Tag Archive for: British Champions Day

Champion Stakes contenders on track for pre-Ascot assignments

A number of Champion Stakes possibles have upcoming engagements which will go a long way to determining the cast for the showpiece event on Qipco British Champions day.

Vadeni, Adayar, Mishriff, Luxembourg and Baaeed will all be in action before the big race at Ascot on October 15, after which further plans will become clearer.

The next port of call for the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Vadeni after his Eclipse victory is the Irish Champion Stakes on September 10.

Georges Rimaud, racing manager to the Aga Khan, said: “Vadeni is entered in the Qipco Champion Stakes and the Irish Champion Stakes. The Arc has not been on his calendar. Jean-Claude thinks he is more of a 10-furlong horse.

“He has been very well since the Eclipse and has now started his serious work in preparation for September 10. We are taking things one race at a time. How he performs in the Irish Champion Stakes will help us decide what is the next step.”

Baaeed and Mishriff are set to meet in the Juddmonte International at York on August 17.

Depending on how he goes on the Knavesmire, the unbeaten Baaeed could line up in the Champion Stakes or the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile.

Talk of whether he is the next Frankel continues unabated, but none of that fazes trainer William Haggas.

Asked how close he might be rated to Sir Henry Cecil’s giant when the time comes to retire, he said: “It doesn’t bother me.

Baaeed continues to carry all before him
Baaeed continues to carry all before him (Adam Davy/PA)

“I don’t think you can compare the two horses. For me, Sea The Stars was just as good as Frankel but he did it in a different way. He won them all from the Guineas to the Arc and if he’d stayed in training he’d have won them all again, apart from the three-year-olds only races.

“Like Sea The Stars, Baaeed is not flash but he gets the job done. He doesn’t pull, doesn’t have to get a lead, just travels away and comes there cantering when the others are all off the bridle. He just keeps winning and he’s got gears. He takes it all in his stride and that makes it easy for us. He’s fantastic.”

Mishriff looked unlucky in the Eclipse and his chance in the King George was not helped when he was slowly away from the stalls. He ran in both races in 2021 before producing a brilliant display at York.

Joint-trainer Thady Gosden said: “Mishriff will run in the Juddmonte again first, but he’s run in the Qipco Champion Stakes the last two years. There are a lot of variables and we’ll see how he is after York and what the ground is like.

“Lord North likes the track and also ran in the Qipco Champion Stakes last year. He had a busy enough start to the year, running in Dubai, so he’s having a bit of a break, but it’s definitely an option.

“With Nashwa it’s just a case of leaving our options open. She’s done really well obviously and she’s kept on improving, winning the Diane and the Nassau since not quite getting home in the Oaks. The intention is to keep her against fillies this year, but it’s good to have the Qipco Champion Stakes option.”

Aidan O’Brien is looking towards the Irish Champion for Luxembourg, who has been on the sidelines since finishing third in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The Ballydoyle handler said: “The plan is for Luxembourg to start back in the Royal Whip here in a few weeks. The next plan after that is that he will go for the Irish Champion Stakes.”

Winner of last year’s Derby and King George, Adayar has not run since finishing fifth in the Champion Stakes 12 months ago.

Adam Kirby celebrates Derby glory with Adayar
Adam Kirby celebrates Derby glory with Adayar (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“I was delighted with Adayar last week when he had his first easy piece of work. He’ll probably run in the September Stakes (at Kempton) first, hopefully as a prep for Qipco British Champions Day,” said his trainer Charlie Appleby.

“We can make a call after the September Stakes about the Arc, but the Qipco Champion Stakes interests me. The Arc will most likely be run in soft ground, which is not to his liking, but the gamble will be on what the ground will be like come Champions Day. We’ll see.”

He added: “I’ve been wanting all year to drop him back to a mile and a quarter and I think it’s well within his compass to do it at that level. It will be good for him. Personally I’d love to see him at a mile and a quarter, but that’s me talking, not the horse.

“The most important thing is that we are now seeing the Adayar again that we were seeing in March. He’s back in good order and it’s exciting.”

Appleby also has Native Trail in the race, and added: “With Coroebus missing the Sussex Stakes the plan is for him to go to the Jacques le Marois, which was going to be Native Trail’s race. We’ll make a decision nearer the time – the team might want to run them both – but I see no reason why Native Trail couldn’t run in the Juddmonte.

“Native Trail didn’t not stay in the Eclipse. He was outstayed by good horses who will probably go on and do well at a mile and a half. He is in great order – he’s walking around on two legs! He’s entered in both the QEII and the Qipco Champion Stakes.”

Monday Musings: Champions

An epic Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday definitely settled one major argument and all but decided another, writes Tony Stafford. In all honesty though, Murphy versus Buick and Appleby contra the Gosdens were the sideshows to an overwhelming afternoon for the Shadwell Estate Company, Jim Crowley and William Haggas.

There was a tinge of irony in the fact that in the week after the announcement of an admittedly expected but still shocking major reduction in the number of horses in the blue and white colours of the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, Shadwell won half the races.

Most – me at the head of that particular queue – expected a John and Thady Gosden benefit. But in the opening stayers’ race, Stradivarius suffered another defeat at the hands not only of Trueshan but 50-1 shot Tashkhan who came through late to give Brian Ellison a scarcely credible second place.

So once again Hollie Doyle was the nemesis for Frankie Dettori. He had accused racing’s favourite and most talented female rider of setting an inadequate pace on a pacemaker when the pair were riding for Aidan O’Brien in the Prix Vermeille on Arc Trials Day.

Dettori was on the unbackable Snowfall that day, previously a triple Oaks winner in the summer, including at Epsom under the Italian, but was turned over by Roger Varian’s Teona. Frankie reckoned Hollie got the pace wrong, but horses are supposed to run on their merits and in the event La Joconde was only a half-length behind the superstar in third. If that smacked of sour grapes, on Saturday it was more a case of sour face.

Riding his favourite horse the now slightly faltering multiple champion stayer Stradivarius, Dettori came back boiling, now blaming young Irish rider Dylan Browne McMonagle for twice blocking his run. My view of the closing stages was that any inconvenience could hardly have been of the order of four lengths – the margin by which he was behind Trueshan. McMonagle, far from bowed by the old-timer’s complaints, quite rightly called it “just race-riding”.

