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The QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes

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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. It is now 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.

Journey, runner-up in 2015, went one better in style in 2016 but was unable to keep her crown 12 months later. Hydrangea took the spoils in 2017.

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money




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


Hydrangea blooms for record-equalling O'Brien

Hydrangea kept on powerfully to land the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes – in the process enabling Aidan O’Brien to equal the late Bobby Frankel’s record of 25 Group or Grade One successes in a year.

Hydrangea, sent off at 4-1, beat the French-trained Bateel, the 7-4 favourite, by two lengths under Ryan Moore in a thrilling race.

O’Brien said: “I am so delighted for everybody. It is a big team effort, we are only a small link in the chain and we are so grateful and delighted.

“With these Group Ones, every one of them is so hard to win and you never expect anything. You try all the time, which we do. We are doing our best every single day and that’s all we can do. It’s great to be here and I am so grateful to everybody.”

He added: “You couldn’t be sure that she [Hydrangea] would stay. She is a home-bred Galileo filly and Galileos will not stop: they are most incredible animals in the world.

Moore added: “Hydrangea is great, she’s been running very good races all year – she won the Matron [Stakes at Leopardstown last month] and she won a very good race in the Opera [Chantilly]. She’s just super.
“I thought she had a great chance here today even though I was hoping the ground would be a bit better than it is. She has a great attitude.”

Bateel delighted her trainer, Francis Graffard, who said:  “Bateel has run a fantastic race. There were no excuses, she had the ground that she likes, she had a perfect run. She came upsides Hydrangea, but when Ryan [Moore] asked his filly she ran away from us.

“I was very, very upset to start with to finish second, but when I looked back at the replay, there were no excuses, I am very proud of my filly.”

John Gosden’s Coronet (11-2) ran another creditable race in defeat under Olivier Peslier, a further length and three-quarters back in third.


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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.

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.

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