Aidan O’Brien lines up leading lights for Champions Day
3 Oct 2017
Winter, Churchill, Order Of St George, Caravaggio and Highland Reel could all form part of trainer's top team at Ascot
Aidan O’Brien is likely to find himself at the cntre of attention on Champions Day. Picture: Racingfotos.com
Aidan O’Brien has outlined plans for some of his leading lights for QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on October 21.
O’Brien has dominated this year’s Champions Series with ten victories and is on course to achieve a world record number of Group 1 wins. He has chalked up 22 and requires three more to match the exploits of the late Bobby Frankel in 2003.
With three more Group One races before Champions Day – the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot at Newmarket on Saturday, Fillies’ Mile and Dewhurst – it is not inconceivable that O’Brien will break Frankel’s record on Champions Day, when he seems sure to be represented in all four Group 1 races on the £4.3 million card.
He intends running Order Of St George in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup, although that £450,000 contest is a Group Two. The 2015 Gold Cup winner, pipped a short head in this year’s renewal, was a fine fourth to Enable in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday.
Caravaggio has been pencilled in for the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes, while Churchill, winner of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, and Winter, winner of the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes and Qatar Nassau Stakes, are also set to be on duty. Highland Reel, winner of this year’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, is among other possibles.
“We’ll chat to [Coolmore’s partners] about Winter, she could go to the Champion Stakes,” O’Brien said. “I’m not sure about the mile and a half, she won’t run over it again this season, I’d have thought.
“Highland Reel has options in the Champion [Stakes] and America. With Churchill we’re favouring him going over a mile at Ascot, but he has the chance of the Champion Stakes too.
“Likely both he and Caravaggio will be retired at the end of the season, but Caravaggio should run in the sprint at Ascot.”
O’Brien, 47, has had 23 runners on Champions Day since its inception in 2011 but has found it tougher than most places to have winners. His three winners have been Fame And Glory (Long Distance Cup in 2011), Excelebration (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in 2012) and Minding (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in 2016).
Tickets are selling fast to racing’s big finale, so be sure to secure your spot now.