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QIPCO British Champions Day pivotal for Cecil

15 Sep 2011

Trailing Richard Hannon by £600,000 in his bid to be Champion Trainer in the UK for the 11th time and the first since 1993, Sir Henry Cecil needs to strike it big at Ascot on Saturday 15 October when his stable stars will be out in force.

Sir Henry Cecil with Midday after her third Nassau Stakes victory at Goodwood in July.  Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

Sir Henry Cecil passed the £2m prize money mark for the season with a hat-trick of winners yesterday at three different tracks, but he remains fourth in the table and still trails the defending champion, Richard Hannon, by over £600,000.

Cecil’s chances of landing his 11th trainers’ title and his first since 1993 will hinge entirely on QIPCO British Champions Day, the richest day in British racing history, at Ascot on Saturday 15th October.

His four heavyweight contenders – Frankel, Twice Over, Midday and Vita Nova – could carry off £1,725,605 if they were to achieve their best possible placings, more than half the day’s £3m total prize fund.

Despite strong opposition in the shape of French raider Immortal Verse and perhaps the fast improving Excelebration in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO, the mighty Frankel must have a tremendous chance of extending his unbeaten record to nine races and lifting the first prize of £567,100.

In the QIPCO Champion Stakes, today’s news that ante-post favourite So You Think will instead be aimed at the Arc has greatly boosted the chances of Twice Over and Midday, first and second in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York last month. Twice Over is chasing a record-equalling third successive Champion Stakes victory.

With £737,230 for first place and £279,500 for the runner-up, a repeat of that famous York one-two would net the master of Warren Place a further £1,016,730 in the richest horserace ever to be run in Britain.

Before either of those races is run, the Darley Yorkshire Oaks runner-up, Vita Nova, who is blossoming into a high class, middle distance filly, would bring in another £141,775 if successful in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

Another award could also be heading Cecil’s way at Ascot. He currently heads the QIPCO British Champions Series trainers’ leaderboard with six winners, one ahead of Mahmood Al Zarooni.

With one more second place and one more third place to his name than the Godolphin handler, Cecil is in a very strong position with just the Nayef Joel Stakes at Newmarket tomorrow week (Friday 23 September) and the five championship races on QIPCO British Champions Day to come.

“With a month to go, there are already so many compelling reasons to come to Ascot on Saturday 15th October, with Frankel’s last appearance of the season and Sir Henry Cecil’s final assault on the UK trainers’ championship undoubtedly heading that list,” said Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series Ltd.

“Only about 1,200 Premier admission tickets remain to be sold, hospitality is already a virtual sell-out and Grandstand tickets are picking up momentum with our main marketing drive having started last week.

“We’ll be looking to create a wonderful sense of theatre at Ascot for the big climax to the season and the way things are looking at the moment, Sir Henry could be playing the leading role amongst a panoply of equine stars. It promises to be a day to remember.”

Tickets cost £45 for Premier admission and £26 for Grandstand admission. A 10% advance booking discount applies until the end of September.

To book now, CLICK HERE.