Spotlight on the 2015 Champions Series Long Distance stars
26 Apr 2015
Timeform's Jamie Lynch analyses the Long Distance stars to look out for in the 2015 QIPCO British Champions Series.
Who knew that long-distance relationships work best for long-term relationships? At least that’s true of the staying division, where endurance makes the heart grow fonder, and the racing public can build up a rapport with the series stars that come back year after year.
There’s a revolutionary whiff of change in the air this time around, though, in that Estimate and Leading Light, who have between them let off the long-distance fireworks at the last two Royal Ascots, are both now enjoying retirement, clearing a path in theory, but in truth the new kid on the staying block has already announced himself.
In the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day last October, Leading Light and Estimate were knocked aside – both figuratively and literally – by Forgotten Rules, in what felt at the time like a changing of the guard ceremony. Ascot was only the third race of his life, and Forgotten Rules has the potential to dominate the staying scene in 2015, perhaps beyond.
Dermot Weld isn’t only relying on Forgotten Rules, as he also has Pale Mimosa, who won a series leg last year on her only trip to Britain, to York for the Lonsdale Stakes, while Cheltenham Festival winner Windsor Park would be fascinating contender if pointed back to the Flat.
The older guard will still be well represented, chiefly by Brown Panther who, aged seven, looked better than ever as he ran away with a Group 1 in Dubai in March, and he’s the gift that keeps on giving for series ambassador Michael Owen. And then there’s eight-year-old Tac de Boistron, who goes where the softer ground takes him but is as good as any when getting his conditions.
At the other end of the age spectrum, those hoping to swim in the deeper end include Romsdal and Snow Sky, St Leger graduates both, having finished second and third at Doncaster.