Spotlight on the 2015 Champions Series Milers
30 Apr 2015
Timeform's Jamie Lynch analyses the leading milers to look out for in the 2015 QIPCO British Champions Series.
Night of Thunder gteting up late to win last year’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Image courtesy of Racingfotos.com.
The bar is set high – very high – for this season’s milers, with the unparalleled Frankel still fresh in the memory and Kingman strutting his sensational stuff only last year. But every high has a low, and this looks to be the age of a big low: Solow. He hasn’t so much burst as ambled onto the scene, the long way around, via Dubai, but the latest step on his irresistable climb suggests Solow could take Europe by storm.
Solow is more functional than flashy, but Freddie Head has compared him favourably to Goldikova, and intends to trace her hoofprints all the way to Royal Ascot for the Queen Anne Stakes. Pair him up with Karakontie, the Breeders’ Cup winner whose world tour is due to encompass Britain, and it looks as if the French have got a stranglehold on the mile series.
Richard Hannon might have something to say about that, however. It was only a different French headliner – the now-retired Charm Spirit – that prevented the Hannon team landing yet another prestigious mile prize in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day last October, as 2000 Guineas hero Night of Thunder – the only horse to beat Kingman – and Toormore finished second and third, but both are back for more in 2015.
As ever in determining the title of champion miler, much will depend on the strength of the three-year-olds, who have their own mini-series – incorporating the Guineas and the St James’s Palace Stakes – in the first half of the season. Most eyes are on Gleneagles, who seems to be at the top of the Aidan O’Brien pecking order for this division, though the Ballydoyle battalion is such that others can (and often do) emerge as top-notchers, Highland Reel for one looking in that bracket.
Finally, from further afield, there are a couple of global superstars that are set to grace the British stage, making the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot almost a World Cup final. The pair in question are California Chrome, the all-action American hero, and the Far Eastern machine that is Able Friend.
British Champions Series by name, but international competition in nature, which is the beauty of the pulling power of our racing nation and what will potentially put the class in classification of the milers.