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Well Fancied! Fancy Blue heads QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares entries

1 Sep 2020

Winner of the Qatar Nassau Stakes last time out, Fancy Blue leads the 38 entries for the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares

Fancy Blue heads QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes entries

The winner’s enclosure on QIPCO British Champions Day has welcomed owner/breeder Anthony Oppenheimer and his family for a presentation three years running now. His hopes are high that the sequence will be stretched to four after Frankly Darling and Dame Malliot were both entered for the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, the richest race in the Fillies & Mares category of the 2020 QIPCO British Champions Series.

Cracksman put up two of the outstanding performances in QIPCO British Champions Day history by running away with the QIPCO Champion Stakes in 2017 and 2018, and last year it was Star Catcher’s turn to do the honours in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes. She did not disappoint, although the style of her victory could not have been in starker contrast.

Frankly Darling impressively won this year’s Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot while Dame Malliot provided Hollie Doyle with her first Group winner in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket in July.

Oppenheimer said: “QIPCO British Champions Day has become my favourite day of the entire year and I’m looking forward to it once again.

“Frankly Darling ran a bit free at York the other day, and that wasn’t her form at all, but she’d shown her liking for Ascot in the Ribblesdale and she would have a good chance if we can make sure she settles better.

“Dame Malliot is the other possibility, but she will probably be aimed at the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp first. She ran a fantastic race in Germany last time and it was just unfortunate that she had to make her own running.”

Donnacha O’Brien ended a relatively short but spectacular career in the saddle with QIPCO British Champions Day wins last year on Magical in the QIPCO Champion Stakes and Kew Gardens in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup. This year he is looking forward to having a runner at the raceday in his first season as a trainer with Fancy Blue, who has got him off to such a great start with her wins in the Prix de Diane Longines and the Qatar Nassau Stakes.

He said: “Fancy Blue is entered for both the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares and the QIPCO Champion Stakes, but I think the Fillies & Mares is the more likely target for her.

“She’s likely to go first for the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown and then on to Longchamp for the Prix de l’Opera, but she could well end her season at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day. The Fillies & Mares would be a step up in distance for her, but I don’t think it will be a problem.”

Irish Oaks winner Even So also figures in another outstanding set of entries for the Fillies & Mares, which has Classic winners Dancing Rain and Simple Verse among its previous winners, as well as six-time Group 1 winner Magical.

Trainer Ger Lyons said: “The Fillies & Mares would be a very nice race for Even So, and it’s on her agenda. I’ve entered Lemista too, who is due to run in the Blandford Stakes first.

“Even So has been in great order since the Irish Oaks and she stays well and isn’t overly ground dependent. She has an entry at Longchamp in the Prix Vermeille first, but I’m not a big one for travelling to France and so I’m not sure about that. It all still has to be discussed with her owners, who have other fillies in this division of course, but she’s not in the Arc, as that can wait until next year.”

Aidan O’Brien has won two of the last three QIPCO British Champion Fillies & Mares Stakes and his eight entries for the race include Love, Magical and Peaceful.

Roger Varian has entered last month’s British EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes winner Gold Wand and Saturday’s Ladbrokes March Stakes runner-up Cabaletta. He said: “They are two very nice fillies who handle a mile and a half and cut in the ground.”

Rose of Kildare is a distinct possibility for the Mark Johnston stable. The Musidora Stakes winner put up a new career best behind Ghaiyyath in the Juddmonte International Stakes and Johnston does not anticipate the trip being an issue.

Full entries for the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes:

Aloe Vera, Alpinista, Antonia de Vega, Believe In Love, Bolleville, Cabaletta, Dame Malliot, Enable, Ennistymon, Even So, Fancy Blue, Franconia, Frankly Darling, Gold Wand, Katara, Laburnum, Lemista, Love, Lovelier, Magical, Magic Wand, Manuela de Vega, Mehdaayih, Midrarr, Mighty Blue, Miss Yoda, One Voice, Passion, Peaceful, Pista, Rose of Kildare, Sea of Faith, Snapraeceps, Snow, Tarnawa, Thundering Nights, Traisha, Wonderful Tonight.