Countdown to inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day intensifies
28 Sep 2011
The forfeit stage for the five championship races on QIPCO British Champions Day has seen all the expected star horses remain engaged, including Frankel, Nathaniel, Blue Bunting and So You Think.
Frankel heads the list of acceptors for QIPCO British Champions Day. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.
There is now just over a fortnight until Britain ’s richest-ever raceday is staged, the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 15 October, and interest in the five Group contests intensified today with the unveiling of the latest acceptors following the 27 September scratchings deadline.
As expected, the unbeaten Frankel heads the 14 acceptors for the £1 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, sponsored by QIPCO.
Officially rated the best horse in the world, Frankel has won all his eight starts, most recently sauntering to a five-length success in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on 27 July.
French raider Immortal Verse is being targeted at the race while other possible starters include Excelebration, who has twice filled the minor honours behind Frankel this season, but showed he is a top-class horse in his own right when an impressive winner of the Group 1 Qatar Prix Du Moulin De Longchamp on 11 September.
Dick Turpin looks set to represent reigning champion trainer Richard Hannon and warmed up with a short-head victory over Cityscape in the Group 1 Premio Vittorio Di Capua at San Siro on 24 September.
The mile contest is also an option for Ballydoyle’s So You Think, while last year’s winner Poet’s Voice is one of two left in by Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor alongside Rio De La Plata.
To view the full list of horses left in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, CLICK HERE.
Sir Henry Cecil revealed last week that he is likely to be two-handed in the £1.3 million Group 1 QIPCO Champion Stakes, run over 10 furlongs, with both Twice Over, who has won the race for the past two years when it was run at Newmarket, plus the mare Midday.
The Khalid Abdulla-owned pair, who filled the first two places in the Juddmonte International at York last month, feature among 26 acceptors for the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
Other potential starters for the richest race in Britain include So You Think, the Australian champion who has won four of his five starts since joining Aidan O’Brien, and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes victor Nathaniel, who may well bypass this Sunday’s Arc and run on QIPCO British Champins Day.
Godolphin’s Mahmood Al Zarooni, who lies second to Sir Henry Cecil in the trainer standings for the QIPCO British Champions Series, has three very interesting potential contenders in Casamento , French Navy and Dubai Prince , who have all won in the last month on their return to action.
The Queen, who will be in attendance at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day, could be represented in the QIPCO Champion Stakes by Investec Derby third Carlton House.
To view the fill list of horses left in the QIPCO Champion Stakes, CLICK HERE.
QIPCO British Champions Day kicks off with the Group 3 £200,000 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup over two miles.
Among the 23 going forward for this contest is Godolphin’s Opinion Poll, trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, who has already taken two races in the Long Distance category with victories in the Artemis Goodwood Cup and the Weatherbys Insurance Lonsdale Cup at York.
Opinion Poll could face a rematch with the Aidan O’Brien-trained Fame And Glory, who got the better of him by three lengths in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June.
To view the full list of horses left in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup, CLICK HERE.
Sprinters get their chance to shine in the Group 2 £250,000 QIPCO British Champions Sprint over six furlongs, with 32 remaining entries including Society Rock, Sole Power and Dream Ahead, who have all won races in the Sprint division of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Three-year-old Moonlight Cloud, impressive winner of the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest on her latest start, is set to make the journey from France, while Deacon Blues, Hoof It and Bated Breath are all improving four-year-olds who are being targeted at the race.
To view the full list of horses left in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint, CLICK HERE.
A fascinating contest is in prospect for the £250,000 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes for which 23 go forward.
Among those still engaged in the mile and a half event is Godolphin’s Blue Bunting, a three-time Group 1 winner in 2011 with her victories coming in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, Darley Irish Oaks and Darley Yorkshire Oaks.
Sir Henry Cecil plans to run Vita Nova, the close runner-up to Blue Bunting at York, while another leading contender is this year’s Investec Oaks and German Oaks victress Dancing Rain, trained by William Haggas.
To view the full list of horses left in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, CLICK HERE.
The next confirmation stage for QIPCO British Champions Day is on Monday, October 10, when there is also a supplementary entry stage for each of the five Group races.