The fastest finisher of the front three was undoubtedly Tashkhan, who started out in 2021 having joined Ellison from Emmet Mullins on a mark of 70. He was already up to 106 by Saturday and no doubt will have earned another hike. For Trueshan and his owners, who include Andrew Gemmell, his exploits entitle him to be the year’s top stayer.

I felt it worth starting out on Grumpy Frankie, who in a magical career of well over 30 years has had more than his fair share of good fortune – and leniency from the authorities - notably that day with the seven winners on the same racecourse. That was the year when I had just finished writing his “autobiography”, a Year in the Life of Frankie Dettori. Come off it Frankie, imagine how many times you’ve got in someone’s way when they thought they had a race in the bag!

But we move back to Shadwell. Two of their three winners on the day were home-breds. These were Baaeed, emphatic winner of the QE II Stakes and Eshaada, another Roger Varian filly to lower the colours of Snowfall, again below par in third in the Fillies’ and Mares’ race. After the brilliance of her trio of summer Group 1 wins at Epsom, The Curragh and York Snowfall may just be feeling the cumulative erosion caused by those efforts – not least her sixth in the Arc just two weeks previously. Varian must be thinking she’s his Patsy!

The third Shadwell winner was like the other two, a progressive three-year-old. William Haggas had not even revealed Baaeed to the racing public until June 7 of his three-year-old career but in the intervening 18 weeks he had won four more times including at Longchamp. Here the son of Sea The Stars was faced with the Gosdens’ Palace Pier, the highest-rated horse in Europe last year.

That status has been usurped by last weekend’s Arc hero Torquator Tasso. Baaeed was a most convincing winner and must have a massive future. Whether it will be that much more glorious than what we will see from Haggas’s other winner in the same colours cannot be certain. Aldaary, by Territories, had won a handicap on the same track two weeks earlier, the 6lb penalty for which brought his mark in Saturday’s closing Balmoral Handicap to 109. No problem as he proved to be the proverbial group horse running in a handicap by galloping away from 19 others under an exultant Crowley in a time only 0.07sec slower than the Group 1.

If there was an element of sadness around Hamdan’s colours winning half the races on that massive day, for me there was just as much poignancy about Aldaary’s success. The breeder is listed as M E Broughton, slightly disguising the identity of a man who equally hid behind the name of the Essex-based company he built, Broughton Thermal Insulation, in his many years as an enthusiastic owner-breeder.

Michael died last year – as did his wife Carol – and that after a career where the Racing Post Statistics reveal more than 100 winners in his sole name. He won races in all but two of the 33 seasons for which the Racing Post carries statistics, and in his final days actually won four to get him past the century.

He was a one-trainer owner, relying on the always-reticent Wille Musson and when the trainer retired five years ago, he stayed on as Broughton’s racing manager. Clever man that Willie Musson.
Michael was a jovial red-faced enthusiast and for a few years he used to ask me to go through the Cheltenham card on the days when he entertained a table of friends. These included his loyal PA, Maggie and Michael’s brother Roger as well as the Mussons, in the main restaurant at the Cheltenham Festival.

All his horses carried the prefix Broughtons (sometimes with an apostrophe before the “s”) and Broughtons Revival won three races of the four she competed in on turf as against a winless five appearances on all-weather, of course for Musson.

Retired to stud she had six foals before Aldaary and five of them are winners. No wonder Aldaary realised 55,000gns as a foal to the bid of Johnny McKeever at the 2018 December sales and then, re-submitted the following year in Book 2 of the October Yearling Sale, jumped up to 150,000gns to Shadwell. More than 150 Shadwell horses are due to go under the hammer at the Horses in Training Sale next week. I doubt that Aldaary, who holds the entry, will be sporting the insignia of Lot 1308 at Park Paddocks, rather enjoying some down time back at Somerville Lodge.
However sad it was that Sheikh Hamdan could not enjoy his day of days, I have much more regret that Michael was unable to enjoy seeing by far the best horse he has ever bred over all those years. Willie and Judy Musson will have been pleased as punch no doubt.

Earlier in the piece I suggested that Snowfall might not have fully recovered from her demanding run in the mud of Longchamp 13 days earlier, but the horse that finished one place ahead of her that afternoon stepped up to win the Champion Stakes thereby unseating Mishriff, the second Gosden ace in the hole.

That top-class globe-trotting winner of more than £10 million had sat out the Arc presumably to save his energies for Ascot, but shockingly, he didn’t last home, fading to fourth as Sealiway and Mickael Barzalona strode forward. Dubai Honour made a great show in second for the Haggas team and Classic winner Mac Swiney was third ahead of Mishriff thereby keeping Jim Bolger well in the action hard on the news that his other star of 2021 Poetic Flare is off to a stud career in Japan.

Sealiway had benefited from the traditional French way of training top-class three-year-olds. He had not run for almost four months before his Arc challenge having been runner-up a length and a half behind St Mark’s Basilica in the Prix Du Jockey Club.

Trained then by F Rossi, he switched to Cedric Rossi during the layoff and this convincing victory showed him as a high-class performer and one that is sure to be a major force in European and world racing over ten and twelve furlongs for the next year or so.

Elsewhere, Oisin Murphy held on to win a third title, but I understand there might still be some uncomfortable moments for him. He is a wonderful jockey and we have to hope he can overcome his demons. William Buick’s strong challenge will have given this unassuming young man the confidence that a championship is within his grasp especially as the Charlie Appleby stable remains so powerful.

Last week I suggested the Gosdens had more than enough firepower to claw back the half-million or so deficit they had on Godolphin’s main trainer, but in the event they retrieved barely ten per cent of it on Champions Day. Admittedly the season and therefore the title race in name continues until December 31 but big John and son Thady have no realistic chance of breaching the gap.
Creative Force won the sprint for Charlie and William and a touch more than £300k in the second race of the six. With his main rival surprisingly failing to get a winner on the day – especially the QE II and Champion Stakes, worth considerably more than £1.1 million that looked at their mercy - Appleby assuredly will win his first title after a period when John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien have been dominant.

