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Royal Ascot runners targeting QIPCO British Champions Day

28 Jun 2017

There were five fabulous days of action at Royal Ascot last week and the eight Group 1 races at the meeting – all part of the QIPCO British Champions Series – provided some outstanding highlights.

There is a good chance a high proportion will return to Ascot on October 21 for QIPCO British Champions Day.We consider the possible runners.

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Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

It is not beyond the realms of possibility that horses who ran in five different races at the royal meeting will collide head on in this £1.1 million showpiece.

Ribchester and Mutakayyef, who dominated the finish of the Queen Anne Stakes, may possibly be joined by the first four home in the St James’s Palace Stakes – Barney Roy,  Lancaster Bomber, Thunder Snow and Churchill.

Winter, who won the Coronation Stakes, also has to come into the reckoning, while connections of Le Brevido indicated he would revert to a mile after his Jersey Stakes win.

If that were not enough, there could be a rematch between French fillies Qemah, who won the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, and Usherette, who finished third in that race but was arguably an unlucky loser.

Group 1 QIPCO Champion Stakes

Richard Hannon has suggested Barney Roy, winner of the St James’s Palace Stakes, could move up in distance and that makes this £1.3 million feature – the richest mile and a quarter race in Europe – a definite possibility for him.

There must be a chance Highland Reel, Decorated Knight, Ulysses and Queen’s Trust, who were the first four home in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, will meet again, while Benbatl, Orderofthegarter and Mirage Dancer, the first three home in Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes, will be other possibles.

Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes

The Tin Man won this prize last year and, having won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes last Saturday, clearly has a soft spot for Ascot. All being well, he will definitely be among the star cast on October 21.

Tasleet finished a neck runner-up on Saturday and his connections instantly indicated that Champions Day would be on his schedule.

Limato and Librisa Breeze, third and fourth,  might also return, while it will be a surprise if the first three home in the Commonwealth Cup  – Caravaggio, Harry Angel and Blue Point – are at least not entered.

Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes

Coronet, Mori and Hertford Square fought out the finish of the Ribblesdale Stakes and it will be be a surprise if their respective connections do not have an eye on this higher grade and more valuable prize, which is run over the same course and distance.

In addition, Queen’s Trust, a keeping-on fourth in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, could try and improve on the third place she managed in the race last year.

Group 2 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup

Big Orange and Order Of St George passed the post almost as one in an epic Gold Cup and it will be a big surprise if the pair are at least not entered.

Sheikhzayedroad, Quest For Fame and Simple Verse failed to figure in the Gold Cup but they occupied the first three places in the Long Distance Cup last year and seem likely to return.

In addition, the Queen’s Vase winner, Stradivarius, could join them, although the Ladbrokes St Leger is his main autumn objective.