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Hydrangea on course to bloom on Champions Day for a second time

3 Oct 2018

Last year's 1-2-3 set to battle it out again in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stake

The first three home in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes last year – Hydrangea, Bateel and Coronet – remain on course to meet again.

Hydrangea’s convincing success 12 months ago helped provide her trainer, Aidan O’Brien, with a record 28 Group 1 wins in the year.

O’Brien has enjoyed another fruitful campaign but it has not been without tribulations after a virus swept through his yard during the summer. His team again seem in excellent fettle, though, and with QIPCO British Champions Day on the horizon and he has confirmed that Hydrangea is on course to defend her crown.

Tremendously reliable in 2017, she has not been at her best in three starts this year but O’Brien is hopeful of a revival. “The plan is to go back for the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares race,” he said. “We’ve had plenty of little issues with some of the horses and we’ve never really got her 100 per cent but we think she’s nearly back.”

O’Brien has nine other entries to juggle, including Rhododendron and Happily – both two-time Group 1 winners.

Bateel, winner of eight of her 15 races, will be hoping to make it third time lucky in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, while Coronet would not be winning at the highest level out of turn. She beat all bar Sea Of Class in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on her latest start and the grey filly has now been placed in six Group One races without quite managing to win one.

Blocking her path, apart from the pair who finished ahead of her last year, will be Lah Ti Dar, her exciting stablemate, who met with defeat for the first time when runner-up to Kew Gardens in the William Hill St Leger last month.

Owned by Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber, Lah Ti Dar is a daughter of Dar Re Mi and the older sister of the precocious Too Darn Hot, who is expected to feature prominently in the QIPCO British Champions Series next year. She seemed betrayed by a lack of experience at Town Moor, but should know more at Ascot. John Gosden, the trainer of Coronet and Lah Ti Dar, has also left in the outstanding Enable.

God Given, Horseplay and Pilaster flashed past the post almost as one in the Group 2 DFS Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster last month and are set for a fascinating rematch. Many observers believed the progressive Pilaster was an unlucky loser at Town Moor, a view shared by Roger Varian, her trainer. He said: “She should have won. She’s great, really well but would love some rain. She could run big if getting her conditions.”

Godolphin could be represented by Kitesurf, the Prix Vermeille winner, while another Group 1 victor Urban Fox, emphatic winner of the Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh in July, also remains engaged.

All remaining entries

Horse Age Weight Owner Trainer
Bateel (IRE) 6 9 5 Al Asayl Bloodstock Ltd Francis-Henri Graffard
Coronet (GB) 4 9 5 Denford Stud John Gosden
Crimson Rosette (IRE) 4 9 5 Mr A. E. Oppenheimer Charlie Fellowes
Enable (GB) 4 9 5 Mr K. Abdullah John Gosden
Eziyra (IRE) 4 9 5 H.H. Aga Khan D. K. Weld
God Given (GB) 4 9 5 St Albans Bloodstock Limited Luca Cumani
Horseplay (GB) 4 9 5 Cliveden Stud Andrew Balding
Hydrangea (IRE) 4 9 5 Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor Aidan O’Brien
Kitesurf (GB) 4 9 5 Godolphin S.N.C. A. Fabre
Kohinur (GB) 4 9 5 Al Asayl Bloodstock Ltd Francis-Henri Graffard
Rhododendron (IRE) 4 9 5 Mrs John Magnier,Mr M.Tabor & Mr D.Smith Aidan O’Brien
Star Rock (GB) 4 9 5 Ben & Sir Martyn Arbib Hughie Morrison
Urban Fox (GB) 4 9 5 Barnane Stud William Haggas
Athena (IRE) 3 8 13 Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor Aidan O’Brien
Broadway (IRE) 3 8 13 Mr M. Tabor, D. Smith & Mrs John Magnier Aidan O’Brien
Bye Bye Baby (IRE) 3 8 13 Mr M. Tabor, D. Smith & Mrs John Magnier Aidan O’Brien
Flattering (IRE) 3 8 13 Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor Aidan O’Brien
Happily (IRE) 3 8 13 Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor Aidan O’Brien
Lah Ti Dar (GB) 3 8 13 Lord Lloyd Webber John Gosden
Magical (IRE) 3 8 13 Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor Aidan O’Brien
Magic Wand (IRE) 3 8 13 M Tabor/D Smith/Mrs Magnier/M J Jooste Aidan O’Brien
Mary Tudor (IRE) 3 8 13 Godolphin W. McCreery
Pilaster (GB) 3 8 13 Cheveley Park Stud Roger Varian
Sizzling (IRE) 3 8 13 Mrs John Magnier,Mr M.Tabor & Mr D.Smith Aidan O’Brien
Worth Waiting (GB) 3 8 13 Mr Saif Ali David Lanigan
Race Entry Details for 15:15 THE QUEEN ELIZABETH II STAKES (CLASS 1) (Group 1) (Sponsored by Qipco) (British Champions Mile) (48172), at ASCOT on 20/10/2018
Animal Age Weight Owner Trainer
Accidental Agent (GB) 4 9 4 Mrs R. F. Johnson Houghton Eve Johnson Houghton
Addeybb (IRE) 4 9 4 Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum William Haggas
Beat The Bank (GB) 4 9 4 King Power Racing Co Ltd Andrew Balding
Century Dream (IRE) 4 9 4 Abdulla Belhabb Simon Crisford
Gabrial (IRE) 9 9 4 Dr Marwan Koukash Richard Fahey
Lightning Spear (GB) 7 9 4 Qatar Racing Limited David Simcock
Lord Glitters (FR) 5 9 4 Geoff & Sandra Turnbull David O’Meara
Recoletos (FR) 4 9 4 Sarl Darpat France C. Laffon-Parias
Stormy Antarctic (GB) 5 9 4 Mr P. K. Siu Ed Walker
Zabeel Prince (IRE) 5 9 4 Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum Roger Varian
Aljazzi (GB) 5 9 1 Saleh Al Homaizi & Imad Al Sagar Marco Botti
Expert Eye (GB) 3 9 1 Mr K. Abdullah Sir Michael Stoute
Gustav Klimt (IRE) 3 9 1 Mrs John Magnier,Mr M.Tabor & Mr D.Smith Aidan O’Brien
Hey Gaman (GB) 3 9 1 Mr Sultan Ali James Tate
Hydrangea (IRE) 4 9 1 Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor Aidan O’Brien
Rhododendron (IRE) 4 9 1 Mrs John Magnier,Mr M.Tabor & Mr D.Smith Aidan O’Brien
Roaring Lion (USA) 3 9 1 Qatar Racing Limited John Gosden
Romanised (IRE) 3 9 1 Mr Robert Ng K. J. Condon
St Patrick’s Day (USA) 3 9 1 Mrs John Magnier Aidan O’Brien
Wilamina (IRE) 5 9 1 The Snailwell Stud Martyn Meade
Without Parole (GB) 3 9 1 John Gunther & Tanya Gunther John Gosden
Clemmie (IRE) 3 8 12 Mr M. Tabor, D. Smith & Mrs John Magnier Aidan O’Brien
Happily (IRE) 3 8 12 Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor Aidan O’Brien
Homerique (USA) 3 8 12 Ecurie de Montlahuc Francis-Henri Graffard
I Can Fly (GB) 3 8 12 Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor Aidan O’Brien
Magical (IRE) 3 8 12 Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor Aidan O’Brien