A dazzling array of entrants has been announced for the Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot in October.
The richest fixture in British racing history takes place on October 17 and is the culmination of the Qipco British Champions Series which began at Newmarket in May. There are five race categories that make up the series; Sprint, Mile, Middle Distance, Long Distance and Fillies and Mares.
Gleneagles was one of the stars back in May when winning the 2,000 Guineas and his stunning run of success has continued through the summer. He’s entered in the £1.3m Qipco Champion Stakes but is more likely to line up in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile and clash with the French sensation Solow. His trainer Freddy Head sent out the winner last October when Charm Spirit defeated Night Of Thunder in a pulsating finish.
Head confirmed the plans saying: “Solow is very well ands he has come out of last week’s Sussex Stakes looking beautiful. The plan is to wait for the Queen Elizabeth and it will not matter if it rains in October.”
Many will hope that Golden Horn takes his place in the showpiece Qipco Champion Stakes which has attracted a stunning 46 entries. Much is likely to depend on the ground for John Gosden’s Epsom Derby winning colt.
Should he arrive he looks set to face the likes of Cirrus des Aigles and Free Eagle. The latter was third in last year’s memorable renewal in which Lady Cecil’s Noble Mission came out on top in an emotionally charged event. Cirrus won the race in 2011 and is still going strong. He could not be discounted should the ground come-up testing.
David Simcock trained Madame Chiang to take the Fillies and Mares in 2014. She is a proven soft ground performer and would need conditions to suit to be at her best. Jennie Simcock, representing her husband, said: “The plan is for her to return to Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day. It is a fantastic day to be involved in and last year was a very special win for her owner-breeder, Kirsten Rausing, and all her team.”
Covert Love is a possible challenger. Hugo Palmer’s Irish Oaks heroine has improved dramatically throughout this campaign and won stylishly at the Curragh last time.
The long distance entrants are headed by last year’s winner Forgotten Rules and the Ascot Gold Cup winner Trip To Paris. The latter was third in the recent Qatar Goodwood Cup and both Big Orange and Quest For More are set to continue their rivalry.
Clever Cookie would be a crowd pleasing success, and a win would be a dream come true for his trainer Peter Niven; he said: “The QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup has been the aim for him all season. He came out of the King George absolutely fine. We took a chance that day and he was probably out of his depth slightly over a mile and a half. The Long Distance Cup is the perfect race for him in regards to trip and hopefully the ground will suit.”
Muhaarar is another of this season’s stars set to head to Ascot in October. Charlie Hills’ sprint sensation is set to run in France on Sunday in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest. He is without doubt the outstanding sprinter of the summer, and should he maintain his form through to the autumn would take all the beating, having already won the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot’s royal meeting in June.
Hills’ star could face a challenge from Singapore with Emperor Max likely to travel across the globe for the event. Rod Street, Chief Executive of the British Champions Series, said: “We’re delighted with the strength and depth of this year’s QIPCO British Champions Day entries which include some of the most exciting horses in training from across Europe and even as far afield as Singapore, making it a truly international affair.”