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Nathaniel firmly in QIPCO Champion picture

27 Sep 2011

The prevailing fast ground in Paris looks increasingly likely to see Nathaniel, the best middle distance horse in the world this year according to the official ratings, skip this Sunday's Arc in favour of the QIPCO Champion Stakes.

Nathaniel wins the Betfair King George – a return to Ascot for QIPCO British Champions Day looks increasingly likely.  Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

The brilliant winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Nathaniel, who is rated the best middle distance horse in the world so far this year, looks increasingly likely to bypass the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris this weekend in favour of a crack at the QIPCO Champion Stakes, the richest race in British racing history at Ascot on Saturday 15 October.

With unseasonably warm weather across northern Europe and the likelihood of quick ground at Longchamp on Sunday, John Gosden’s stable star is reported to be a major doubt for the Paris showpiece, for which he would have to be supplemented on Thursday at a cost of 100,000 euros.

"I’d have to say that the forecast is not encouraging," Gosden told the Racing Post yesterday.

"We’re looking for a change in the weather and you would have to say that Nathaniel’s participation is very much in the balance.

"Being realistic, the forecast is not very promising and even if they water, the heat during the day will counter that.

"It is not as if we are running out of options for the horse as he could go for the QIPCO Champion Stakes."

Another leading Arc fancy who could yet miss the race for the same reason is the Alain de Royer Dupre-trained colt, Reliable Man.

Like Nathaniel, the French Derby and Prix Niel winner likes cut in the ground and is also entered for the £1.3m feature on QIPCO British Champions Day, when Frankel will take on Immortal Verse in the £1m Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the three other big QIPCO British Champions Series finale races will be run.

To buy tickets via Ascot for QIPCO British Champions Day, CLICK HERE.