Two automatic starting positions in the Breeders' Cup World Championships will be on the line April 4 at Royal Randwick in Sydney, Australia, through the Breeders' Cup Challenge series.
Hallowed Crown and defending two-time winner Sacred Falls headline the 150th running of the $2 million The Star Doncaster Mile (Aus-I), which offers a berth in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT). Chautauqua and defending winner Lankan Rupee top the $2.5 million Darley T.J. Smith Stakes (Aus-I) at 1,200 meters (about six furlongs), a qualifying race for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT).
The Breeders' Cup Challenge is an international series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into the Breeders' Cup World Championships, which will be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington October 30-31.
Hallowed Crown, a 3-year-old Australian-bred son of 2007 Street Sense , is the favorite in the 23-horse field of the Doncaster Mile, but will break from the far outside post. Trained by Bart and James Cummings, Hallowed Crown has won two of his last three starts for owners Darley Australia and Gooree Stud. Hallowed Crown opened the season on Feb. 21 with a neck victory in the Hobartville Stakes (Aus-II) and followed that three weeks later with a group I victory in the one-mile Girvan Waugh Randwick Guineas (Aus-I). Returning to Rosehill for Sky Racing Rosehill Guineas (Aus-I) March 21, Hallowed Crown finished third as the 9-5 favorite.
Sacred Falls is shooting for an unprecedented third consecutive win in the Doncaster Mile for owners Raffles Thoroughbred Racing and G.J. Chitick and trainer Chris Waller. But the 6-year-old son of O'Reilly has not won in four starts since capturing the George Main Stakes (Aus-I) at 1,600 meter (about one mile) Sept. 20 at Randwick. He was recently 12th in the George Ryder Stakes (Aus-I) at Rosehill on March 21. Sacred Falls breaks from the 20th post position under Zac Purton, who was aboard in last year's Doncaster Mile win.
The Japanese star Real Impact, a 7-year-old son of Deep Impact owned by U Carrot Farm, is seeking his third win this year following a season-ending victory at home in the Hanshin Cup (Jpn-II) and a thrilling triumph by a head over Criterion in the George Ryder. Trained by Noriyuki Hori and ridden by James McDonald, Real Impact will break next to Sacred Falls in post 21.
R&C Legh Racing and GPI Racing's Chautauqua comes in to the T.J. Smith Stakes a winner of four of seven lifetime starts in the 11 horse field under jockey Tommy Berry. The 5-year-old son of Encosta de Lago has finished either first or second in all of his races, with the exception of last year's Sovereign Stakes (Aus-II) at Randwick over a soft course. This year, he won the Caulfield's Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (Aus-II) and was recently second in the Lexus Newmarket Handicap (G1) March 14 at Flemington for trainers Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes
Lankan Rupee, owned by Teeley Assets Ltd. Syndicate and trained by Mick Price, has won two group I races since last year's T.J. Smith win, scoring in last October's Sportingbet Manikato Stakes and this year in the Black Caviar Lightening Stakes at Flemington on February 21. Craig Newitt has the mount from the post 4 on the 6-year-old Australian-bred son of Rodoute's Choice.
The 6-year-old Australian-bred Terravista, trained by Joseph Pride, finished just behind Chautauqua in the Lexus Newmarket Handicap last time out. To be ridden by Hugh Bowman, Terravista has won five of eight career starts, including his last three at Randwick. He also has a group I victory by way of the Darley Classic at Flemington last November.