The massive crowd and good weather and not least fair ground made for a wonderful day – on the tenth anniversary of the lavish Qipco sponsorship. A couple of friends managed to secure tickets for the owners’ lunchroom and Kevin and Dave had a wonderful time. The staff seemed overrun at times but the very pleasant greeter at the top of the stairs was a superlative advertisement for the hospitality trade.

The smile never left her face and then later in the afternoon I was quite surprised to see her carrying out a heavy load of rubbish to the bins. On suggesting that might be someone else’s job, she replied: “They are so busy and have been working very hard, it’s only fair!” What a woman!

At the end of the afternoon, when Dave, having enjoyed a fairly long and liquid lunch, mistook a step and fell headlong down half a flight of stairs, again the staff were quick to come to his aid, calling immediately for the medics. Dave, 78, was pronounced okay so we were cleared to go off to an evening at an Essex hostelry to complete a lovely day. And while I was fully aware of my chauffeuring requirements, the boys made a night of it and true to form were up and ready to go early on Sunday morning with Kevin, I know, supervising the action at his shellfish cabin in Billericay.

- TS

Champions Stakes surprise has bookmakers celebrating

Bookmakers were celebrating a victorious Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot thanks to at least two decent priced winners and a few shocks.

Sealiway’s 12-1 surprise in the Qipco Champion Stakes in which the first two in the market, Mishriff and Adayar, failed to make the first three was a tremendous result.

It had been preceded by the demise of 8-11 favourite Snowfall, who was only third behind 16-1 shot Eshaada in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

Trueshan’s victory as evens favourite in the opening Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup gave punters false hope for the day.

Trueshan and Hollie Doyle had got punters off to a great start at Ascot
Trueshan and Hollie Doyle had got punters off to a great start at Ascot (Steven Paston/PA)

Wins for the well-supported Baaeed (2-1) in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Aldaary (7-2) in the Balmoral Handicap were tempered by defeats in those races for favourites Palace Pier and Sunray Major respectively.

“From a bookmakers’ point of view, we can’t complain at all,” said Coral’s David Stevens.

“The day started with a great result for punters with Trueshan winning at even money. That was the high point for many punters. With Snowfall getting beaten and Baaeed beating Palace Pier in that cracker, and then to get to a Champion Stakes when neither Mishriff nor Adayar were in the first three really summed it up.

“And then the icing on the cake – although Aldaary was very well-backed on the Balmoral Handicap – Frankie Dettori’s mount Sunray Major was even better backed.

“If every Champions Day was like this one, we’d be quite happy.”

Eshaada was a good result for the bookmakers
Eshaada was a good result for the bookmakers (Steven Paston/PA)

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet Racing’s PR manager, felt it was a great day all round with turnover strong.

“The first winner Trueshan was popular and well-backed into even money, but from there on the results were definitely favourable, in particular Sealiway. That and Eshaada were the highlights for us,” he said.

“Aldaary was the best-backed horse of the day, but it didn’t take away the gloss of the day.

“Great British Racing have done a really good job promoting the day and because the racing was so good turnover was also really positive.

“There was plenty written and talked about before and the quality was so good and the fields were competitive. The turnover reflected what a successful day it was.”

Baaeed stays unbeaten in pulsating QEII victory

Baaeed maintained his unbeaten record as he lowered the colours of Palace Pier in a top-class renewal of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

The William Haggas-trained colt only made his racecourse debut in June – but has a perfect record of six after winning a second successive Group One following his victory in the Prix du Moulin at ParisLongchamp.

Benbatl set a sedate early pace from last year’s winner The Revenant, before the gallop picked up from halfway. The 10 runners congregated on the far side with Baaeed having to make his challenge on the outside from his wide draw.

Baaeed (2-1) was travelling well for Jim Crowley and he soon got into a battle with market rival and five-time Group One scorer Palace Pier, the 6-4 favourite in the hands of Frankie Dettori.

Both gave their all and it was Baaeed who crossed the line a neck in front of the game runner-up, to give owners Shadwell Estate and Crowley a quick big-race double after the victory of Eshaada in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

Lady Bowthorpe (40-1) stayed on strongly to be just a length and a quarter behind in third in her last race before she is retired to the paddocks.

Haggas said: “Could you believe we’d be standing here at the start of the season? What a silly question. He’s done it.

“He’s won today. I think Jim’s words were he coped with the ground, rather than loved it, and he’s beaten the best miler in Europe so what can you say? I’m thrilled to bits. I’m shaking.

“I watched it while I was walking around a bit trying to get up my 10,000 steps a day and I’ve succeeded in that. That was great.”

Jim Crowley celebrates with Baaeed
Jim Crowley celebrates with Baaeed (Steven Paston/PA)

He added: “I need to watch it again because I was sort of only half-watching and listening to it, but to be champion miler on ground which Jim thought he coped with but no more…

“I thought he travelled very well and won. He’s very good isn’t he. He always worked nicely and he’s always had speed.

“I believe he will stay in training, but he’s finished for the year now, he’s done all he needs to do.

“I don’t know whether he’ll stay a mile and a quarter, but he may well do.”

A jubilant Crowley said: “I think he could be a world champion. He’s just a beast, he keeps getting better.

“The ground was a bit slow for him and on quicker ground I think he would pick up better, but he’s come a long way in a short space of time and he’s a proper champion.

“I know Sheikh Hamdan will be looking down, smiling, and I owe him everything, he gave me this opportunity, he chose me to be his jockey and although he’s not here to see it, it’s nice to be able to repay him.”

On plans, Shadwell racing manager Angus Gold said: “The plan always was to (return next season). I’d always imagined he was going to be better at a mile and a quarter, but I’ll have to slightly eat my words now.

“Discussions will have to be had with the family and see what they want to do, but I would hope he’ll be back next season.

“He won’t be going to the Breeders’ Cup. He’s done everything we could possibly ask him and from our point of view, we need him as a stallion.

“I don’t think he has to go there to prove himself. Let’s hope we see him next year.”

Palace Pier with Frankie Dettori ahead of the QEII
Palace Pier with Frankie Dettori ahead of the QEII (Steven Paston/PA)

John Gosden said of Palace Pier, who now heads for stud: “Frankie (Dettori) said it was a slowly-run race and I think if he rode it again he would have committed sooner rather than spending his time looking round. I think he should have committed earlier. This horse stays a mile well.

