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World’s best among stellar cast entered for QIPCO Champion Stakes

1 Sep 2020

The world's top-rated racehorse, Ghaiyyath heads a strong field of 42 entries including last year's winner, Magical.

The QIPCO Champion Stakes is the richest race in Britain this year and promises to feature a mouth-watering clash between Prix Du Jockey Club winner Mishriff, who would be bidding to give John Gosden a third win in the race in four years, and the world’s best racehorse Ghaiyyath, who is unbeaten this year and took York’s Juddmonte International Stakes in sensational style just a couple of weeks ago.

The pair head a stunning field of 42 entries, which also includes potential challengers from France in the shape of Sottsass, Persian King and Skalleti.

Gosden committed Mishriff to QIPCO British Champions Day last week and he is looking forward to the Prince Faisal-owned three-year-old’s bid to follow in the footsteps of Cracksman, who proved such a star for the stable and landed two runaway wins in the race.

He said: “Cracksman was a pretty smart horse, winning the Ganay and the QIPCO Champion Stakes twice, and winding up getting a very, very high rating. Hopefully Mishriff is of a similar level. We don’t know yet of course who he will meet in the Champion Stakes, but if Ghaiyyath is there he’s there.”

Gosden, whose entries for the race include three-time King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes winner Enable, Prince Of Wales’s Stakes winner Lord North, last year’s St Leger winner Logician and the fillies Mehdaayih, Nazeef and Terebellum added: “Mishriff has been around the place a bit, having run this year in Saudi Arabia, and then at Newmarket, Chantilly and Deauville, but his races have been quite well spaced, which does no harm, and he’s taken the travelling very well.

“We debated about where to go with him next, but he’s been very happy at a mile and a quarter and we see that as his trip, so the QIPCO Champion Stakes looks the race for him. His pedigree doesn’t exactly scream any more than that, but if he stays in training perhaps he will. That decision will be made a little later, and it will be entirely up to his owner Prince Faisal.”

A firm decision on Ghiayyath’s participation has yet to be made, but a clash with Mishriff in the QIPCO Champion Stakes remains a distinct possibility for the five-year-old, whose wins over the same distance in the 1m 2f Coral-Eclipse and the Juddmonte International have been officially recognised as the two best on turf anywhere in the world this year.

Appleby said: “He’s got four options, and they are the Irish Champion Stakes, the QIPCO Champion Stakes, the Arc and the Breeder’s Cup. That’s two at a mile and a quarter and two at a mile and a half, and I’d like to think he’d be favourite for any of them bar the Arc.

“He was exceptional at York and has come out of the race very well, but he put in big sectionals at every stage and so we are monitoring him on a daily basis and keeping everybody informed. We don’t have to make a decision quite yet.”

He added: “It doesn’t have to be just one of those races either – far from it. It could be Irish Champion and on to the QIPCO Champion Stakes or Arc for example. Any combination is possible.”

Aidan O’Brien took the QIPCO Champion Stakes for the first time last year with Magical, who features once again alongside last year’s Grand Prix de Paris and Juddmonte International winner Japan this year’s Investec Derby winner Serpentine and nine others in a typically powerful entry from Ballydoyle. The QIPCO 1,000 Guineas and Investec Oaks winner Love, who completed a Group 1 hat-trick in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, is also entered.

O’Brien said: “It’s a long way away but Magical would be a possible again. She would have the Fillies & Mares as an alternative, but I would have thought the QIPCO Champion Stakes would be her race again.

“Japan is another possible, although we are looking first at the Irish weekend. Love has an entry too, and also in the Fillies and Mares, but obviously we are looking at the Arc first with her.”

William Haggas is looking forward to running last year’s runner-up Addeybb, who enjoyed a fabulous spring in Australia, when landing a hugely lucrative Group 1 double in the Ranvet Stakes and the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes. The six-year-old has been freshened up since his Royal Ascot second to Lord North in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.

Haggas said: “Addeybb will be my main runner on QIPCO British Champions Day. He’s not going back to Australia again until March, so this is very much his target.

“He had a break after Ascot as we felt he’d been on the go a long time, and we are gradually cranking him up in preparation. He’s working well, and he’ll have a run somewhere first, although I’m not sure where yet.

“The QIPCO Champion Stakes is going to be quite a race if they all turn up, and a lot will depend on the ground, but Addeybb has done really well for his break and I’m looking forward to it. I’m very happy with him.”

Alpine Star, who trailed closely behind Palace Pier in the Jacques le Marois and was also a convincing winner of the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, is also entered with Jessica Harrington seeking her first QIPCO British Champions Day winner.

Pyledriver, a Royal Ascot winner this year who also impressed when winning the Group 2 Great Voltigeur at York last month, is also entered.

Full Entries for QIPCO Champion Stakes:

Addeybb (IRE), Alpine Star (IRE), Anthony Van Dyck (IRE), Armory (IRE), Aspetar (FR), Barney Roy (GB), Benbatl (GB), Buckhurst (IRE), Crossfirehurricane (USA), Desert Encounter (IRE), Enable (GB), Extra Elusive (GB), Fancy Blue (IRE), Feliciana de Vega (GB), Fox Chairman (IRE), Ghaiyyath (IRE), Japan (GB), Kipling (IRE), Logician (GB), Lord North (IRE), Love (IRE), Magical (IRE), Magic Wand (IRE), Mehdaayih (GB), Mishriff (IRE), Mogul (GB), Nazeef (GB), Patrick Sarsfield (FR), Peaceful (IRE), Persian King (IRE), Pyledriver (GB), Roseman (IRE), San Donato (IRE), Serpentine (IRE), Skalleti (FR), Sottsass (FR), Sovereign (IRE), Tammani (GB), Telecaster (GB), Terebellum (IRE), Tilsit (USA),Vatican City (IRE)