Ten top highlights from this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series
11 Oct 2019
From Magna Grecia in the 2000 Guineas through to Logicia in the St leger, it has been a sparkling series
Enable and Crystal Ocean served up a thriller in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes. Picture: Steve Davies/Racingfotos.com
It has been another memorable QIPCO British Champions Series with the grand finale, at Ascot tomorrow week, still to come.
The final five races of the Series will take place on October 19 – one from each of the five categories. Below were some of the highlights of the summer.
A record tenth victory in the first Classic of the season for Aidan O’Brien with Magna Grecia, ridden by the trainer’s son Donnacha, powering home after getting a good tow into the race on the stands’ side. O’Brien Sr was celebrating again 24 hours later with Hermosa landing the QIPCO 1000 Guineas.
Anyone of a handful horses might have won the premier Classic inside the final furlong but it was Anthony Van Dyck, one of six Aidan O’Brien challengers, who dug deepest to prevail in a fabulous finish where about a length covered the first five home. Madmoon and Japan were the next pair home.
Stradivarius became the first horse to win back-to-back renewals of the Gold Cup since multiple champion Yeats (2006-09) and who is to say he will not emulate him by scooping the great staying race at least twice more? He was extending his winning sequence to eight – all of them Champions Series races.
Godolphin’s star sprinter had won a second King’s Stand Stakes on the first day of Royal Ascot and returned, four days later, to win again over a furlong further. The decision to “retire him on a high” came 48 hours later. Choisir had been the last to achieve the double in 2003.
The mighty mare picked up from where she had left off last year with another thrilling defeat of Magical. Her eighth Group 1 triumph was never in doubt once Frankie Dettori eased her ahead two furlongs out. Only the third of her sex to win the £750,000 feature, she was given a rousing ovation.
An epic contest with the front two in the betting, Enable and Crystal Ocean, going eyeball to eyeball from two furlongs out. It was a stirring duel, with Enable edging ahead in the final strides under Dettori to become only the third two-time King George winner. It was her eleventh successive victory.
Deirdre became the first Japanese-trained winner to have won a Champions Series race – and only the second Japan-trained horse to have won a British Group 1 after Agnes World in the July Cup of 2000. She pounced from off the pace under Oisin Murphy, collaring front-running Mehdaayih in the closing stages
A record-equalling sixth Juddmonte International success for Aidan O’Brien with Japan edging ahead of the valiant Crystal Ocean in the closing stages. The winner, ridden by Ryan Moore, was dropping in trip in trip it did not inconvenience him. Elarqam kept on to be third after meeting some trouble in running.
An electric display by Battaash, who broke Dayjur’s course record of 29 years earlier. The five-year-old had finished fourth in the previous two renewals of the Nunthorpe, without being at his best, but was in unstoppable form this time. Soldier’s Call and So Perfect chased home his shadow.
The unbeaten Logician cruised through the final Classic of the year and supporters of the 5-6 favourite never had a moment to worry about. The grey son of Frankel eventually won by two-and-a-quarter lengths easing up from Sir Ron Priestley and Nayef Road, both trained by Mark Johnston.