“The winner is a nice horse, but ridden again I think we would have been a little bolder.

“It’s likely that Palace Pier will go to stud now. He’s a fabulous horse, is good looking, has run with consistency in Group One races throughout his career and I think he will be an exciting horse to go to stud.”

Lady Bowthorpe is heading for the paddocks
Lady Bowthorpe is heading for the paddocks (John Walton/PA)

Lady Bowthorpe has been brilliant for William Jarvis this year, and he paid tribute to his hugely-popular mare.

He said: “That effort just shows what a great mare she is. I’m thrilled. And yet I’m also very sad to see her go (to the paddocks). She owes us nothing and we are so very lucky to have had her.

“It’s a great story, ending in her putting on a career-best against the best two milers in the world. I have a good idea where she will go, and let me say it will be a quite expensive mating.”

Eshaada denies Albaflora at Ascot

Eshaada just edged out Albaflora in a thrilling finish to the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot.

The two protagonists pulled away from Aidan O’Brien’s odds-on market leader Snowfall, who was disappointing in third.

Eshaada (16-1) had not raced since finishing last of seven behind the Aidan O’Brien-trained favourite in the Yorkshire Oaks in August – but she bounced back to take the Group One honours for trainer Roger Varian and jockey Jim Crowley.

Mystery Angel and La Joconde shared the duties up front before the latter went on at halfway. Ryan Moore had Snowfall tucked away in sixth place and though she made ground in the straight the spark she showed when winning the Oaks at Epsom and the Curragh was missing.

There was little between the first two as they battled it out in the closing stages, with Eshaada getting the verdict by a shot head from Albaflora and Snowfall three and a half lengths away.

Eshaada and Alblaflora pull away from Snowfall
Eshaada and Alblaflora pull away from Snowfall (PA)

Varian said: “Her only poor performance was at York and the Ribblesdale form had worked out very well with the winner (Loving Dream) winning the Prix de Royallieu two weeks ago at ParisLongchamp.

“The ground was tight at York and it’s a funny place. Maybe she needs cut in the ground.

“Coming here today she had track form and has always looked a class filly, so I thought she was a touch overpriced beforehand.

“We were very happy with her condition and everything went right during the race. She always had a good position and kicked in the straight. She had to be really tough inside the final two furlongs, but she stuck her neck out and was really game.

“I should think a discussion will be had with the team at Shadwell (regarding the future). We’d love to have her around for another year, (but) that won’t be my decision.

“She’s a big, scopey filly who is still lightly-raced and you would think her best days are perhaps still ahead of her.”

O’Brien said of Snowfall: “She ran an OK race, obviously you would be disappointed she didn’t win. She’s had plenty of racing, it was a steadily enough run race and they quickened and she followed them, but she just didn’t get to them.

“Ryan said he would have preferred the pace to be a bit stronger early. Snowfall was slow away and didn’t want to come out and around them. There you go – that’s the way it is.

“We haven’t said anything really (about next year). We’ll see how she is, but that is probably it this year.”

Fujaira Prince sustains fatal gallops injury

Fujaira Prince suffered a fatal injury on the gallops on Wednesday morning as he was being prepared for the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Saturday.

The seven-year-old, trained by Roger Varian, finished third in the Group Two contest over two miles in 2020 and was prominent in the ante-post betting at around 10-1.

Fujaira Prince won the Ebor at York last season and was second in the Irish St Leger. He won five of his 12 starts and earned £303,265 in prize money.

“It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of stable favourite Fujaira Prince, who suffered a fatal injury on the gallops this morning,” the Newmarket trainer announced on www.varianstable.com.

“Fujaira Prince was a lovely horse who has given us many special moments, the highlight of those being his success the Ebor in 2020.

“He will be much missed by the whole team here at Varian Stable, in particular by his groom Alan Rutter, his work rider Chiara Careddu, barn manager Dee Deacon, and of course by his owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.”

Charlie Fellowes eager to take Champions Sprint test with Vadream

Connections of Vadream have opted to take the plunge and supplement the filly for the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot on Saturday following the scratching of Starman.

The three-year-old was added to the field for the six-furlong Group One at the five-day confirmation stage, which makes a total of 22 hopefuls.

Ante-post favourite Starman, winner of the July Cup, was the most notable absentee after suffering a setback. The Ed Walker-trained four-year-old colt has been retired.

Vadream staked her claim for consideration with a timely success in the Group Three Bengough Stakes at the Berkshire track at the beginning of the month.

Trainer Charlie Fellowes is happy for the daughter of Brazen Beau to take her chance, though he has every sympathy for the Starman team.

“She won a course-and-distance Group Three a couple of weeks ago. She’s bounced out of that race,” he said.

“Starman being out blows a massive hole in the race because he’s an outstanding sprinter. I’m genuinely gutted for Ed because I know they have had to pick and choose where they run this horse and the ground was about to come in his favour. It’s a real shame for them.

“Our filly is proven over the course and distance. She’ll go on any ground. It should be beautiful which won’t bother her one bit and Ascot really suits her racing style.

rainer Charlie Fellowes is delighted the way Vadream has come out of her last race
Trainer Charlie Fellowes is delighted the way Vadream has come out of her last race (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We’d be mad not to give it a crack. This will be her last run of the year and she stays in training next year so it was a no-brainer. I couldn’t be happier the way she’s come out of her race.”

One of the leading fancies is Archie Watson’s consistent three-year-old Dragon Symbol while Watson has a second string in last year’s winner Glen Shiel. Others in the mix include Rohaan, Art Power and Creative Force.

Trueshan and Stradivarius, first and second in the Prix du Cadran earlier this month, could clash again in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.

The Alan King-trained Trueshan took this prize 12 months ago while John and Thady Gosden’s Stradivarius was successful in 2018.

Stradivarius failed to sparkle on testing ground in France
Stradivarius failed to sparkle on testing ground in France (Mike Egerton/PA)

John Gosden felt the team made an error in opting to run at ParisLongchamp, with conditions against Stradivarius.

He said: “We made a mistake running in France on ground which was not what we had been led to expect.

