Champions Series 2021: Gosden squad bulging with potential
9 Feb 2021
Newmarket supremo's yard should be among the big winners once again this season
John Gosden has trained more winners of QIPCO British Champions Series races than his counterparts in each of the past three seasons. He will not be short of candidates to continue his stranglehold in 2021.
Gosden enjoyed eight Series wins last year, having chalked up 11 in 2018 and a dozen in 2019.
The one surprise is that he did not saddle a winner on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot in October. Stradivarius and Palace Pier fluffed their lines in their respective races at cramped odds. Mishriff, Lord North, Nazeef and Meydaayih were other big hopes for him on Britain’s richest raceday but none managed to deliver.
Gosden’s overall strike-rate dipped to 18 per cent in October, having been a dazzling 29 per cent the previous month. Perhaps his horses were going slightly off the boil after another superb season, and the deep ground may also have been a factor.
Stars back for more
The good news for Gosden is that those six high-profile horses he ran on Champions Day will all be back for more. Logician, the 2019 Pertemps St Leger winner, and Terebellum, placed in the Queen Anne and Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes last year return for more.
Super stayer Stradivarius has already chalked up a record 13 Series wins and, naturally, has developed a huge following.
He will face a new crop of younger rivals as he seeks to emulate Yeats by winning a fourth Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. He could also try to secure a fifth Qatar Goodwood Cup. The Matchbook Yorkshire Cup, in May, which he has also won twice, might also be a target.
Palace Pier lost his unbeaten record in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) but seems certain to be a player in 2021. The Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes and Queen Anne Stakes look natural targets in the first half of the campaign.
Lord North dazzled in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and a defence of that title is likely on the cards . French Derby winner Mishriff gives Gosden another ace in the Middle Distance category.
Logician was a brilliant winner of the world’s oldest Classic in 2019 but, having been sick over the winter, we only saw the striking grey twice late on last season. Fingers crossed he has a trouble-free season and, if he does, it will be fascinating to see the programme of races that Gosden has in mind for him.
Stellar three-year-old team
In addition to a powerful team of older horses, three-year-olds coming through include Indigo Girl, a sister of Gosden’s former Series winner Journey. Indigo Girl won the Group 2 bet365 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster in September before finishing a half-length runner-up to Pretty Gorgeous in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket. She is prominent in the ante-post betting for the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and Oaks.
Wakening, Evania, Daramethos, Wild Iris and Beau Nash were among Gosden’s two-year-olds who won on their debut last year before being put away for the winter. It will be a surprise if any of them can match the exploits of the remarkable Enable, who will be missing from Gosden’s ranks after being retired, but the dream is alive.