Magical Minding became the first horse since the legendary Frankel to win four QIPCO British Champions Series races in one season when landing the £1.1 million Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) at Ascot.
The 7/4 favourite, winner of the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, Investec Oaks and QatarNassau Stakes earlier in the season, was always travelling powerfully for jockey Ryan Moore and the pair accelerated to the front just over a furlong from home.
The three-year-old had to dig deep to repel the challenge of the Richard Fahey-trained Ribchester (7/2), who finished in the runner-up spot, a length ahead of 9/1 shot Lightning Spear, but they stuck on gamely to record a famous victory.
“It’s unbelievable – she’s an incredible filly,” said the trainer. “Her usual work rider got off her recently and said she couldn’t believe the piece of work that Minding had just done – she’s incredible.
All the people that are involved with her on a daily basis have done a great job. I’m delighted for the lads and I’m delighted for everybody. She’s a very special filly.
“She’s won at the top level at a mile, mile and a quarter and a mile and a half and then to bring her back down in trip to win an all-aged mile race, they have to be very special.
“I can’t say enough about her. I’d imagine that would be it now for her for the rest of the year. The plan was to come here and try and win and maybe the lads will now bring her back to race again next year. They’ll sit down and talk about that now but hopefully she can race again.
“She’s an incredible filly. A filly who can get a mile and a half and then go and do that over this sort of trip is very special.”
Minding has now achieved seven Group 1 wins and she was giving Ryan Moore his first QIPCO British Champions Day success after 25 unsuccessful rides at the meeting since its inception.
Moore said: “I am really delighted. It’s some performance – she’s had a hard year and Aidan has freshened her up and brought her back to a mile. It’s some achievement to see off the colts and she has done it the hard way. She was just too good and too strong for them.”
Having been up near the pace early under William Buick, Ribchester battled on gamely after being headed by Minding around two furlong pole.
Fahey said: “He wasn’t unlucky but he maybe just over-raced a little bit in the early stages of the race. As I always say, he is a horse with a very high cruising speed and they couldn’t go quick enough for him early on.
“We are really happy with the run. He came back at Minding at the end of the race there but I am a huge admirer of the winner, she is a wonderful filly and we can be proud of how our horse has run.”
Trainer David Simcock said of Lightning Spear: “It was a career-best performance – hindsight says the far side would have been better, but he’s quickened up very, very well and has been beaten by two very good horses. He made up a lot of ground on them, and they weren’t stopping – he’ll have his day.
“It will be up to David Redvers [Qatar Racing manager] and Sheikh Fahad to decide on his future, but of course I would love to have him back next year.”
Redvers said: “He had three Classic winners behind him [Awtaad, Galileo Gold and Jet Setting], and if you ran the race a couple of times you could come up with a different result. Minding is a filly of a lifetime, so we’re delighted – he’s put up a career-best run. It would have been lovely to have won it and gone straight off to stud, but we’ll have to sit down and think now.
“He might stay in training – I’ll discuss that with Sheikh Fahad, but he’s just run better than ever. He’s an off-the-pace horse, but was probably on the wrong side in the end. He likes a really strong gallop from end to end and they didn’t go that quickly in the first two furlongs.”
Galileo Gold, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes winner, ran flat and Frankie Dettori said: “I feel like the horse needs a break. From three out I knew I was going to finish well back. He was tired.”