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Nathaniel could run in QIPCO Champion Stakes

7 Sep 2011

John Gosden's King Gerorge winner, currently the world's highest-rated middle distance horse, could run in Britain's richest ever race on Saturday 15 October after his first assignment in the Qatar Prix de l' Arc de Triomphe.

Nathaniel wins this year’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Betfair).  Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

Nathaniel, the brilliant winner of this season’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Betfair) and currently the highest-rated middle distance horse in the world, could yet end his season in the richest race ever to be run in Britain, the £1.3m QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday 15 October.

Unraced since his impressive victory over last year’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner, Workforce, at Ascot on 23 July, Nathaniel’s next assignment is this year’s Arc on Sunday 2 October.

A trip to Ascot for the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day, when Frankel will be in action in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, could then be on the cards for the colt who is rated 128 by the British handicappers.

"He’s not having a race prior to the Arc to give us the option to go for the QIPCO Champion Stakes as well," explained Gosden today.

"Thirteen days between races is very tight and we’ll have to assess how he is after Longchamp, but if you go into the Arc fresh, then you give yourself the chance to run in the Champion as well."

Already on course for the QIPCO Champion Stakes are the Sir Henry Cecil-trained duo of Twice Over and Midday, first and second in last month’s Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

Twice Over is chasing a remarkable Champion Stakes hat-trick, having won the last two runnings at the race’s previous home, Newmarket.

Aidan O’Brien’s stable star, So You Think, is another who could target the QIPCO Champion Stakes – a decision on that is expected soon, with a drop back to a mile against Frankel in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes or a step up to a mile and a half against Nathaniel in the Arc his other options.

Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series, said: "We’re still over five weeks away from Britain’s richest ever raceday, but the two big races are shaping up very nicely as things stand.

“That’s thanks in no small part to Prince Khalid Abdulla and Sir Henry Cecil for targeting Frankel, Twice Over and Midday at them, but there should be plenty of opposition to take them on.

“It’s fantastic that the world’s highest-rated middle distance horse, Nathaniel, could yet run in the QIPCO Champion Stakes and that the connections of Immortal Verse and Excelebration aren’t frightened by the prospect of meeting Frankel in the QE2, while Irish star So You Think still has the option to run in either."

Tickets for QIPCO British Champions Day can be booked via Ascot’s website with a 10% advance booking discount still available.  Only 2,000 Premier tickets remain, though there is still good availability in Grandstand.

To book, CLICK HERE.