Series stars hoping to limber up for Champions Day in style
8 Sep 2017
Winter, Churchill, Ribchester, Harry Angel and The Tin Man among quality acts running this weekend
Winter will be aiming for a fifth successive win in Group 1 company. Picture: Racingfotos.com
A plethora of QIPCO British Champions Series stars will be in action this weekend – many having what will be their final outing before running on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on October 21. Here is a guide to who is running where and when.
2.25 Haydock – G1 32Red Sprint Cup: Harry Angel, the emphatic Darley July Cup winner, heads 12 runners, with the opposition including The Tin Man and Tasleet, the first two home in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, plus Brando, a Group 1 winner in France last time who has finished third in two Series contests. The quartet are all entered in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes on Champions Day.
5.35 Leopardstown – G1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes: Winter seeks to continue to provide a warm glow for racing fans. She has carried all before this term and won three Series races – the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes and Qatar Nassau Stakes. In addition, she also won the Irish 1000 Guineas. She is 10-11 with most bookmakers to gain a fifth successive Group 1 win but two other Series winners – Roly Poly (this year’s Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes) and Qemah (last year’s Coronation Stakes) stand in her way, not to mention Rhododendron, who was runner-up in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and Investec Oaks.
6.45 Leopardstown – G1 QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes: Churchill, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas winner who has since suffered defeats in the St James’s Palace Stakes (fourth) and Juddmonte International (second), is a general 11-10 to get back to winning ways. Cliffs Of Moher, Eminent, Decorated Knight and The Grey Gatsby, who have all gone close to winning Series races without quite managing the feat, feature among nine rivals.
2.00 Chantilly – G2 Qatar Prix Niel: Cracksman was a gallant third in the Investec Derby before going even closer iun the Irish equivalent – then waltzed home in the Great Voltigeur at York last time. The QIPCO Champion Stakes remains a possibility for the Frankel colt.
2.35 Curragh – G2 Moyglare ”Jewels” Blandford Stakes: The one who jumps off the page is Seventh Heaven, the superb Darley Yorkshire Oaks winner last season who has been off four months since an easy win at Newmarket. Her entries on Champions Day include the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, for which she is a general 5-1.
3.05 Curragh – G2 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes: A drop in class for Caravaggio, who has suffered successive defeats since his win at the main expense of Harry Angel in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. Excuses have been made for those reverses. Will he still be 7-1 for the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes after this weekend?
3.15 Chantilly: G1 Qatar Prix Vermeille: Journey, runaway winner of the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes last year, has been below-par in her two runs this term but it is too early to be writing her off. Blond Me, the Qatar Nassau Stakes runner-up, also travels over to France.
3.55 Chantilly: G1 Qatar Prix du Moulin de Longchamp: Richard Fahey has said he wanted to give Ribchester a rest but this year’s Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes and Queen Anne winner is not interested. Suffered a surprise defeat in the Qatar Sussex Stakes last time but that was a peculiar race on deep ground. Old rival Lightning Spear has another crack at him.
4.50 Curragh – G1 Comer Group International Irish St. Leger: With triple Series winner Big Orange not running, the way looks clear for last year’s Gold Cup winner Order Of St George. He won the Irish St Leger in runaway style two years ago, but suffered a shock reverse in it last year.