Seven sensational winners on Champions Day
16 Oct 2018
From Frankel to Cracksman - we recall some epic victors since the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day in 2011.
Frankel and Tom Queally with Sir Henry Cecil after winning the QIPCO Champion Stakes in 2012. Picture: Racingfotos.com
There have been many memorable moments since the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day in 2011. The below have featured among the stunning winners.
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.”
Who will follow him onto roll of honour tomorrow? pic.twitter.com/U2mVO9SSxe
— Champions Series (@ChampionsSeries) October 14, 2016
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.
Excelebration 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.
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.
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 his 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.
The brilliant colt had won the French Derby and Irish Champion Stakes en route to Ascot and confirmed himself as the best in Europe with a fluent two-length victory over Found, who had won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on her previous start. Always travelling sweetly under Christophe Soumillon, Almanzor breezed ahead in the closing stages without being hard ridden.
On this day in 2016 ALMANZOR landed the QIPCO Champion Stakes on #ChampionsDay
Who will land it in 2018? pic.twitter.com/QdbLdTYIKf
— Champions Series (@ChampionsSeries) October 15, 2018
Memories of Cracksman’s great sire, Frankel, came flooding back as he surged further and further and clear in the QIPCO Champion Stakes. By the line, the 13/8 favourite had seven lengths to spare over Poet’s Word, with Highland Reel another neck further back in third. Cracksman’s official rating was raised to 130 afterwards – making him the best three-year-old in the world.