QIPCO Champion Stakes
|Group 1, Ascot 15:50
1m 1f 212y, Class 1
|Saturday 19th October 2019|
43 entered for the £1.3m QIPCO Champion Stakes, including CRYSTAL OCEAN 💎🌊 and ANTHONY VAN DYCKhttps://t.co/baOoLExioj— Champions Series (@ChampionsSeries) August 7, 2019
The horses entered for the feature race of the day have accumulated no fewer than 32 Group 1 victories between them and ten European Classics. Some of the stand out names include Crystal Ocean, and last week’s Goodwood heroine Deirdre who could become the first Japanese runner to compete on Britain’s showcase day.
They will have to overcome the challengers from John Gosden’s stable who will be going for a third straight win in the QIPCO Champion Stakes having trained Cracksman to a stunning wide-margin victory in the £1.3million contest in each of the last two years. Gosden has long-since earmarked King Of Comedy as a likely contender in his hat-trick attempt and the improving three year old son of Kingman did not disappoint when going down by just a neck to Circus Maximus in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Gosden said, “I said after the St James’s Palace Stakes that the QIPCO Champion Stakes would be an obvious target. I think it will be right up his alley.
“We’ve freshened him up and given him a break since Ascot. He was on the go fairly early in the spring.
“I think in the end his best trip is going to be a mile and a quarter and he likes Ascot. He’ll be suited by the trip and the track in the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
“He’s going to run in the Juddmonte International and he wouldn’t necessarily go straight to Ascot as he’s been entered in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes as well. He’s going the right way and we’ve always thought enough of him.”
Gosden has also entered superstar mare Enable. She got the better of another QIPCO Champion Stakes entry, Crystal Ocean, in a thrilling finish to last month’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes. That was her ninth top-level victory and leaves her just one short of Frankel’s perfect 10 Group 1 wins.
It’s incredible that the uber-tough and consistent Crystal Ocean, top of the most recent Longines world’s best racehorse rankings with a rating of 127, has just a single Group 1 win to his name. He was runner-up in last year’s QIPCO Champion Stakes and has also been second in three other QIPCO British Champions Series races.
His finest hour came at Royal Ascot when he landed the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes over the same course and distance as the QIPCO Champion Stakes before going down by a neck in an epic battle with Enable in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes last month.
Enable’s owner Prince Khalid Abdullah has another possible QIPCO Champion Stakes contender in Headman, trained by Roger Charlton.
Lord Grimthorpe, Prince Abdullah’s racing manager, said: “Headman is going to run in Deauville so we’ll see how he goes from there but he certainly could be one for the QIPCO Champion Stakes.”
Circus Maximus is likely to return to longer distances after finishing half-a-length second behind Too Darn Hot in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on July 31. He had previously finished sixth in the Investec Derby and he is joined among the QIPCO Champion Stakes entries by Sir Dragonet, also trained by Aidan O’Brien, who was fifth in the Epsom Classic.
O’Brien said: “I was delighted with Circus Maximus in the Qatar Sussex Stakes. There are a lot of things open to him as he is a relaxed horse. He is so relaxed at home he just takes everything in his stride. It looks like it could be back up to a mile and a quarter next time.”
The Ballydoyle master has, predictably, made a stack of other entries for the £1.3 million contest, including a whole host of previous Group 1 winners. Investec Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck, QIPCO 2000 and 1000 Guineas winners Magna Grecia and Hermosa, as well as Fleeting, I Can Fly, Japan, Magic Wand and Sovereign are all entered.
A step up in distance is being considered for the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Phoenix Of Spain who has entries in both the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) and the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
Trainer Charlie Hills said: “We’re scratching our heads a little bit with Phoenix Of Spain as he seems fine after the Goodwood race. We need to try to find out what went wrong.
“He’s in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the QIPCO Champion Stakes. We’ve been thinking about going up to a mile and a quarter for a while. There’s a fair bit of stamina in his pedigree but there’s a fair bit of speed in there as well.
“QIPCO British Champions Day is high up our list of priorities. These are the races you need to be in.”