“On the Saturday they were running on ground that had been used for the Trials and while he ran a valiant race, it was just not his ground.”

While the Ascot going may be more to Stradivarius’ liking, King is yet to make a decision on whether soft-ground specialist Trueshan will line up.

He said: “I’ve left Trueshan in and we’ll make a decision on Thursday. We’ll do a bit with him mid-week and see how everything pans out, but I can’t see any rain in the forecast.

“He has only cantered since Longchamp but he looks a picture. The Prix Royal-Oak the following weekend is there if we need it instead, but I’m told there’s not much rain about in France either and I’d prefer to go to Ascot.”

Hamish, Princess Zoe and The Mediterranean are among other smart stayers standing their ground.

Search For A Song has multiple options at Ascot
Search For A Song has multiple options at Ascot (Niall Carson/PA)

Two-time Irish St Leger heroine Search For A Song, trained by Dermot Weld, has an alternative entry in the Qipco British Champions Fillies And Mares Stakes.

The 12 possibles are headed by Aidan O’Brien’s classy pair of Snowfall and Love.

Oaks winner Snowfall would be making a quick reappearance after finishing sixth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, while Love was a late withdrawal after developing a temperature. Both are also entered in the Champion Stakes.

Paddy Twomey’s La Petite Coco, who lowered Love’s colours in the Blandford Stakes at the Curragh last month, is expected to take her chance.

The Gosden-trained Free Wind heads the ante-post market following convincing victories in the Prix Minerve at Deauville and the Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster.

Palace Pier and Baaeed star among 10 QEII hopefuls

Champion miler Palace Pier heads up a total of 10 confirmations for Saturday’s mouthwatering Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained four-year-old has only lost once in his 10-race career but that defeat did come in this race 12 months ago.

Connections blamed the testing ground on that occasion but with the weather set fair this week, better conditions are anticipated.

John Gosden said: “It was frustrating when Palace Pier had to miss the Sussex Stakes with that blood disorder but he has since won the Prix Jacques Le Marois and it was always the intention after that to wait for this race.

“He’s been training well and he’ll appreciate what will hopefully be nicer ground than last year. A little over a week ago it was bottomless, and while we don’t expect it to dry out to good to firm, it won’t be like that.”

Palace Pier is set to clash with William Haggas’ hitherto unbeaten Baaeed in what promises to be a highlight on Qipco British Champions Day.

The three-year-old has come from nowhere this season and was unraced until June, but took the step up to Group One company with aplomb when winning the Prix du Moulin last time out.

Haggas said: “With the likes of Palace Pier and Alcohol Free in the field it could be the race of the day, but Baaeed’s preparation has gone well and he’s in good shape. He’s a nice horse and he’s come a long way in a short space of time.”

Last year’s winner The Revenant is back again for French trainer Frances-Henri Graffard.

Following a couple of defeats on unsuitably fast ground in the spring, he returned to something like his best when a fast finishing second to Real World in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein on Arc weekend.

The Revenant relished the mud last year but conditions are set to be quicker
The Revenant relished the mud last year but conditions are set to be quicker (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Andrew Balding’s filly Alcohol Free is another top-class contender who in any other year would be among the favourites. She beat the boys in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and has been on a small break since failing to see out 10 furlongs in the Juddmonte International at York.

Aidan O’Brien’s Mother Earth has been on the go since winning the 1000 Guineas and has been admirably consistent, most recently finishing second to Saffron Beach in the Sun Chariot.

Saeed bin Suroor has left in his stable stalwart Benbatl, who returned to winning ways last time out and he will be enthused by the forecast, while his Godolphin compatriot Charlie Appleby could run Master Of The Seas.

Kieran Shoemark punches the air after Lady Bowthorpe's Nassau Stakes win
Kieran Shoemark punches the air after Lady Bowthorpe’s Nassau Stakes win (John Walton/PA)

William Jarvis’ Lady Bowthorpe was one of the most popular winners of the season in the Nassau Stakes, but she needs to bounce back having disappointed in the Prix Jean Romanet.

David O’Meara’s veteran Lord Glitters and the Jessica Harrington-trained Njord – both previous winners of the Balmoral Handicap which closes the Ascot card – complete the field.

Addeybb heads 14 contenders for Champion Stakes glory

Last year’s winner Addeybb, Derby and King George hero Adayar and the brilliant Mishriff are among 14 confirmations for the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

The William Haggas-trained Addeybb bagged his first Group One victory on home soil in the Champions Day feature 12 months ago, but has made just three appearances since.

The seven-year-old returned to Australia to defend both the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Randwick, having to make do with the runner-up spot in the former event but successfully defending his QEII crown.

Addeybb made a promising return from a break when splitting St Mark’s Basilica and Mishriff in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in early July, but has missed multiple engagements since due to unsuitable ground conditions.

Tom Marquand will be on board and told Sky Sports Racing: “Whether the ground will be quite in his favour – I can’t see how it will dry out too much at this time of year as the dew in the morning keeps the moisture in.

“I was informed the other day he galloped very well, but I don’t get near him too often at home as he’s not usually the best work horse and William likes me to keep my confidence in him by riding him in races instead!

“It sounds like he’s in great form and everyone is happy. There are no chinks in his armour, he’s danced every dance and been to the other side of the world a couple of times and proved himself here in the Champion last year.”

Haggas, who will be praying for as much as rain as possible ahead of his bid for back-to-back Champion Stakes triumphs this weekend, reports Addeybb to be in “as good a shape as we could possibly have him.”

He said: “We are very pleased with Addeybb’s condition. We’d like rain for him, and the more the better, but it doesn’t look as if we are going to get it. I’d be surprised if it was quick ground though, as it was so wet there at the last meeting, and he’ll run.

“I’d have loved him to have had a run, as it’s a top, top race, but he goes well fresh and he can win off a lay-off. His last two weeks have been really good.”

The Somerville Lodge handler looks set to launch a three-pronged assault, with Al Aasy and the supplemented Dubai Honour also in the mix.

Connections of Dubai Honour have stumped up the required £75,000 to add him to the field off the back of his impressive display in the Prix Dollar at ParisLongchamp on Arc weekend.

