Mastercraftsman boosts Ballydoyle team for Breeders’ Cup

Mastercraftsman boosted Ballydoyle’s team for the Breeders’ Cup with an easy victory in the G3 Diamond Stakes (2000m) at Dundalk on Friday.

Sent off the $1.20 favourite, Mastercraftsman settled 15 lengths away from stable pacemaker Augustusthestrong (A.P. Indy) but closed on the weakening leader under a hands-and-heels ride from Johnny Murtagh.

Mastercraftsman (3c Danehill Dancer – Starlight Dreams by Black Tie Affair) won the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) and St James’s Palace Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot earlier this year before placings behind Sea The Stars in the Juddmonte International and Irish Champion Stakes.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien will run him in either the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) or the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) on November 7.

“I’m delighted with that performance,” Ireland’s champion trainer said.  “He probably got there a bit too soon but he’s a great horse and showed all his class.

“He will definitely go to Santa Anita, probably for the Classic.  He’s in the Mile too – along with Rip Van Winkle.  If both horses are well, I imagine they will run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”

Ballydoyle flag-bearer Rip Van Winkle booked his ticket to California after G1 victories in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last month.  The Galileo colt had also been beaten by Sea The Stars in the English 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and Eclipse Stakes.