Addeybb set for stern defence of QIPCO Champion Stakes crown
3 Aug 2021
Reigning champion could face the likes of Adayar, Mishriff and Love in the £1.2 Million contest
Last year’s emphatic QIPCO Champion Stakes winner Addeybb is firmly on course to defend his title in the £1.2 million contest according to his trainer William Haggas. Save up to £20 on Queen Anne Tickets here
The seven-year-old is among 44 possibles for the most valuable race in Great Britain this year. The entries also include the brilliant Cazoo Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes winner Adayar, as well as typically deep entries from the stables of John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien and the outstanding Dermot Weld-trained mare Tarnawa, who was last seen completing a top level hat-trick in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland in November.
Addeybb finished second in the race in 2019 before going one better last year, providing jockey Tom Marquand with the biggest victory of his career so far. Having since won a third Australian Group 1, taking his career earnings to more than £3.5m, he has now given Marquand four of his six Group 1 wins.
Since returning from Australia his campaign has been geared towards QIPCO British Champions Day, and Haggas, who has also entered rising star Baaeed, as well as Al Aasy, Alenquer and Mohaafeth, is understandably looking forward to it.
He said: “It was great to win the Champion Stakes last year, fantastic. Addeybb was really on his game that day too. If we can get him like that again that would be great.
“Right now he is in a field, but he will have a run before the Champion Stakes. He was a little bit rusty in the Eclipse and the ground wasn’t really slow enough for him, but I thought he ran well and he kept going up the hill as usual. I am sure we will meet St Mark’s Basilica again at Ascot. It’s called the Champion Stakes for a reason. It’s where the good ones go.”
Love has already made two visits to Ascot this year and could make a third to run in the QIPCO Champion Stakes. Last year’s QIPCO 1000 Guineas and Investec Oaks winner landed the Prince of Wales’s Stakes first time out this season, but suffered her first defeat for two years when third behind Derby winner Adayar in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes, for which she started favourite.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien said: “The King George was a little bit of a funny race. Our other horse Broome got left five lengths and he still ended up being able to make the running easily. Ryan (Moore) had to wait to make his run a lot later than he would have preferred and in the end she probably had no race at all.
“Where she goes next I am not sure but we will give her a little bit of time before we decide that. She seems to be in good form.”
Love is one of a host of O’Brien entries for this race, which also include the Coral-Eclipse Stakes winner St Mark’s Basilica, the winner of two French Classics this year, plus the outstanding dual Oaks winner Snowfall and the likes of Bolshoi Ballet and Santa Barbara.
“St Mark’s Basilica is in at York and Leopardstown and is entered on Champions Day as well,” O’Brien added. “We will get a little bit down the road before we really commit. Snowfall has the two entries (QIPCO Champion Stakes and QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares). We are looking at the Yorkshire Oaks at the moment for her.
“Bolshoi Ballet (entered for QIPCO Champion Stakes) is in America at the moment and he is going to run in Saratoga at the weekend in a Group 1 there. Santa Barbara (entered for QIPCO Champion Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes) is going back to America the following weekend for the mile and a quarter fillies’ race. They will come back to Europe after that. Neither of them are soft ground horses.”
Last year’s runner-up Skalleti is due to renew rivalry with Addeybb, his trainer Jerome Reynier having had a return to Ascot firmly in his sights all year.
Reynier said: “As a gelding the most prestigious race he could win is definitely the Champion Stakes, so we’ve been planning his season to bank on it. He is unbeaten in four starts this year and he now has three Group 1 wins under his belt.
“He will probably have one or two races before it and we really hope he will be able to have his ground on the day. He will probably go back to the Prix Dollar for a third time if he is in good form and the ground is soft enough, but we are aiming much for the Champion Stakes. If the ground is not soft enough for Arc weekend, he will be skipping the Prix Dollar.
“He had never run in a Group 1 prior to the Champion Stakes last year. The opposition was very high with Mishriff, Magical and Addeybb, but we were quite confident he’d run well. We really wanted to see how competitive he was going to be against those horses, and now we know we have one of the best horses in Europe on turf at a mile and a quarter.”
John Gosden, who enjoyed wide-margin wins here with Cracksman in 2017 and 2018, has two obvious candidates in Mishriff and Lord North. He has also entered Palace Pier here, as well as in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO).
He said: “Mishriff goes to York first for the Juddmonte and will then probably run in the Champion Stakes. Lord North is a possibility too. He had a throat infection and couldn’t run in the Eclipse, so he hasn’t run since Meydan in March, so he’ll be coming fresh for the autumn.”
The race is also a possibility for last week’s Qatar Nassau Stakes winner Lady Bowthorpe. Trainer William Jarvis said: “She’s had a long season, but she’s very tough and has an amazing constitution, so if she’s still enjoying her work we’ll definitely consider the Champion Stakes. In the meantime though we’ll keep her against her own sex for as long as we can, and there’s the Prix Jean Romanet and the Prix de l’Opera to look at before Ascot.”
No fewer than 26 individual Group 1 winning horses are entered for the QIPCO Champion Stakes who, between them, have accumulated 52 wins at the highest level.
Addeybb (IRE) Al Aasy (IRE) Armory (IRE) Benbatl (GB) Broome (IRE) Euchen Glen (GB) Helvic Dream (IRE) Innisfree (IRE) Japan (GB) Juan Elcano (GB) Lord North (IRE) Mishriff (IRE) Mogul (GB) Palace Pier (GB) Patrick Sarsfield (FR) Real World (IRE) Skalleti (FR) Stormy Antarctic (GB) Audarya (FR) Lady Bowthorpe (GB) Love (IRE) Tarnawa (IRE) Thundering Nights (IRE) Wonderful Tonight (FR) Adayar (IRE) Alenquer (FR) Bolshoi Ballet (IRE) Earlswood (GB) Foxes Tales (IRE) Highland Avenue (IRE) Lone Eagle (IRE) Mac Swiney (IRE) Master of The Seas (IRE) Mohaafeth (IRE) Mojo Star (IRE) Mostahdaf (IRE) Sealiway (FR) St Mark’s Basilica (FR) Third Realm (GB) Joan of Arc (IRE) Mother Earth (IRE) Santa Barbara (IRE) Snowfall (JPN) Snow Lantern (GB)