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The QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup

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History

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 £350,000 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.

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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Sheikhzayedroad goes distance for happy Simcock

Trainer David Simcock was delighted with the performance of Sheikhzayedroad after the popular seven-year-old had run out the half-length winner of the Group Two QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup.

The 11/1 shot, who was successful in the Group Two Doncaster Cup last time out, was always travelling kindly for jockey Martin Harley and got the better of 9/1 runner-up Quest For More once again as the pair battled hard in the final furlong, with 6/1 shot Simple Verse a further half-length back in third.

“I don’t normally get excited but I did today,” Simcock said. “It’s an important day, a wonderful day’s racing and, with old pros like this – he really is a diamond – it really makes it worthwhile.

“I’m very proud of the horse. He’s been with us a long time – he’s seven years old now – and he’s a pleasure to train as he trains himself. It’s as simple as that.

“It was a perfect scenario today. We thought if we could just park him behind the leaders it would work and he had a lovely tow into the race.

“He’s genuine and he enjoys racing. As he’s got a little bit older, he’s got a little bit slower but he’s got a massive appetite and that little bit of speed he’s got over this trip helps.”

Winning Harley said: “When we went past the winning post first time we were going steady, and it didn’t get much quicker going down the hill, so it was always going to turn into a bit of a sprint. But my lad has won over a shorter distance and he picked up real good.”

Jockey Martin Harley was enjoying his first winner on QIPCO British Champions Day and said: “I thought he’d be in the money – I was very worried about the Aidan O’Brien horse [Order Of St George, the odds-on favourite] but he didn’t turn up today, or maybe he did and maybe mine was just better. Full credit to the horse. He’s very tough and it was a great training performance.”

Order Of St George kept on to finish fourth, but never looked like winning. The race might have come a bit quick for the brilliant Gold Cup winner, who had finished third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe just 13 days earlier.

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.

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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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