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The QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes

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Journey and Frankie Dettori  after winning The Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes
Ascot 15.10.16
Pic Dan Abraham-racingfotos.com

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History

The climax to the seven-race QIPCO British Champions Series Fillies and Mares category is run over 1½ miles (2,400 metres) and is open to all fillies and mares aged three years and older (female thoroughbreds are known as fillies up to the age of four and mares from five onwards).

The race was elevated to Group 1 status in 2013, doubling in prize money to £500,000. In 2016 it will be worth £600,000.

Whilst fillies and mares can contest all five category finales on QIPCO British Champions Day, having their own category gives them the chance to shine against their own sex without having to take on the best of their male counterparts.

Dancing Rain, who had won the Investec Oaks at Epsom and the German equivalent during the summer, rounded off her European campaign for the 2011 season in the style of a true champion when making all the running to win the inaugural contest in impressive fashion.

In 2012, the race went to Ireland in the shape of the Dermot Weld-trained Sapphire while in 2013 the race was captured by James Fanshawe‘s charge, Seal Of Approval. The race stayed in Britain in 2013 with Madame Chiang won for David Simcock and Jim Crowley.

But, Champions Day in 2015 provided connections with the perfect celebration of the season with their St Leger heroine Simple Verse, as she won convincingly at Ascot to suggest she has a big future ahead in 2016.

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

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No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Journey finishes fast for Gosden and Dettori

Journey, runner-up in last year’s QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, went one better when landing the Group One race in great style.

The 4/1 chance won by four lengths and a neck from Speedy Boarding and Queen’s Trust, and when returning to the winner’s enclosure was dismounted by Frankie Dettori in his own aerial way.

Trainer John Gosden said: “She’s a fabulous filly and has beaten an exceptional filly in Speedy Boarding, who won the Prix de l’Opera just 13 days ago. She is a bit quirky at home – she’s one of those fillies that you don’t argue with. She’s got her mind set on what she wants to do and you go with her – if you try and impose your will upon her she will quickly tell you what to do.”

Gosden has lost his champion trainers’ crown to Aidan O’Brien and said: “We’ve had a great season with plenty of good winners, but you don’t have a Golden Horn every year.

“I’d say he was the best horse I’ve trained in my life and I was lucky to have him. Someone called Aidan O’Brien has had a very good season this year and we’ve all been looking in the shadow of the Colossus.

“We’ve lots of promising two-year-olds, and that’s the nature of the game – you are only as good as your horses and it’s nice to come here and win on QIPCO Champions Day.”

Owner George Strawbridge said Journey would remain in training next year, which will delight Dettori. The jockey said: “I can’t believe the turn of foot that she showed today. She picked up like she had roller skates! It was instantaneous. She’s not straightforward, but she keeps on winning so I like her!”

James Fanshawe was unsure about future plans for Speedy Boarding. He said: “The owner (Helena Springfield Ltd) wants to retire her because of the appeal from a broodmare perspective but from a trainer’s perspective, I want her to stay in training because she has so much scope.”

Seventh Heaven, the 5-4 favourite, came home fifth. Aidan O’Brien said: “The race was a little bit messy and rough but she has come back OK. She ran well enough.”

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

British horseracing can lay claim to plenty of blue-blooded connections, but none rival those of Ascot. The Berkshire racecourse’s roots go back 300 years to Queen Anne, who recognised the potential of a stretch of heath land while out riding just a few miles from Windsor Castle.

  • Course plan Ascot Champions Day Course Plan#
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The royal link has endured ever since. Today, Queen Elizabeth II and members of the Royal Family attend the world-famous ‘Royal Ascot’ meeting each year, arriving in a horse drawn carriage. Royal Ascot, meanwhile, has earned iconic status as a centrepiece of the social calendar, when the world’s best thoroughbreds face fierce competition from the world’s most extravagant fashion designs.

Ascot, which underwent a £200 million redevelopment between 2004-6, also hosts the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes sponsored by QIPCO in July, the most prestigious open-age Flat race staged in Britain.

It will also host the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day in October which will be the richest raceday ever staged in Britain with over £4.2m in prize money and the climax to the QIPCO British Champions Series.  Including the five category finales on QIPCO British Champions Day, Ascot stages no less than 13 of the 35 QIPCO British Champions Series races.

What sort of horses like Ascot? Horses that like right-handed courses. And what sort of people? People who like champagne and scones, apparently. During the five-day Royal Ascot meeting in 2010, 60,000 bottles of champagne and 40,000 scones were consumed. Lobsters, meanwhile, don’t like Royal Ascot – 1,500 of them were eaten over that same period.

Getting there

Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 7JX

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