Six memorable winners on QIPCO British Champions Day
10 Oct 2017
From Frankel to Muhaarar - we recall half a dozen fabulous winners on the biggest day of the year
Frankel signed off his career with victory on Champions Day. Picture: Racingfotos.com
There have been many magical performances on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot since its inception in 2011. Ahead of the seventh annual bonanza, on October 21, we recall six of the best.
1 FRANKEL (2011 and 2012)
The colossus signed off his unblemished 14-race career with a decisive victory over Cirrus Des Aigles in the 2012 Champion Stakes by a length and three quarters in front of a sellout crowd, having won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in emphatic style at the meeting 12 months earlier. The late Sir Henry Cecil said: “He’s the best I´ve ever had and the best I’ve ever seen, I’d be very surprised if there’s ever been better.” Frankel remains the only dual Champions Day winner. Click here for five of Frankel’s greatest wins in the Champions Series.
2 CIRRUS DES AIGLES (2011)
At the time the brilliant French gelding’s Champion Stakes win was tainted by controversial whip penalties, which were later reduced. Now, we can remember it for what it was – a superb success in a field that featured six horses with official ratings of 120 or higher. Cirrus Des Aigles was never far away and kept on strongly to beat So You Think by three quarters of a length, with Snow Fairy, Midday and Nathaniel the next three home.
3 ALMANZOR (2016)
Jean-Claude Rouget chose the QIPCO Champion Stakes over a tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on home territory for Almanzor and his decision was gloriously vindicated. Brilliant winner of the French Derby and QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes, Almanzor was sent off 11-8 favourite and showed his customary acceleration to surge two lengths clear of Found, who had won the Arc 13 days earlier, by two lengths.
WATCH: He’s a true champion!
— Champions Series (@ChampionsSeries) October 15, 2016
4 EXCELEBRATION (2012)
Often chased home the shadow of Frankel during his career – he was placed behind him on five occasions – but he was a top-class performer in his own right and proved it with a superb three-length victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Rated 125 going into the race – and 129 after it – the 10-11 favourite thumped Cityscape by three lengths, with Elusive Kate a similar distance back in third.
5 FARHH (2013)
The Saeed Bin Suroor-trained five-year-old had been off since winning the Lockinge five months earlier and raced a little keenly behind his pacemaker. Cirrus Des Aigles, the 6-4 favourite, seemed likely to overhaul him for much of the final furlong but Farhh was not for passing and held him off by a neck. Ruler Of The World, the Derby winner, was doing all his best work at the finish and was only half a length further back in third.
6 MUHAARAR (2015)
The Charlie Hills-trained colt confirmed his status as champion sprinter by putting Twilight Son, the Sprint Cup winner, and 18 others firmly in their place under Paul Hanagan. It was Muhaarar’s fourth successive Group 1 triumph – a feat rarely achieved in the sprinting ranks. The last sprinter to achieve it had been another Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned speedster in Dayjur, in 1990.
FLASHBACK: Will we see a winner as impressive as Muhaarar last year?
— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) October 15, 2016