Dubai Honour after winning the Prix Dollar
Dubai Honour after winning the Prix Dollar (PA)

“Dubai Honour is a nice young horse who has won two Group Twos. He’s doing very well physically and he’s a pretty useful horse,” Haggas added.

“This will be a big rise in class for him, but we’ve got nothing to lose. I’m running Al Aasy too, and he’s not without hope, dropping back in trip. Everyone questions him bar me, but he’s a very, very talented horse.”

Charlie Appleby confirmed over the weekend that Adayar would be left in the Champion Stakes at the confirmation stage, with a final decision on his participation to be made later in the week.

If the three-year-old does take his chance, he will be turning out just 13 days after finishing fourth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Adayar remains in contention for the Champion Stakes
Adayar remains in contention for the Champion Stakes (Nigel French/PA)

The marginal favourite with most bookmakers is John and Thady Gosden’s Mishriff, who has been saved for this race since his dominant display in the Juddmonte International at York in August.

The Saudi Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic winner had previously finished third in the Eclipse and runner-up to Adayar in the King George.

Gosden said: “We’ve been happy with Mishriff since York and we are looking forward to running him again.

“It’s always one race at a time, but we wanted to space his races in case we go on to run later in the year, possibly at the Breeders’ Cup.

“It looks like being a good race and we should get better ground than last year, when he really didn’t like it. He can handle soft, but last year it became specialists’ ground. Full marks to all of the winners that day, but it’s hard to quicken on that stuff.”

Snowfall winning the Yorkshire Oaks
Snowfall winning the Yorkshire Oaks (Nigel French/PA)

Aidan O’Brien has left in Love, Bolshoi Ballet and Snowfall, with Jim Bolger’s Mac Swiney and the Noel Meade-trained Helvic Dream the other Irish contenders.

Cedric Rossi’s Arc fifth Sealiway could represent France.

Euchen Glen (Jim Goldie), Lady Bowthorpe (William Jarvis) and Foxes Tales (Andrew Balding) are the other hopefuls.

Stickels anticipating ‘easy side’ of good for Champions Day ground

Conditions at Ascot for Qipco British Champions Day look like being on the soft side of good with the weather set relatively fair for the rest of the week.

Currently the going on the straight and round courses is a mixture of good to soft and soft, but not much rain is forecast.

However, given the time of year, the ground is not expected to dry up appreciably from its current state.

Chris Stickels, clerk of the course told Sky Sports Racing: “We’ve been dry now for the last 24 hours and the going currently on the straight course is good to soft, soft in places and on the round course it’s soft, good to soft in places with quite a promising forecast.

“There are only minor amounts of rain forecast. It’s a dry day today, Tuesday we may see splinters of light rain through the afternoon. Then it’s dry until Friday, when there is the chance of a light shower.

“At this stage, while I can’t be overly confident, it looks like being mainly dry, with Saturday a largely dry day as well.

“I think it’s fairly overcast today and there will be heavy dews and morning mists. It won’t dry like it does in June and July. It would only dry up as much this week as it would during a day in the summer.

“I’m anticipating, given the forecast, that conditions will improve a little by the end of the week. Good ground could feature on both courses but I think it will be on the easy side.

“It’s all coming together very well and this will be the biggest crowd we’ll have had for a couple of years.”

Rising star Baaeed given Queen Elizabeth II engagement

Rising star Baaeed may take on title-holder The Revenant and Palace Pier among a stellar list of established top-class performers in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot.

William Haggas’ unbeaten Shadwell Estate colt Baaeed is one of 31 entries – including Andrew Balding’s three-time Group One heroine Alcohol Free, Francois-Henri Graffard’s The Revenant and John and Thady Gosden’s Palace Pier, whose only defeat to date came in this race last year.

The Group One QEII is worth more than £1million, as part of Ascot’s showpiece card on October 16.

It is headlined by the Champion Stakes itself and also features the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes and Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes – two more top-level races – and the Group Two Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.

Baaeed was brilliant at Goodwood
Baaeed was brilliant at Goodwood (John Walton/PA)

Aidan O’Brien’s Classic winners Love, Mother Earth, Empress Josephine and St Mark’s Basilica – the highest-rated horse in the world – are also joined in the QEII reckoning by Nassau Stakes heroine Lady Bowthorpe and Snow Lantern, winner of Newmarket’s Falmouth Stakes.

Jim Bolger’s 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes winner Poetic Flare is another contender.

Baaeed, also a three-year-old, made his debut only in June but has since won four times up to Group Three level.

Haggas said: “He’ll be dining at the top table from now on, and I think we’ll stick at a mile.

“He’s earned a QEII entry, and it’s encouraging that he showed (in the Thoroughbred Stakes) at Goodwood that he could handle some give in the ground, because I wasn’t sure that he would.

“He keeps doing it, and people say he keeps running good times. He’s just a good horse, I think – and at the moment everything is going his way. He’s sound, he’s healthy – and he’s fast.”

Palace Pier sets the standard in the miling division
Palace Pier sets the standard in the miling division (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Palace Pier is a four-time Group One winner, and his joint trainer John Gosden said: “He had a blood disorder right after the Queen Anne and had to miss the Sussex Stakes – but all being well he’ll be in the Jacques le Marois at Deauville, and then we’ll take it forward from there.

“The QEII is a definite possibility again. But he’s also entered for the Champion Stakes, and it would be interesting to see him at a mile and a quarter.

“It’s still a long way off, so we’ll see.”

Graffard said of The Revenant: “The QEII is his main goal. We know he acts really well on soft ground, and last year that was an advantage to him.

“He is back in training after a summer break and is probably more of an autumn horse than a spring horse.”

O’Brien, who last won the QEII in 2016 with another brilliant filly Minding, said of Tuesday’s Group One Prix Rothschild winner Mother Earth: “(This) will be the race we will be looking at for her.

“I think she has met Alcohol Free three times, and she has beaten her twice in the good ground, with the other filly winning at Ascot in the soft ground.”

Real World (blue) is set for Haydock on Saturday
Real World (blue) is set for Haydock on Saturday (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Saeed bin Suroor has entered the improving Real World in both the QEII and Champion Stakes.

He said: “Real World could well run on Champions Day.

