Outstanding entries revealed for QIPCO British Champions Day
3 Aug 2011
Frankel, Canford Cliffs, Goldikova, So You Think, Await The Dawn, Nathaniel, Midday, Dream Ahead, Blue Bunting and Fame And Glory star in initial entries.
Frankel is set to be the star of the show on QIPCO British Champions Day. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.
The inaugural £3m QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 15 October looks set to provide a stunning climax to the QIPCO British Champions Series after entries for the five championship contests on Britain’s richest ever raceday were revealed today.
An outstanding entry of 31 horses for the £1 million Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO (Group One), which will be by far the richest mile race ever run in Europe, includes the world’s top four milers headed by superstar Frankel, the best horse in the world this year and already hailed by many as the greatest racehorse of the modern era.
The Sir Henry Cecil-trained three-year-old maintained his faultless record with a remarkable five-length success in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood a week ago – his third Mile victory in the QIPCO British Champions Series following wins in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May and the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
Ladbrokes have installed him as their red-hot 1-3 favourite for the glittering contest which will be run over Ascot’s straight mile.
The world’s second highest rated miler, Canford Cliffs, who was beaten five lengths in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes but had previously reeled off five Group One victories in succession, looks set to have another crack at Frankel and is the 4-1 second favourite in Ladbrokes’ ante-post market.
Also entered is the world’s joint third highest rated miler, the brilliant French-trained mare Goldikova, who recorded her 14th success at the highest level with a record fourth consecutive victory in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville on Sunday, having gone down by a length to Canford Cliffs in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. She is 6-1 with Ladbrokes.
Canford Cliffs’ trainer Richard Hannon has also entered Dick Turpin, who won the Prix Jean Prat last year and is joint third in the international mile ratings, and ready Goodwood Group Two scorer Strong Suit, while other potential contenders include last year’s winner Poet’s Voice, multiple Group One heroine Sahpresa, Coronation Stakes winner, Immortal Verse, Italian star, Worthadd and the St James’s Palace runner-up, Zoffany.
The £1.3m QIPCO Champion Stakes over one and a quarter miles, which will be the richest race ever run in Britain, has attracted a similarly powerful entry of 40 horses, headed by three of the world’s leading middle distance performers including Southern Hemisphere champion So You Think, who was victorious in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown at the start of July for his handler, Aidan O’Brien.
Nathaniel was an impressive winner of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Betfair) for trainer John Gosden at Ascot on July 23, while fellow three-year-old Pour Moi has been entered by legendary French handler Andre Fabre following an exhilarating last-to-first success in the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs in June.
Frankel also holds an entry in the race just in case connections decide to step him up in trip, but the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes appears to be the far more likely target.
Further spice may be added by the likes of Twice Over, who has triumphed in the past two renewals of the Champion Stakes at Newmarket, French Group One winners Sarafina and Planteur, as well as So You Think’s stable companion Await The Dawn, a ready winner of the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Midday and Snow Fairy have posted 10 victories in Group/Grade One company between them, while Classic winners Roderic O’Connor, Misty For Me, Reliable Man and Tin Horse are also engaged.
Golden Jubilee Stakes victor Society Rock and Dream Ahead, successful in the Darley July Cup, headline an entry of 44 for the £250,000 Group Two QIPCO British Champions Sprint over six furlongs.
Indeed, the first six from the Darley July Cup are all entered together with the Golden Jubilee runner-up, Monsieur Chevalier.
Sole Power could also aim for a second victory in the QIPCO British Champions Series having triumphed in the Betfred.com Temple Stakes at Haydock in May, while Hoof It looks set to make his mark in Group company following a record breaking victory under 10st in the ultra competitive Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood on Saturday.
Other entries include Masamah, Moonlight Cloud and Wizz Kid, who beat Prohibit in the Group Two Prix du Gros-Chene at Chantilly in June.
Midday also features alongside Classic-winning three-year-olds Blue Bunting and Dancing Rain in the 40 entries for the £250,000 Group Two QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares over a mile and a half.
The consistent Wonder Of Wonders may bid to avenge her Epsom defeat by Blue Bunting and she could be joined by Irish Oaks runner-up Banimpire, successful at Ascot in the Ribblesdale Stakes at the Royal Meeting.
Other entries of note include Crystal Capella and Principal Role, while a six-strong French entry includes Group Two scorer Maria Royal and the unbeaten Pacifique.
The 55 entries for the £200,000 Group Three QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup over two miles includes this year’s Gold Cup victor Fame And Glory, Emirates Airline Yorkshire Cup winner Duncan and Opinion Poll, who posted a thrilling victory over Lost In The Moment, Blue Bajan and Fox Hunt in the Artemis Goodwood Cup last week.
Leading Ladbrokes St Leger contenders Sea Moon, Namibian and Masked Marvel may also line up alongside the progressive Keys, Hardwicke Stakes runner-up Harris Tweed and the Dermot Weld-trained Sense Of Purpose.
“We couldn’t have asked for better QIPCO British Champions Day entries with the mouth-watering prospect of Frankel’s last race of the season in the QE2 in a rematch with Canford Cliffs, with the possibility of Goldikova and Dick Turpin as well, unquestionably topping the bill,” said Rod Street, Chief Executive of the British Champions Series.
“In the Champion, So You Think may look to bow out from his European campaign on a massive high, perhaps against the fast improving King George winner, Nathaniel, while stars like Dream Ahead and Hoof It in the Sprint, Midday and Blue Bunting in the Fillies & Mares and all the top stayers in the Long Distance Cup promise to make this one of the most exciting Flat racedays that this country has ever seen.
“Getting 26 French-trained entries and 36 from Ireland has exceeded our expectations.
“We expect ticket sales to build up a real momentum now and we’ll be looking for an early sell-out of Premier Admission as has been the case on Ascot’s other big days this season.”
Tickets for QIPCO British Champions Day are priced at £45 for Premier admission and £26 for Grandstand admission, with a 10% advance booking discount available now and greater reductions for group bookings of 10 or more people. Under 18s will be admitted free.
TO BOOK TICKETS FOR QIPCO BRITISH CHAMPIONS DAY (via Ascot), CLICK HERE.
Ladbrokes Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Prices:
1/3 Frankel, 4 Canford Cliffs, 6 Goldikova, 16 Zoffany, 20 Cityscape, 25 Dick Turpin, 150 Bullet Train. Each Way 1,2. Others on request.