ron the Greek, winner of the Stephen Foster Handicap, Game on Dude, winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup and Fort Larned, who won the Whitney Handicap as the qualifiers for this year’s Classic.

Under the Challenge series, Breeders’ Cup Limited will pay the $150,000 entry fee for the runners and also provide the winning stable a $10,000 travel allowance for the Championships.