Four of the world’s top six turf racehorses within touching distance of each other and a winning farewell for Frankel! That is the exciting news ahead of the second running of the QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot this Saturday, which will be shown live on Tellytrack.
World number one, Frankel (rated 140), and world number two, Cirrus des Aigles (130), are joined by the fourth best turf horse in the rankings, Nathaniel (126), and the joint fifth, Excelebration (125).
Purists and racing enthusiasts will agree that only the Japanese Triple Crown winner and Arc runner-up, Orfevre (127), and Black Caviar, tied with Excelebration on 125, are missing from this wonderful show.
Frankel, in what is expected to be the final start of his remarkable unbeaten career, Cirrus des Aigles and Nathaniel are all set to contest Europe’s richest 10-furlong race, the £1.3 million QIPCO Champion Stakes , which could make it one of the highest-rated races this century.
German raider Pastorius has also confirmed and is set to take his chance for trainer Mario Hofer. The three-year-old has won twice at Group One level this year, taking the Deutches Derby over 2400m and the 2000m Grosser Dallmayr-Preis. On his most recent start, the Solder Hollow colt recorded a comfortable Group Three victory over 2000m at Hoppegarten.
A total of eight horses go to post in the QIPCO Champion Stakes and the field includes includes Aidan O’Brien’s progressive performer Declaration Of War and the French-trained filly Ridasiyna, impressive when taking the Group One Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp on October 7. Frankel’s pacemaker Bullet Train and Master Of Hounds complete the possible line up.
Meanwhile Excelebration, the second best miler in the world behind Frankel this year, has his opportunity to win the biggest prize of his career in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO. This is Europe’s most valuable mile race.
Group One winners Cityscape, Elusive Kate and Most Improved also feature among the ten string field for the £1 million contest.
Her Majesty The Queen will be in attendance at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day and is set to have a runner in the race named in her honour with Carlton House.
The four-year-old, who finished third in the 2011 Epsom Derby , has made three appearances so far this season. After making a successful return in the Group Three Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown in May, the son of Street Cry chased home So You Think in the Group One Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. On his latest start, he dropped down in trip to contest the Group Two Summer Mile at Ascot on July 21, when he failed to settle and came home fourth.
The Queen’s racing manager John Warren, reported earlier this week that all was well with their runner. He added: “I wouldn’t think any of the horses would like the ground to be bottomless but I don’t think that we are too concerned about the going. If it really tipped down, then we would discuss it but we are happy with everything at the moment.”
“To have four of the world’s top six turf horses confirmed for Saturday promises something very special indeed for Britain’s richest raceday, especially in the QIPCO Champion Stakes when Frankel looks like facing the toughest assignment of his career as he attempts to retain his unbeaten record,” said Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series Ltd.
“The eyes of the racing world, and indeed the sporting world, will be on Ascot like never before,” he said.
QIPCO British Champions Day kicks off at 14h45 with the £200,000 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup, with the 16 confirmations including last year’s winner Fame And Glory, who also won the 2011 Gold Cup.
Attention switches to speed for the second race, the £250,000 QIPCO British Champions Sprint (15h20) over 1200m. Last year’s runner-up and recent Prix de l’Abbaye victor Wizz Kid could bid to go one better, while course specialist Society Rock, successful in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park last time out, also takes his chances.
A fascinating clash of the generations is on the cards in the £267,505 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (15h55) over 2400m. The 2011 heroine Dancing Rain is set to make her seasonal reappearance in the prestigious contest and looks likely to face another Epsom Oaks winner Was and Great Heavens, successful in the Irish equivalent. The French raiders Jehannedarc and La Pomme d’Amour add further spice to a fascinating contest.
QIPCO British Champions Day concludes with the £50,000 QIPCO Future Stars Apprentice Handicap (17h45) over 1400m, for which an astonishing 82 entries were received!
And local fans should note that our favourite racing channel, Tellytrack (Dstv 239), will be showing it all!
Phumelela Media Executive Ken Rutherford confirmed the exciting racing and said that they would be flighting excellent GBI promotional material in the build-up phase.
“We don’t have a presenter on track but we expect to spend more time previewing Ascot than a normal UK Saturday meeting. I trust that viewers will be mindful of the fact that we rely on the pictures from GBI – hence if they are taking a race from somewhere else prior to Ascot, we cannot cross to the track directly,” he said.