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Ten Series stars to look forward to in 2018

26 Oct 2017

Cracksman and Enable will be among those back for more next season

Enable wins the King George on her way to the Yorkshire Oaks

Enable’s superb season included an easy win in the King George at Ascot. Picture: Racingfotos.com

The seventh QIPCO British Champions Series may be over but there are already plenty of reasons to relish next year’s action with a string of Series stars set to stay in training. Here are ten leading lights who will be be back for more in 2018.

BATTAASH

The Charlie Hills-trained speedster put up an outstanding effort to trounce Marsha by four lengths in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly in October, having also sparkled at Sandown (twice) and Goodwood earlier in the season. His one blip was in the Coolmore Nunthorpe at York in August but, effective on any ground, he will be a force to be reckoned with in all the top sprints next year.

BIG ORANGE

Winner of an epic Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June and beat all bar Stradivarius, when trying to concede him 13lb, when seeking a third successive Qatar Goodwood Cup. Well held on heavy ground on QIPCO British Champions Day but he is a different animal on fast going and write him off at your peril when he gets his conditions.

CAPRI

Put up a really classy/gutsy display to win a strong renewal of the William Hill St Leger, having previously landed the Irish Derby at the main expense of Cracksman. His proven stamina means he is likely to be a force in all the top races between a mile and a half and two miles.

CRACKSMAN

The Frankel colt improved all year and was a stunning seven-length winner of the QIPCO Champion Stakes on Champions Day. The official handicapper assessed that as the best performance seen in Europe all year, raising his rating from 122 to 130. Likely to be even better as a four-year-old, when he is likely to have a programme revolving around races between 10 and 12 furlongs.

ENABLE

John Gosden’s filly was flawless this year, winning five successive Group 1 races in imperious fashion. Three of her triumphs came in Champions Series races – the Investec Oaks, QIPCO-sponsored King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Darley Yorkshire Oaks – and no reason to think she will not again excel at up to a mile and a half.

HARRY ANGEL

Officially rated the fastest horse in the world after his victories in the Darley July Cup and 32Red Sprint Cup. Superb in the latter race, which he won by four lengths. Not at his best when fourth in the Sprint on QIPCO Champions Day (bit restless before start and keen in race itself on testing ground) but can be forgiven that reverse and will set a high standard for three-year-olds to aim at.

HYDRANGEA

Tremendously tough and versatile performer, who began the season beating Winter over a trip of seven furlongs and ended it by staying on stoutly to land the Fillies & Mares Stakes over a mile and a half on QIPCO British Champions Day. Her effectiveness over a range of distances means connections will be not be short of options in 2018.

LADY AURELIA

Breathtaking at Royal Ascot for the second successive year when waltzing clear in the King’s Stand Stakes. Many thought the flying filly from America had followed up in the Nunthorpe – including jockey Frankie Dettori – but the photo-finish revealed Marsha had pipped her by a nose. There is little doubt Lady Aurelia will again make her presence felt in the top sprints.

LIBRISA BREEZE

Dean Ivory’s grey had been luckless until finally everything dropped right for him in the Sprint Stakes on Champions Day. The testing ground brought his stamina into play that day but it was no fluke and if he gets the rub of the green next year (he is habitually held up and needs the gaps to emerge at the right time) he may well prove it.

ORDER OF ST GEORGE

Dug deep to win the Long Distance Cup on QIPCO British Champions Day after narrowly being denied a second Gold Cup success in June. That Royal Ascot showpiece is already at the top of his agenda and whatever beats him will know he or she has been in a race.