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French Fancy Sealiway First Home In The Champion Stakes

16 Oct 2021

It was a victory for France in this year’s Group 1 QIPCO Champion Stakes as Sealiway beat the best of the home team in the 10-furlong showpiece on QIPCO British Champions Day.

The contest was billed as a head-to-head between favourite Mishriff and Derby and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Adayar, but neither could land a blow in the closing stages.

It was a race filled with superstars that certainly lived up to its expectations. Adayar, prominent throughout travelled strongly all the way to the three-furlong marker, however the challengers where always going to arrive and arrive they did in the form of Sealiway, Dubai Honour and Mishriff.  

In the end, it was the French raider Sealiway who showed all the class and determination necessary to hold off the fast-finishing Dubai Honour, repelling the challenge of the runner-up and prevailing by three-quarters of a length. Irish raider Mac Swiney was the best of the remaining contenders as he outran odds of 40/1 to take third, a further length and a half behind.

Sealiway was ridden by Mickael Barzalona for trainer Cedric Rossi, a combination who were tasting QIPCO British Champions Day glory for the first time on the biggest stage of all.

Barzalona, who memorably won the Derby as a teenager on Pour Moi in 2011, said: “It’s great to be back in the big time and be with this horse since the beginning. He deserved to prove his talent like he did today.

“We had a good draw, he broke well, settled well and we had a good position – it was good. Sealiway showed plenty of stamina in the Arc, but today he showed plenty of speed. He is an excellent horse.

On the courageous runner up Dubai Honour, William Haggas said: “Dubai Honour was a little bit unfortunate because he’s a hold up horse drawn in stall 10. Adayar missed the break and just as James [Doyle] was trying to get him in, Adayar went hurtling past him and set him alight a bit.

“No excuse, we were quite far back but that’s the way he needs to be ridden. He came with what looked like a winning run, but the other horse outstayed him.

“He’s another that has made great progress. I was thinking that the Hong Kong Cup might suit him. He would enjoy that long straight and seems to run well right handed. I don’t know about Australia for him yet.”