It’s absolutely fantastic news that Weatherbys
Hamilton have included the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan as a qualifying race
for the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million this year.
Sequence Events, the Irish-based concert
promoter, will sponsor the Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes, the first big staying
race of the 2019 Irish Flat season and the highlight on a seven-race card at
Navan on Sunday.
The Sequence Events Vintage Crop Stakes over 14 furlongs is the sole Irish
qualifier for the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million. The winner of Sunday’s
race would emulate the brilliant Stradivarius and scoop the £1 million bonus if
going on to win the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, the Qatar Goodwood Cup at Goodwood
and the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York’s Ebor Festival.
In addition to the race at Navan, there are qualifying races in Dubai, Germany
and France to supplement four British qualifiers. As was the case in 2018, the
£1 million will be split between the connections of the successful horse, with
70% awarded to the owner and 30% divided equally between the trainer, stable
staff, breeder and jockey.
Aidan O'Brien holds the strongest hand after this afternoon’s latest forfeit
stage for Sunday’s race and could yet be represented by Classic winners Kew
Gardens and Capri. Kew Gardens enjoyed a stellar year in 2018, adding the
Doncaster St Leger to wins earlier in the season in the Group 2 Queen's Vase at
Royal Ascot and the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp. Capri is a dual
Classic winner having won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby and the Doncaster St
Leger in 2017. The Ballydoyle entry is further strengthened by Southern France,
third behind Kew Gardens in last season’s Doncaster St Leger.
The Ger Lyons-trained Mustajeer would relish the step back up in distance for
Sunday’s race, he was up against it on his seasonal return behind the
O’Brien-trained Magical over ten furlongs at Naas earlier this month but beat
the Jessica Harrington-trained Whirling Dervish over a trip closer to this at
the same course last November.
Whirling Dervish got the better of Jim Bolger’s Twilight Payment to win at
Gowran Park two weeks ago and they could well renew rivalry. Now in the care of
Joseph O'Brien, Cimeara was a good winner at Cork and is another intriguing
Peter Killeen, General Manager of Navan Racecourse, said: “It’s absolutely
fantastic news that Weatherbys Hamilton have included the Vintage Crop Stakes
at Navan as a qualifying race for the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million this
“It is a brilliant concept and the extension of the qualifying races from four
to eight has certainly helped Navan in broadening the interest of the race with
really strong entries and also attracting a non-industry sponsor in Sequence
Events for the race. It is one of our flagship races and this exciting news
will certainly capture everyone’s imagination.”
Donal McCarthy, Director of Sequence Events, said: “We are delighted to be
associated with supporting Navan through sponsorship of the prestigious Group 3
Sequence Events Vintage Crop Stakes. With an impressive roll call of previous
winners such as Order Of St George, Fame And Glory, Leading Light and Yeats,
Sequence Events sees this as a great opportunity to promote its brand to the
wide audience in Ireland and abroad that the race will reach.”
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