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A scintillating 17 stand their ground in Britain’s richest ever horse race

10 Oct 2011

A fantastic line-up in the £1.3m QIPCO Champion Stakes looks assured after 17 horses stood their ground at today's confirmation stage, including So You Think, Nathaniel, Twice Over, Snow Fairy and Midday.

So You Think defeats Workforce in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park in July – can the giant ex-Australian star lift Britain’s richest ever race at Ascot on Saturday?  Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

A sensational line-up befitting Britain’s richest ever race, the £1.3m QIPCO Champion Stakes at 4.10pm at Ascot on Saturday, looks likely as 17 horses were confirmed at today’s five-day stage – the final field will be known on Thursday morning.

Amongst the expected stars in the potential line-up for the fifth race on Saturday’s spectacular QIPCO British Champions Day card are the Aidan O’Brien-trained, ex-Australian champion So You Think, the brilliant King George winner Nathaniel, Sir Henry Cecil’s top class pair of Twice Over and Midday, French-trained stars Reliable Man and Cirrus Des Aigles and the high class Godolphin-owned pair of Dubai Prince and Casamento.

Two unexpected confirmations were those of the brilliant filly Snow Fairy, who like So You Think and Reliable Man ran in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe eight days ago, and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Await The Dawn, so highly regarded at Ballydoyle but who returned home sick after flopping in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York in August when last seen on a racecourse.

Other confirmations include Wigmore Hall, Green Destiny and Ransom Note, all classy horses who won last time out, and the tough and consistent Jim Bolger-trained filly Banimpire, who has the option to run in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes instead.

John Gosden, Nathaniel’s trainer, said today: “The ground was beautiful at Ascot’s last meeting and it would be great if it could prepared like that again on Saturday.

“Although Nathaniel is stepping down in distance, that is not a great concern to me as when he won the King George there was no pace early and it turned into a mile and a quarter race.

“I think Saturday’s race is going to be very much a draw race. I think it will be critical where you are drawn. If you are on the outside, you will be severely compromised.

“It looks a strong field with great strength in depth – a race to be celebrated.”

Sir Henry Cecil said: “I plan to run Twice Over and Midday.

"Both horses are very well and I am delighted with them. They have been trained for the race.

"This is always the best time of the year for Twice Over and he is better than ever – he is jumping out of his skin.

"Midday is also better in the second half of the season. Both horses are entitled to run and they could both beat each other."

Simon Crisford, Godolphin’s racing manager, said:"Casamento is rated 7lb higher than Dubai Prince who is on 110 and will need to run to 125+ to win the race.

"But Dubai Prince is the one horse we have within Godolphin whom we have definitely not seen the best of yet.

"He is a quality colt and he is not going to bounce from his victory at Newbury after a long layoff because that was an easy win for him.

"He is definitely progressing the way we want him to progress. It is impossible to judge his form so far and we don’t know how good he is.

"He hasn’t claimed any proper scalps yet, but he is exciting us and he belongs in that race alongside very good horses. Whether he is good enough to win, we will find out.

"Casamento is really solid, tough, nice horse. He won the Racing Post Trophy last year.

"It has taken him a few races to get back to his best, but he is workmanlike colt who does not exude huge quality in terms of acceleration.

"He needs to be wound up a long way from the finish but he comes into this race after a decent victory in France and we would expect him to run well.

"And obviously Poet’s Voice could join those two as a third runner. Sheikh Mohammed will decide on the riding plans closer to the race."

To view the full race details and entries, CLICK HERE.