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2011 was a vintage year for British Flat racing

10 Jan 2012

It was a remarkable year for Flat racing in Britain, with 12 of the world's top 16 horses contesting QIPCO British Champions Series races...and the 2012 season could be just as good!

Cirrus Des Aigles returns in triumph after defeating So You Think in the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot last October – along with Frankel, both are set to race on 2012, setting up the prospect of another exceptional season ahead.  Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

No less than 12 of the world’s top 16 Flat horses, eight of which were home trained, raced in Britain during the 2011 season, as revealed by the World Thoroughbred Rankings today.

The world’s best horse, Frankel (rated 136), led the way with seven other British-trained horses below him amongst those rated 124 or above – Canford Cliffs (127), Rewilding (127), Dream Ahead (126), Excelebration (126), Nathaniel (126), Twice Over (125) and Workforce (125).

The four overseas stars in the world’s top 16 to race in Britain were Cirrus Des Aigles (128) and Goldikova (124) from France and So You Think (126) and St Nicholas Abbey (124) from Ireland.

Only Australian sprinting sensation Black Caviar (132), the brilliant German-trained Arc winner Danedream (128), Singapore star Rocket Man (125) and the American-trained Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, Drosselmeyer (124), did not race in Britain in 2011 amongst the world’s top 16.

All 12 of those that did race here finished first or second in British Group 1 races, providing a vintage year for the top level of Flat racing in this country which was presented in a more coherent way through the introduction of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

The Series, which signposts the top 35 races in Britain, climaxed with the new QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot in October. With £3m in prize money across its five Group races, it was the richest day’s Flat racing ever staged in Britain.

Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series, said: “It was a sensational year for Flat racing in this country. The introduction of the QIPCO British Champions Series to showcase our top races and the creation of QIPCO British Champions Day as the new climax to our season were truly blessed by the star quality of the main participants.

“With Frankel staying in training alongside a plethora of the other top horses from last year and with the world’s second best horse, Black Caviar, on course to make her European debut at Royal Ascot in June, we could be set for something just as spectacular in 2012.”

The 2012 QIPCO British Champions Series kicks off on Saturday 5 May with the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, the race that catapulted Frankel to superstar status last year.