“He’s nice and he’s ready for a Group One, but first he’s going to run in the Rose of Lancaster at Haydock. He’s a big, strong horse – and he’s looked good this year.”

The British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes has attracted 40 entries – including David Menuisier’s 2020 winner Wonderful Tonight, on course this year for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at the start of October and another also in the Champion Stakes, following two Group Two successes this summer.

Her Sussex-based trainer said: “It was an amazing day last year when Wonderful Tonight won the Fillies & Mares.

“Ascot had been my nemesis until then – I’d never had a winner there. It was a relief too, because she had run over a mile and six in a Group One in France only two weeks earlier.

“She’s entered again, and she’s also in the Qipco Champion Stakes, but I’m not saying she’ll definitely run.

“We have to see what happens at Longchamp first, but if she went to Ascot and the ground was heavy we might be tempted by the Champion Stakes. Why not – the prize-money is more than twice as much.”

Dermot Weld has entered both his Breeders’ Cup Turf heroine Tarnawa – who returns to action at Leopardstown on Thursday – and dual Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song.

Tarnawa was a revelation last season
Tarnawa was a revelation last season (Niall Carson/PA)

He said of Tarnawa: “She’s being aimed at the Arc, but I’ve made provisional entries for her in the Fillies & Mares and the Champion Stakes – and we’ll see what happens.”

O’Brien’s eight entries include Joan of Arc, Love and Snowfall.

Alcohol Free is an eyecatching possible, back down in trip, for the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes – in which last year’s winner Glen Shiel and Dragon Symbol, both for Archie Watson, are more predictable contenders alongside Ed Walker’s July Cup winner Starman.

Balding said of Alcohol Free: “Qipco British Champions Day is very much on the agenda, and we know the ground won’t be a problem to her there.

“I’m keeping all the options open, so I’ve entered her in the Champions Sprint as well as the QEII, on the basis that the mile might take a bit of getting at that time of year.

“She won the Cheveley Park Stakes last year, and I think she’d travel well enough for six still. She’s got that class too.”

Last year’s Long Distance Cup and subsequent Goodwood Cup winner Trueshan is one of 48 entries this time – including the Gosdens’ great stayer Stradivarius and Tony Mullins’ Princess Zoe.

Provision in place for course change to be made on Champions Day

A provision has been made to let officials switch to the inner track at Ascot on Qipco British Champions Day should the ground have heavy in the going description.

British Champions Series Limited, the British Horseracing Authority and Ascot have announced revised track plans for the races on the round course – which will remain the default track but the word heavy on the day of racing will mean a switch to the inner track.

That is a change to the current rule, which states that the inner course would only come into plan in an abandonment situation.

The inner course cannot be used as the default as to prepare it to be so (by summer watering) would risk compromising it for Champions Day and for the jumps season, where the risk of waterlogging would increase significantly.

Racegoers shelter from the rain during day four of this year's Royal Ascot
Racegoers shelter from the rain during day four of this year’s Royal Ascot (David Davies/PA)

Clerk of the course Chris Stickels will give the going on the outer course on the morning of racing as normal. If he gives “heavy” in the going description or indeed chooses not to do so in a marginal call, an independent panel will also assess the ground.

The panel will decide whether there is heavy anywhere on the outer course, which would trigger the switch.

The inner track was used for the fixture in 2019, but went ahead as planned last year despite conditions being very soft.

Nick Smith, director of racing and public affairs at Ascot, said: “Using the cambered outer course with wider bends is obviously the ideal on QBCD. However, following discussions with the BHA, there is agreement that racing on heavy ground, if it can be avoided, is best for the day as a whole.

“Importantly, we are not setting out to penalise horses that prefer cut in the ground, which more often than not will be the prevailing conditions in autumn. In all likelihood, when heavy is in the going description on the outer course, the inner course will still be predominantly soft.

“Given the potential sensitivity around a switch of surfaces in a marginal situation, Chris has recommended that an independent panel verifies his assessment on the day.”

John Gosden – whose Palace Pier and Stradivarius were both beaten in the 2020 edition – said: “It is important that the executive are given the flexibility to switch to the inner course if it is heavy on the main outer course. The switch was made in 2019 and was a great success resulting in competitive racing.

“It should be noted that unlike the long summer days of June, mid-October does not present much in the way of drying conditions.”

Fellowes bids reluctant farewell to Onassis

Charlie Fellowes admits he will be sorry to see Onassis go after confirming the Royal Ascot winner is to retire to the paddocks.

The three-year-old filly signed off with a creditable run to finish sixth in the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot, for which she had been supplemented.

As well as winning the Sandringham Handicap at the Royal meeting earlier this season, the daughter of Dubawi picked up a pair of Listed victories at Chantilly and Goodwood.

“As far as I am aware, despite my best efforts, she is retired,” said Fellowes.

“She ran an unbelievable race the other day, considering she had won on heavy ground six days earlier. To be beaten about two lengths by some of the best sprinters in the country, and had a lot of them behind her, was a remarkable effort.

“I think she ran the quickest final furlong as well and proved how good she is. I will be desperately sad to lose her.

“She would have made a lovely four-year-old. But the owners have made the decision – and as far as I know, she’s off to the owners’ Triermore Stud.”

Fellowes has pencilled in Chiefofchiefs, who was towards the rear in the Champions Sprint, for the Wentworth Stakes at Doncaster next month.

“Things didn’t go right for Chiefofchiefs. He got far too much daylight,” he said.

“He’s a really difficult ride. You have to ride him cold and bring him through horses.

“If he gets too much daylight, like he did at Doncaster the time before, he loses all interest. I think he’d have run a lot better if we had dropped him further out and ridden him to come through them. Sadly, the draw went against us and made tactics a bit harder.

“He’ll probably head to Doncaster for the final day of the season and run in the Listed race there.”

King Ottokar is to be aimed at the Lincoln Handicap next spring
King Ottokar is to be aimed at the Lincoln Handicap next spring (Steven Paston/PA)

The Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster at the start of the next Flat season in March is on the agenda for King Ottokar.

Fellowes is convinced a mile is his optimum trip, having mainly campaigned him over further for the last two seasons.

The four-year-old was sixth to Njord in the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot on Saturday, after being drawn on the wrong side of the track.

