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Former jockeys give massive thumbs up to QIPCO British Champions Day

13 Oct 2011

Stars of the saddle

Clare Balding and Willie Carson will be bringing QIPCO British Champions Day to BBC viewers on Saturday.  Image courtesy of

"It’s going to be like racing’s Cup Final", says former riding great Willie Carson, who will be co-presenting with Clare Balding three hours of live coverage of QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot this Saturday on BBC TV.

That’s one of many fascinating views expressed by a host of former top jockeys about the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day, which promises to be one of the greatest racedays ever staged in this country, on a special At The Races microsite set up to promote the day.

At The Races, who along with the BBC and Racing UK will be covering all the championship races on QIPCO British Champions Day live, launched their fantastic QIPCO British Champions Day microsite this week at

With guides to the races, expert form previews and interviews with the connections of many of the leading contenders, it’s well worth checking out.

Here’s what the former jockeys had to say:

Willie Carson

“We needed to have a championship day, to match the Arc weekend and the Breeders’ Cup, and it’s fantastic to have a meeting that will bring together the best horses racing for excellent prize money. It’s going to be like racing’s Cup Final and I hope it’s a great success. If it is – and we need it to be – the TV companies and other media should really get behind it.”

Mick Kinane

“It’s a wonderful concept and I hope it’s an enormous success. It’s something that’s been needed for a long while, as a focus for the best horses and the best racing, and having Frankel running in one of the main races is a big plus."

Richard Quinn

“British racing is the best in the world and to have a meeting like this will demonstrate that across the globe. It will be the pinnacle for all the people concerned – jockeys, trainers, owners and stable staff – but the horses – the best in the country – will be the real stars. If I could turn the clock back ten years, I’d love to be involved.”

Walter Swinburn

“I’ve been impressed with the way Ascot has developed over the past few years, with free race days and the success of the Shergar Cup, and this meeting is another huge feather in its cap. I’m sure it will attract plenty of interest, especially from new racegoers, and I’m looking forward to being personally involved, by having runners on the day.”

Pat Eddery

“Champions Day looks like being really good, with some fantastic races and any number of excellent horses. Racing needs a boost, with the financial climate so tough, and this meeting has everything going for it. Frankel has a fantastic following, among both experienced fans and newcomers to the sport, and I would have loved to get on his back.”

George Duffield

“People will always go to see the top horses, just as they will the top football teams, and a day like this gives them the perfect opportunity. Hopefully, it will be great way of attracting new fans to racing, as plenty will want be there to see the likes of Frankel, who looked a monster in the 2000 Guineas and got so many people talking about the sport.”

John Reid

“There’s no doubt it’s a great idea to have a big day at the end of the season and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t attract a huge crowd. I’m all for anything that boosts racing and in this inaugural year it’s got the advantage of having one the greatest horses any of us has ever seen in Frankel. I hope it works out well and gives racing a boost at a difficult time.”

Kevin Darley

“It’s an absolutely brilliant concept and, although there are bound to be doubters, I suspect when they see the day is a success, it will quickly bring them round. Once it’s established as a year-in-year-out fixture, it’s sure to attract plenty of media attention and that’s got to be a good thing for racing. I hope it proves a great platform for a healthy future for the sport.”

Ray Cochrane

“It has to be a good thing to get most of the best horses together on one day and for racing to take advantage of some decent publicity in the media. Putting on such a great card, especially with a horse like Frankel taking part, also has tremendous potential for attracting new racegoers. It’s at the right track, with the right horses, so it should be huge success.”


It’s not too late to be part of British Flat racing’s greatest day, when sunshine is forecast to shine on Ascot and five outstanding championship races are set to take place on the track.

To book tickets for QIPCO Bitish Champions Day via Ascot, CLICK HERE.