Eight fabulous winners on QIPCO British Champions Day
8 Oct 2019
Frankel, Cirrus Des Aigles and Almanzor have been among those to put up five-star displays
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
Here is a reminder of some of the stunning stars to have shone. Who will join the roll of honour on Saturday week?
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, back 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 clear in successive renewals of the QIPCO Champion Stakes. In 2017, he had seven lengths to spare over Poet’s Word, with Highland Reel another neck further back in third. Cracksman’s official rating was afterwards raised to 130 – making him the best three-year-old in the world. More of the same followed 12 months later with a six-length thumping of Crystal Ocean.
8 ROARING LION (2018)
Roaring Lion had already had a fabulous time in 2018 before lining up on Champions Day, arriving on the back of successive wins in the Coral-Eclipse, Juddmonte International Stakes and QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes. Dropped to a mile for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on account of the softish ground, the grey was not at his sublime best but he showed terrific resolution to win by a neck from I Can Fly.