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Series Spotlight: Mile

7 Mar 2017

In the first of a weekly five-part series, we take a look at the five categories in the QIPCO British Champions Series - starting with the Mile division.

Minding - Mile

Minding was the star of the Mile division last year. Pic:racingfotos.com

THE MILE CATEGORY

The class of 2016 took it in turns to beat each other in the Mile category. Will it be the same story this season, or will one horse take the division by the scruff of the neck?

If you were betting on it, you would imagine the seven races that comprise the division will again be shared out.

For example, Churchill, whose five wins as a two-year-old in 2016 included two Group 1 victories, is hot favourite to win the opening race of the category – the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 6 – but may then move up in distance.

Those who have made Aidan O’Brien-trained colt ante-post favourite for the Investec Derby at Epsom on June 3 will certainly be hoping that is is the case.

The unbeaten Caravaggio, another colt in the care of O’Brien, is also prominent in the 2000 Guineas betting but there are question marks over his ability to be fully effective over a mile. He could take the sprinting path.

The Gurkha, winner of the Qatar Sussex Stakes last year, and Belardo, who landed the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, have been retired. So has Awtaad, the Irish 2000 Guineas victor.

But many of last season’s milers will be back for more.

Minding’s tremendous campaign in 2016 included victories in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. She also flourished over middle distances and her versatility means she will have a range of options.

 

Galileo Gold won two early races in the Mile category last year – the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes – and also went close in the Sussex Stakes before his exploits seemed to catch up with him in the latter part of the campaign.

With his batteries recharged, he seems certain to again be a force for the yard of Hugo Palmer. The Lockinge, sponsored by his owners, is already a stated aim.

Ribchester, placed in the 2000 Guineas and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, appeals as the type to thrive as a four-year-old, while Lightning Spear should also make his presence felt.

With American-trained star Tepin possibly returning to defend her Queen Anne Stakes, there is much to look forward to.

THE MILE RACES

May 6: QIPCO 2000 Guineas

May 20: Al Shaqab Lockinge

June 20: Queen Anne

June 20: St James’s Palace Stakes

August 2: Qatar Sussex Stakes

October 7: Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot

October 21: Queen Elizabeth II Stakes