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Glass Slippers lands historic Breeders’ Cup victory and could be back for more in 2021

British-bred and trained GLASS SLIPPERS (GB) became the first ever European born and based winner of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Saturday, and early indications are that the filly could be back to defend her title next year.

Trained by North Yorkshire-based Kevin Ryan, for whom this win represented a first Breeders’ Cup success, four-year-old Glass Slippers escaped congestion in the final furlongs to pull clear of Grade 1 winner WET YOUR WHISTLE and race favourite LEINSTER by half a length.

Asked whether Glass Slippers would be back to defend her title in 2021, Ryan told reporters:

 “Why not? Terry and Margaret [Holdcroft] are going to keep her in training. We don’t get a lot of time with these horses. If everything goes right, we’d love to come back.”

Bred by owners Terry and Margaret Holdcroft and retained to race under the banner of their Bearstone Stud in Shropshire as the last progeny of broodmare NIGHT GYPSY (GB), the feat concludes another memorable season for Glass Slippers. The filly landed the Group 1 Flying Five Stakes in September at the Curragh before being narrowly denied her second consecutive Group 1 Prix de l‘Abbaye title when finishing runner-up at Longchamp five weeks ago.

Reflecting on the success, Mark Pennell, Stud Manager at Bearstone Stud, told GBRI:

“She’s so cool. Wherever she travels, she just seems to thrive on it.

 “There was something different about her today. She got very excited, pawing the ground and wanted to get on with it.”

 Pennell further commented on what a first Breeders’ Cup win meant for the operation:

“It’s just massive for everybody because we’re not a massive breeding operation; we don’t keep many horses to race. We lost the mare and decided that we were always going to keep that filly from a foal. She always looked like an athlete.

 “I’ve worked with Terry and Margaret for 40 years and to get a horse like this at the end, it’s been worthwhile. If you’re persistent and keep trying, you’ll get one. We kept her, and raced her, and broke her in at home – we’ve done absolutely everything with her and it’s just been unbelievable.

 “I can’t tell you the number of messages I’ve had off people that have been in the racing industry for years; it’s just been amazing. It’s just phenomenal and she’s really put us on the map.”

 When asked about Glass Slippers’ plans for next year, Pennell said:

“That [staying in training next year] was the prediction but we weren’t predicting what was going to happen today. Another year in training wouldn’t do her any harm as a broodmare prospect. It’s nice to have a fabulous filly to go racing with really. At the moment, it’s totally possible that she’ll remain in training next year. She’d come back home to the stud for the winter, she’s done that every year, and then go back to Kevin next year.”

 On the trainer who has got Glass Slippers to where she is today, Pennell went on to say:

 Kevin Ryan is a very good trainer of fillies. He doesn’t rush them and his attention to detail is next to none.”