British Champions Day: the dream races in prospect

Order Of St George (Ryan Moore)

Order Of St George: looks the one to beat in the Long Distance Cup

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

 By Stuart Riley 2:58PM 3 AUG 2016 

BRITISH Champions Day, as the name might suggest, was designed to create a season-ending show-stopper, with the king (and queen) of each division established once and for all. Here we look forward to the races in store.

Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup

Last year’s one-two-three, Flying Officer, Clever Cookie and Wicklow Brave have all been entered, as have the first three from the Gold Cup – Order Of St George, Mizzou and Sheikhzayedroad. The lack of French superstar Vazirabad robs the race of a fascinating element, but if the likes of last year’s St Leger or Gold Cup winners – Simple Verse and Trip To Paris – turn up to take on Aidan O’Brien’s new kid on the block then a true champion may be annointed.

Key races: St Leger (Doncaster), Irish St Leger (Curragh), Prix du Cadran (Chantilly)

Star rating: *** (out of five)

Twilight Son (second left) wins from Gold-Fun (fourth right) in a frantic finish

The Sprint could be a rematch of the Diamond Jubilee, with added Group 1 horses

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes

A wonderful renewal with one of the potentially deepest Group 1 fields in British sprinting history. Last year’s superstar winner Muhaarar has been retired, but with Gold-Fun, Kachy, Limato, Magical Memory, Mecca’s Angel, Quiet Reflection, Shalaa, Sole Power, Strath Burn, The Tin Man and Twilight Son among the contenders it is a field packed full of proven performers at the highest level. If even half of them turn up it will take a brilliant performance to win, and there’s every chance most of those mentioned will descend on Ascot.

Key races: Prix Maurice de Gheest (Deauville), Nunthorpe (York), Sprint Cup (Haydock), Prix de l’Abbaye (Chantilly)

Star rating: *****

Minding (Ryan Moore) wins the Nassau Stakes

Minding: could scare off most of the likely opposition

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes

If Minding turns up she will probably scare off most of the opposition. If she doesn’t, Aidan O’Brien also has the wonderfully talented Found, while last year’s winner Simple Verse and John Gosden’s exciting So Mi Dar – who has missed the core of the season with injury – are others who, at their best, could give Minding something to think about.

Key races: Prix Jean Romanet (Deauville), Yorkshire Oaks (York), Prix Vermeille (Chantilly), Prix de l’Opera (Chantilly)

Star rating: **

The Gurkha (

The Gurkha, Galileo Gold and Ribchester could all meet again

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

The miling division has been one of the most hotly contested in recent years and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes may witness a third clash of the Guineas winners with Galileo Gold, who got the better of the first battle, joined by The Gurkha, who won the second, and Awtaad. Fast-finishing Sussex Stakes third and Jersey winner Ribchester could also be back for another crack, while the likes of Belardo, Ervedya and Qemah are other top class milers who have won at Group 1 level.

Key races: Prix Jacques Le Marois (Deauville), Prix du Moulin (Chantilly), Matron Stakes (Leopardstown), Sun Chariot (Newmarket)

Star rating: *****

Fascinating Rock

Fascinating Rock: last year’s winner faces a tough task this time around

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

Qipco Champion Stakes

Tattersalls Gold Cup hero Fascinating Rock could have his work cut out to defend the crown he won last year. Dual Derby hero Harzand, Coral-Eclipse winner Hawkbill, King George winner Highland Reel, the long-time injured Jack Hobbs, wonderfilly Minding and Sussex scorer The Gurkha all bring high-quality form. Last year’s runner-up and subsequent Breeders’ Cup heroine Found, Prince of Wales’s winner My Dream Boat and the well regarded Time Test add depth to the field.

Key races: Juddmonte International (York), Grosser Preis von Baden (Baden-Baden), Irish Champion Stakes (Leopardstown), Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Chantilly)

Star rating: ****

 
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