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Deirdre flies flag for Japan in a QIPCO Champion Stakes to savour

17 Oct 2019

Qatar Nassau Stakes heroine a headline international runner on Champions Day

Deirdre has already provided Japan with a notable victory in Britain this year and will seek to cap her stay on these shores with a famous victory in the £1,358,000 QIPCO Champion Stakes.

The most valuable mile and a quarter race staged in Europe is the final contest in this year’s 35-race QIPCO British Champions Series and has drawn a final field of nine and Deirdre, trained by Mitsuri Hashida, is bound to attract plenty of attention.

She became only the second horse trained in Japan, after Agnes World in the July Cup of 2000, to win a Group 1 race in Britain when beating Mehdaayih in the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood in August. She started at 20/1 but showed it was no fluke when an unlucky fourth to Magical, who she meets again, in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on her latest start.

Magical, has since finished fifth in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, having won the Tattersalls Gold Cup in runaway fashion at the Curragh earlier this season. She won the Fillies & Mares Stakes on Champions Day last year and has finished runner-up to the brilliant Enable three times in the past year. O’Brien is also represented by I Can Fly, who was runner-up to Raring Lion in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes last year

Frankel won the 2012 QIPCO Champion Stakes on the final start of his thrilling career, and in the past two years one of his sons, Cracksman, has been a runaway winner of the race. John Gosden, the trainer of Cracksman, runs Mehdaayih, who is herself a daughter of Frankel, plus Coronet, placed in the past two renewals of the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes and winner of Group 1 races in France on her past two starts.

Gosden’s Newmarket neighbour, William Haggas, is seeking a first QIPCO Champion Stakes success with the help of Addeybb, who won the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and beat Pondus in decisive style in the Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock last time.

Haggas said: “Whether he’s good enough, I don’t know. He’s got a bit to find on the book but he’s a smart horse who likes soft ground and a gallop, like when he won so well at Royal Ascot.

“Next time at York it was soft but not soft enough – it was “drying soft”, whereas he wants it wet. Last year it never rained at all. We kept training him and by the time he got to the soft ground on Champions Day he was not at his best.

“This time his preparation has been different and it was marvellous of Newmarket to let us gallop him before racing last Friday because he will have benefited from that. If I can get him right for the day he should run well.”