Shareholder (10) ridden by James Doyle wins the Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) on Day Three of the Royal Ascot Race Meeting at Ascot Racecourse in Ascot, United Kingdom on June 20, 2024. Shamela Hanley/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM

From the Breeders’ Cup Media Team / Jim Gulluckson:

SHAREHOLDER LANDS NORFOLK STAKES AT ROYAL ASCOT

Kentucky-bred Earns Automatic Berth into $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint for World Championships at Del Mar

 

ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND (June 20, 2024) ─ Wathnan Racing’s Shareholder won the £110,000 Norfolk Stakes (G2) for 2-year-olds June 20 at Royal Ascot, earning a guaranteed start in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) via the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 82 stakes races in 12 countries, the winners of which receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, scheduled to be held Nov. 1-2 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, California.

Twenty-four hours after guiding Leovanni (IRE) to success in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) for trainer Karl Burke in the Wathnan Racing colors, James Doyle repeated the feat on Shareholder. The son of Not This Time broke slowly in the 13-horse field, but soon settled into his rhythm in the smaller group of five on the far side of the track. He moved smoothly into contention approaching the final furlong and took up the running before powering home to win by 1 length over Tropical Storm (GB). AMO Racing Limited & Giselle De Aguiar’s Arizona Blaze (GB) raced on his own up the near-side rail and was a fast-finishing third for the same connections as last year’s shock 150-1 winner Valiant Force. The winning time for the 5 furlongs was :59.77 on a course rated good to firm.

Shareholder was bred in Kentucky by Skyfall Thoroughbreds LLC, and brought $62,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Before making his debut as a 2-year-old, he was purchased at the Arqana May Breeze-Up Sale for €460,000 by Wathnan Racing. He subsequently made a sparkling start to his racing career in the bet365 Two Year OldTrophy Conditions Stakes at Beverley, before heading to Ascot.

Karl Burke after the race said: “I’m delighted; he’s a lovely horse. We haven’t had him very long, but he’s done nothing but please us at home. I wouldn’t see any problem stepping back up to 6 furlongs if we want to. Races like the Sumbe Prix Morny (G1) come into the equation. I don’t see why we wouldn’t go straight to a Group 1 now.”

Looking ahead to the Breeders’ Cup, Karl Burke admitted he would love to go one better than he did in 2022 in the Juvenile Turf Sprint. He said: “I thought we’d won at Keeneland with Dramatised (IRE), but she just got collared in the last fifty yards, so that same race at Del Mar is a possibility. The ground wouldn’t be an issue with this horse.”

As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Shareholder to start in the 5-furlong Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. Each Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of Oct. 21 to receive the rewards. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.