Elarqam booked his ticket to top-class races when beating Addeybb impressively to win the Group 2 York Stakes last month. The QIPCO Champion Stakes is on his radar and he is likely to be put to the test in Group 1s before Ascot. His trainer, Mark Johnston, is confident he is up to the task.
He said: “I was absolutely delighted with Elarqam at York. The QIPCO Champion Stakes is a possible but it is one of many possibles. Any mile and a quarter Group 1s between now and the end of the season are under consideration and that includes the QIPCO Champion Stakes. We think he’s got the class for Group 1s, of course we do.”
The QIPCO Champion Stakes could have a very international feel to it this year as Japanese mare Deirdre, surprise winner of last week’s Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, has been given an entry. She is also in the QIPCO British Champion Fillies & Mares Stakes and would be the first horse from Japan to compete on the day.
Globetrotting Godolphin star Benbatl may also make an appearance, who was runner-up behind Australian legend Winx in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in November on his last start.
Other Group 1 stars who could potentially line up include Old Persian, who also sits in the top 10 of the world rankings following his performance in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, as well as European Classic winners Sottsass and Study of Man. With You, winner of the Prix Rothschild last year for Freddy Head, is also entered.
Qipco Champion Stakes
(British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1)
£1,300,000 added, 3yo plus, 1m 1f 212y, Class 1
1 03-412 Addeybb 5 9-5 William Haggas
2 01512- Benbatl 5 9-5 Saeed bin Suroor
3 2-1112 Crystal Ocean 5 9-5 Sir Michael Stoute
4 -41311 Elarqam 4 9-5 Mark Johnston
5 1/1-13 Ghaiyyath 4 9-5 Charlie Appleby
6 344465 Hunting Horn 4 9-5 A P O'Brien
7 15-117 Old Persian 4 9-5 Charlie Appleby
8 3-3134 Regal Reality 4 9-5 Sir Michael Stoute
9 59-223 Study Of Man 4 9-5 P Bary
10 322-41 Coronet 5 9-2 John Gosden
11 -64661 Deirdre 5 9-2 Mitsuru Hashida
12 111-11 Enable 5 9-2 John Gosden
13 062333 I Can Fly 4 9-2 A P O'Brien
14 -11122 Magical 4 9-2 A P O'Brien
15 253220 Magic Wand 4 9-2 A P O'Brien
16 134-82 With You 4 9-2 F Head
17 114-15 Worth Waiting 4 9-2 David Lanigan
18 9-1120 Anthony Van Dyck 3 9-1 A P O'Brien
19 211 Away He Goes 3 9-1 Ismail Mohammed
20 -14083 Cape Of Good Hope 3 9-1 A P O'Brien
21 4-1612 Circus Maximus 3 9-1 A P O'Brien
22 1-1 Dubai Warrior 3 9-1 John Gosden
23 1321 Fox Chairman 3 9-1 Andrew Balding
24 12-611 Headman 3 9-1 Roger Charlton
25 1-4311 Japan 3 9-1 A P O'Brien
26 12-112 King Of Comedy 3 9-1 John Gosden
27 1-2424 Madhmoon 3 9-1 Kevin Prendergast
28 121-15 Magna Grecia 3 9-1 A P O'Brien
29 -28937 Norway 3 9-1 A P O'Brien
30 22-166 Phoenix Of Spain 3 9-1 Charles Hills
31 41162 Pondus 3 9-1 James Fanshawe
32 135- Prince Eiji 3 9-1 Roger Varian
33 2-110 Raise You 3 9-1 Andrew Balding
34 3125 Roseman 3 9-1 Roger Varian
35 11- Royal Meeting 3 9-1 Saeed bin Suroor
36 8111-3 San Donato 3 9-1 Roger Varian
37 1-1125 Shaman 3 9-1 C Laffon-Parias
38 41-511 Sottsass 3 9-1 J-C Rouget
39 3-2301 Sovereign 3 9-1 A P O'Brien
40 11 UAE Jewel 3 9-1 Roger Varian
41 1-0322 Fleeting 3 8-12 A P O'Brien
42 2-1129 Hermosa 3 8-12 A P O'Brien
43 -11712 Mehdaayih 3 8-12 John Gosden