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The QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup

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With two demanding miles (3,200 metres) of Ascot’s famous turf to negotiate, the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup provides a thorough test of stamina for flat racing’s top stayers as they contest the final major long distance race of the British season.

The seven races in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance category vary in distance from the extended 1¾ miles (2,920 metres) of Doncaster’s Ladbrokes St Leger to the 2½ miles (4,000 metres) of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. The two-mile trip of the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup provides the perfect distance for the category finale.

With £500,000 in prize money, it is the second most valuable all-aged long distance race in the British calendar after the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen‘s affair with Champions Day saw them take a second victory in the 2014 race with the classy Forgotten Rules, but it was Frankie Dettori that provided the jubilant crowds with a flying dismount in 2015, as he steered Flying Officer to success – a first Champions Day victory for Dettori and John Gosden.

Order Of St George disappointed in the 2016 renewal but made amends 12 months later.

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money




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


Order Of St George leaves it late to snatch spoils

Champion trainer Aidan O’Brien added yet another feather to his cap when Order Of St George lifted the Group Two QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup.

The 4-5 favourite looked held two furlongs out and traded at more than 200-1 in-running on Betfair but stayed on stoutly under Ryan Moore to overhaul  Torcedor, trained by Jessica Harrington and ridden by Colm O’Donaghue.

It was O’Brien’s second victory in the race – Fame And Glory took it in 2011 – and his fourth QIPCO British Champions Day success in total.

O’Brien said: “He [Order Of St George] never stops. In any race he’s ever run in, he always finishes them. He’s never, ever stopping. You saw him in the Gold Cup and the Irish Leger – sometimes the line comes too quick, but he doesn’t stop. He’s tough and he’s hard, and Ryan gave him a great ride.

“That’s him done for this year. I hope he is staying in training though. A mile and a half is no problem to him – he’s very comfortable at a mile and a half.”

Order Of St George prevailed by half-a-length, with John Gosden’s Stradivarius the same distance behind in third.

Winning rider Moore, registering his first victory in the two-mile contest, said: “It’s very soft out there but I was hoping that his stamina would kick in and it did. I was very happy the whole way round and thought I had the two in front of me covered, but they picked up very well and I was a bit caught out. It did not look likely for a long time, but, at the line, he has won well.

“He is an unbelievable horse. He ran a very good race in the Arc 20 days ago and has come here at the end of a long year looking magnificent. He is a beautiful horse and a pleasure to deal with.”

Moore broke his QIPCO Champions Day duck last year and this was his second victory at the meeting since it started in 2011.

Jessica Harrington said runner-up Torcedor: “I’m absolutely delighted with the horse. He’s beaten Order Of St George once and he’s been beaten by him twice and that’s the nearest he’s even got to him other than the time we beat him, so I’m completely delighted.

“He’s very tough and he’ll go on improving. I didn’t think he was a 25-1 shot and I told everyone to back him each way.”


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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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