Magnificent seven for QIPCO British Champions Day
10 Aug 2017
Barney Roy a tempting 8-1 for the QIPCO Champion Stakes
Churchill beat Barney Roy in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. The pair could both feature on Champions Day. Picture: Racingfotos.com
A glittering cast of entries was revealed on Wednesday for QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on October 21. Here are seven horses who could help light up the £4.3 million card, which includes four Group 1 races plus a Group 2 contest.
ENABLE – QIPCO Champion Stakes
Trainer: John Gosden
Connections of the outstanding filly have suggested the prospects of her running in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and at Champions Day are high – not least because there is an extra six days between the meetings compared to last year. Enable has been a runaway winner of the Investec Oaks, Irish Oaks and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) already this year and has two options on October 21 – the Fillies & Mares and QIPCO Champion Stakes. The first race would be at her mercy but the latter, worth £1.3 million and Europe’s richest mile and a quarter race, would seem her most likely destination. Paddy Power make her 8-1.
CHURCHILL and WINTER – Various options
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
The tantalising prospect of this year’s Guineas winners both lining up on October 21 looks a distinct possibility. Winter has carried all before her this campaign and made it four Group 1 wins in succession with her success in the Qatar Nassau Stakes last week, having already struck twice in the Series in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and Coronation. Her versatility regards distance means she has three Group 1 options – the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, QIPCO Champion Stakes and QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes. Churchill, winner of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and Irish equivalent, has two – the Queen Elizabeth II and Champion Stakes. His next likely race, the Juddmonte International Stakes at York, could help determine their paths.
BARNEY ROY – QIPCO Champion Stakes
Trainer: Richard Hannon
Richard Hannon cannot wait for next year, when he believes Barney Roy will be even more the finished article and perhaps go on to show himself to be a champion over a mile and a half. Before that, though, there are more prizes to plunder this year with the St James’s Palace Stakes winner, who was perhaps unfortunate when runner-up in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and Coral-Eclipse in between. The Juddmonte International Stakes is Barney Roy’s next likely race and then the Champion Stakes looks a logical last port of call before 2018. Betfred and totesport make him a tempting 8-1.
RIBCHESTER – Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
Trainer: Richard Fahey
Richard Fahey would love the opportunity to train Ribchester as a five-year-old but, in all likelihood, the triple Group 1 winner will bow out on Champions Day before beginning his second vocation as a stallion. Winner of the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes and Queen Anne Stakes, he suffered a surprise neck defeat at the hands of Here Comes When in the Qatar Sussex Stakes last week but that reverse, in a muddling race run on deep ground, can be excused. Expect him to bounce back quickly and make a bold to go one better than he did in last year’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, when he was beaten half a length by the brilliant Minding. He is the general 4-1 favourite.
HARRY ANGEL – QIPCO British Champions Sprint
Trainer: Clive Cox
Blue could be the colour on Champions Day because Harry Angel, like Barney Roy and Ribchester, is owned by Godolphin. Clive Cox has pencilled in the brilliant Darley July Cup winner for the 32 Red Sprint Cup at Haydock on September 9, followed by the QIPCO British Champions Sprint. “He’s won his Group 1 and further progress in the department now looks on the cards, probably starting at Haydock (Sprint Cup) and the QIPCO British Champions Sprint would be another race for him,” Cox said in the aftermath of his emphatic win at Newmarket. “He is very versatile ground wise so we are lucky in that respect.” Winning jockey Adam Kirby could not stop smiling at Newmarket. “He’s a machine, the best you will see for a long time – I truly believe that.” Most bookmakers quote Harry Angel at 4-1.
BIG ORANGE – QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup
Trainer: Michael Bell
Big Orange could finish only fifth when contesting this race in 2014, when it was run on heavy ground, but has not looked back since. Now six, and more the finished article, he has looked better than ever this season, winning the Henry II Stakes at Sandown and the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot before beating all bar Stradivarius, who was receiving 13lb, when attempting to win a third successive Qatar Goodwood Cup. Good going or faster is considered ideal for Big Orange, although it was on the easy side when he ran so well at Goodwood last week. William Hill quote Big Orange at 5-1.
Tickets are selling fast for Britain’s richest raceday, so be sure to secure your spot at Ascot on Saturday October 21.