WATCH: The Top 5 Champions Day Performances
The best thoroughbreds from around the world will compete for a record-breaking £4.3 million total prize money at QIPCO British Champions Day on Saturday. The competition is as competitive as ever in 2017, and we’re sure to see high drama throughout Saturday at Ascot.
Last year saw French flying bolt Almanzor cement himself as an equine superstar in the Champion Stakes and wonder filly Minding beat the best of the boys in the Queen Elizabeth II stakes. This year the likes of Harry Angel, Ribchester and Cracksman have their chance to etch their name in history. We’ve taken a look at the most memorable performances in Champions Day history.
Frankel – 2011 Queen Elizabeth II
Frankel extended his spectacular run to nine wins in-a-row and fifth Group One as a three-year old with total ease as he took up the running from the pacemaker Bullet Train in the final furlong to win by four lengths.
Jockey Tom Queally knew just how freakishly good Frankel was even then, “He’s a horse in a lifetime, he’s more professional with age, the real deal. I let him go when he allowed me too. I always enjoy winners but this one is extra special.”
Excelebration – 2012 Queen Elizabeth II
After being beaten five times by the mighty Frankel, Excelebration had his moment in the sun when romping home in the 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes to win by three lengths.
Ridden by jockey Joseph O’Brien and trained by father Aidan, the pair capped off an incredible year after winning two British classics together; the 2000 Guineas and the Derby.
Muhaarar – 2015 Champions Sprint
Muhaarar won his fourth straight Group One in a scintillating display, putting the likes of Twlight Son, Danzeno and The Tin Man to the sword.
Muhaarar certainly sealed his place as one of the greats of his generation in his last run, sealing four Group Ones in-a-row is a rare achievement for sprinters, the last to manage the feat was Dayjur in 1990.
FLASHBACK: Will we see a winner as impressive as Muhaarar last year?
— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) October 15, 2016
Almanzor – Champion Stakes 2016
“There is no doubt, he is a Champion!” says commentator Richard Hoiles. It was an unbelievable season for Almanzor who had already won the French Derby and the Irish Champion Stakes in brilliant fashion.
It was a titanic clash between Almanzor and Found (the 2016 Arc winner), however, Alamanzor had the turn of foot in the closing stages that none of the field could live with, and he ended up winning the Champion Stakes by two lengths.
Minding – 2016 Queen Elizabeth II
An incredible seventh Group One at the age of just three in the QEII for the superstar filly. The daughter of the great sire Galileo finished a spectacular 2016 with victory over the boys, beating champions such as Ribchester, Lightning Spear and Galileo Gold.
It is an incredible shame that she picked up an injury which forced connections to call time on her career, the clash with Enable in 2017 would have been massive- alas it wasn’t meant to be!
Who will follow in Minding's hoof prints on #ChampionsDay this year?
— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) September 1, 2017