“That race just sums up his season. He was dreadfully unlucky,” said Fellowes.

“He deserved a lot more out of it than he got.

“He was drawn on completely the wrong side. He had to switch three-quarters way through the race, and there was a clear advantage on the far side than on the stands side.

“We’ve mucked around trying to work out his trip.

“He’s got tons of boot. A mile is his game, and soft ground. He’ll be aimed at the Lincoln at the beginning of next year.

“There’s nothing more for him this year. He’ll go straight to the Lincoln – and then hopefully we’ll have some fun now we know which direction we’re going in.”

Dubious Affair (right) is to stay in training in 2021
Dubious Affair (right) is to stay in training in 2021 (Steven Cargill/PA)

Fellowes feels Dubious Affair can show her true colours next term too, after failing to handle the testing conditions at Ascot when making no show in the British Champions Long Distance Cup.

“She didn’t handle the ground,” he said.

“We thought she would, but she didn’t.

“The good news is she’s staying in training next year.”

The four-year-old daughter of Frankel had shown progressive form this term, winning handicaps on her first three starts, being placed in a Listed contest and then fourth in the Group Two Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster.

Hong Kong in mix for Skalleti

Jerome Reynier will consider sending Skalleti to Hong Kong in December following his fine effort in defeat in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Fresh from winning the Prix Dollar for a second time at ParisLongchamp a fortnight earlier, the five-year-old performed admirably on his first start at Group One level on Saturday, filling the runner-up spot behind the William Haggas-trained Addeybb.

Reynier reports his stable star to have returned to France none the worse, and both the Hong Kong Cup and the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin on December 13 are possible targets.

“You always go to the races with a lot of confidence with this horse, because he always gives you everything,” said Reynier.

“He had the conditions to suit (at Ascot), because he handles that sticky ground well. To be fair, he is good on soft and heavy, straight tracks or right or left-handed, and he has even been winning on Polytrack – he’s just an amazing horse.

“Now the question is whether we go to Hong Kong with him. He hasn’t had a big campaign this year, because he only started in May and had two light starts on good ground before we started to step things up in August.

“We could now be aiming for Hong Kong, where I will enter him in the Hong Kong Cup over a mile and a quarter and the Hong Kong Vase over a mile and a half.

“You have to stay really well over a mile and a quarter at Ascot on that sort of ground, and he wasn’t fading out – when Magical came to him he kept going to finish second. I think he would stay a mile and a half on good ground in Hong Kong.

“We will have to see how we can travel horses and people as well. It could be tough logistically, to try and get everyone there seven days before the race, but we will see.

“Everyone is saying the races will not be as competitive this year, because the Japanese horses are not so good and the local level isn’t so strong either, so this could be the year to try it.”

Whether Skalleti heads to the Far East or not, he is set to return to training in 2021 – with a trip back to Ascot for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at the Royal meeting a potential target.

Reynier added: “The owner really wants to keep him in one piece and doesn’t want to try silly things, so I can understand if he decides to put him away for next year.

“We could aim for the Prix Ganay in France in April, and everyone is saying we should consider the Prince of Wales’s Stakes in June – because sometimes it’s raining and they can get soft ground.

“We will definitely consider that, because there is no option in France at that time of year.”

Hambleton on a high after Glen Shiel’s breakthrough win

Members of the Hambleton Racing syndicate can finally take in what it means to be Group One winners, following Glen Shiel’s breakthrough success at the highest level at Ascot.

Having gone close in the Haydock Sprint Cup, Archie Watson’s charge was surprisingly overlooked in the betting under Hollie Doyle on Saturday.

However, Doyle was on the crest of a wave after winning the opening race on Champions Day on Trueshan – and she took the early initiative before holding off the late lunge of Kevin Ryan’s Brando by the narrowest of margins in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.

“Saturday was a massive moment for us,” said Hambleton’s Simon Turner.

“Our blueprint has always been to buy in the more affordable area of the market with top trainers, and try and compete at the highest level possible.

“At £45,000, Glen would be one of our more expensive purchases – but he seemed ridiculous value at that level. He’s been a revelation since dropped back to sprinting, and has been superbly handled by Archie Watson, who is destined for the very top of his profession in my opinion.

“Archie’s numbers are simply superb. Some have him pigeon-holed as two-year-old trainer, but there are countless examples of Archie achieving superb results with cast-offs from other yards too, many of them cheaply acquired.

“On a personal level, to win a race at the highest level with Hambleton Racing makes me very proud. We owe much of our success to Kevin Ryan, who has always looked after us exceptionally well and has provided us with any number of good horses along the way.

“I regard Kevin as a good friend, and it was no surprise he was the first on the phone on Saturday to congratulate me, despite the fact he’d just missed out with Brando. That’s the mark of the guy – he’s not just a just an outstanding trainer, but a true sportsman too.”

There are many different business models that syndicates adopt, with some offering shares for as little as £50, but Hambleton Racing hope theirs is one of the more robust on the market – with the loyalty shown by members as living proof.

Turner said: “Owning with us isn’t cheap – typically an owner will spend between £2-4,000 on their share and another £3,000 on the annual costs.

“We’d be among the more expensive syndicates but operate with some old-fashioned values. We certainly don’t penalise owners when their horses do well, so won’t be taking a penny of the £275,000 that Glen Shiel has won for his owners this year.

“We’re very proud of the fact many owners have been with us for over 10 years, which must mean we’re doing something right.

“I don’t think we’ll suddenly change our approach and start spending twice as much at the sales now. We’ll continue to seek out the best value we can at the sales. Thankfully, there seems to be a lot of value around at the moment.”

While most of the publicity around Glen Shiel’s win concerned Doyle, given it was her first Group One win, the same also applied to Watson – who was understandably delighted.

“I’m so proud of Glen Shiel, Hollie, and the whole team after the Champions Sprint,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“Hollie gave him a fantastic ride, and he was so tough. He hasn’t stopped improving all year, and to win a Group One is unbelievable.

“I am so pleased for Hambleton Racing, who are such huge supporters of ours, and for all his owners.

“Huge credit must go to Tom Biggs, who bought Glen Shiel for just £45,000 as a five-year-old horse in training last year.”