QIPCO British Champions Day 2021 preview

Features | 14th October 2021

Ascot is all set to welcome a galaxy of Flat racing’s stars for QIPCO British Champions Day.

In the ten year’s since the glittering card was created it has become the ultimate raceday. Britain’s most valuable raceday features four superb Group 1 races, a Group 2 contest won, in the past, by some of the great stayers and the ultra‐competitive Balmoral Handicap.

The race to be Champion Flat Jockey will also reach its climax with Oisin Murphy out to hold on to his title as William Buick throws down a strong challenge. The Flat season finale is a celebration of world‐class racing and it is complimented by some fantastic entertainment.

Visitors will be able to meet top jockeys, learn what it’s like to ride in a race in the Jockey School, discover who has been inducted into the British Champions Series Hall Of Fame and sample superb food and drink in the bars and restaurants.

The after‐party will feature two top DJs so there really is something for everyone on British Champions Day.

The Racing

QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup

Race time: 1:25pm

The first race on the card is shaping up to be cracking possible re‐match between last year’s winner Trueshan and 2018 hero Stradivarius.

The pair met in the Prix du Cadran at Longchamp two weeks ago when the testing ground helped Trueshan defeat three‐times Gold Cup winner Stradivarius.

Conditions are likely to suit John and Thady Gosden’s star better this weekend so it looks a mouth‐watering rematch between the world’s top two stayers.

September Stakes winner Hamish and the Ascot Gold Cup runner-up Princess Zoe are among declarations which make this a cracking start to Britain’s most valuable raceday.

Trueshan and Stradivarius Champions Day 2021
Trueshan (left), Stradivarius (right)

QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes

Race time: 2:00pm

Hollie Doyle memorably rode her first Group 1 winner when Glen Shiel won last year’s British Champions Sprint. The pair are likely to team up to defend their crown in the six‐furlong dash down the Ascot straight.

There is sure to be plenty of opposition with impressive Curragh scorer Art Power, July Cup runner‐up Dragon Symbol and Jersey Stakes hero Creative Force all set to be in action Saturday.

QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes

Race time: 2:35pm

Record-breaking Cazoo Oaks winner Snowfall returns to race against her own sex aiming to sign off her season in Europe with a fourth Group 1 win of the year.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien is hoping to train back-to-back winners in the race having won last year’s Fillies & Mares with Magical. 

O’Brien also saddles La Joconde who only  came half a length behind Snowfall in the Prix Vermeille at Longchanmp a month ago. Yorkshire Oaks runner‐up Albaflora looks to be the main rival for the O’Brien pair.

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO)

Race time: 3:10pm

Frankie Dettori will team up with champion miler Palace Pier when attempting to win this division‐defining contest for the seventh time. He famously rode Mark Of Esteem to glory in this race 25 years ago on the day he rode all seven winners on the card.

Palace Pier has already carried Frankie to five Group 1 victories. They’ve twice won the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot but they could only manage third behind The Revenant in this race 12 months ago.

French raider The Revenant is likely to return to defend his crown after narrowly losing out to Real World in the Group 2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein at Longchamp two weeks ago.

Exciting three‐year‐old Baaeed, unbeaten in five races, will pose a big threat to the older horses as he attempts to follow up last month’s French Group 1 success.

Sussex Stakes heroine Alcohol Free, 1000 Guineas winner Mother Earth and Nassau Stakes victor Lady Bowthorpe ensure there are three top‐class fillies among the declarations.

QIPCO Champion Stakes

Race time: 3:50pm

Britain’s two highest‐rated horses could clash in this historic Group 1 prize. Juddmonte International winner Mishriff and Derby hero Adayar share top spot in the official rankings, setting up the prospect of a superb battle for this historic contest.

Mishriff was only eighth behind Addeybb in last year’s Champion Stakes but he’s since landed the Saudi Cup, the world’s most valuable race, and the Group 1 International Stakes. Godolphin’s Derby winner Adayar was fourth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp two weeks ago.

He had previously beaten Mishriff in Ascot’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QICO Stakes but the drop to 1m2f promises to level the playing field between the pair.

Soft‐ground loving Addeybb returns to defend the trophy. Tom Marquand will bid for a 5th Group 1 win on Addeybb.

Champion Stakes 2021 contenders
Mishriff (left), Adayar (top right), Addeybb (bottom right)

Balmoral Handicap (sponsored by QIPCO)

Race time: 4:30pm

British Champions Day will close with the big‐field mile handicap. It has been used as a stepping stone to some top‐class races in recent years. Lord Glitters was successful in 2017 and, two years later, he returned to Ascot to win the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal meeting.

It’s shaping up to be a strong field this year. John and Thady Gosden appear to have a strong hand with smart prospects Sunray Major and King Leondas. William Haggas’ smart three‐year‐old Adaary and Newbury Spring Cup winner Nugget are also among the entries.

Champions crowned

The battle to be Champion Flat Jockey has become an incredibly close affair and looks like it will go down to the wire with William Buick, attempting to win his first title, putting in a strong challenge to reigning champ Oisin Murphy.

William fired has ridden 11 winners in the last week including a treble on the weekend with star two‐year‐olds Coroebus and Native Trail at Newmarket last Saturday. Buick has continued his fine form this week with five winners in the last two days to cut the gap to two winners.

Flat Jockeys' Championships 2021

Buick has enjoyed a sensational season. Adayar’s victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QICO Stakes was a highlight, while Hurricane Lane gave Godolphin’s number one jockey Group 1 wins in the Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and the St Leger.

Oisin Murphy has been crowned Champion Flat Jockey on QIPCO British Champions Day in each of the last two years. He is in pole position to claim a hat‐trick of titles although his lead has been cut because of William Buick’s fantastic form.

Oisin is likely to team up with the filly responsible for his biggest wins this season. Alcohol Free carried Oisin to victory in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and Goodwood’s Sussex Stakes – both Group 1 prizes.

If he holds on to his lead he will join the likes of Richard Hughes, Silvestre de Sousa, Ryan Moore, Frankie Dettori and Steve Cauthen as a three‐time champion jockey.

Marco Ghiani will be presented with the Champion Apprentice Jockey trophy having racing into an unassailable lead following a super season.

Raceday activities

There is some fantastic entertainment laid on to dovetail with the superb racing on QIPCO British Champions Day.

There will be a jockey masterclass with Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand on the Bandstand Lawn at 11.30am. The top riders will also be among the jockeys signing autographs and chatting to racegoers in the same location.

The QIPCO British Champions Series Hall Of Fame Exhibition will be open all day where racing fans can find out all about some of the greats of the sport. Frankel, Vincent O’Brien and Lester Piggott are among those who have already been inducted into the Hall Of Fame.

The new Hall Of Fame bar to compliment the exhibition will be offering cocktails, draught beer and game burgers to satisfy the biggest of appetites.

Top DJs Craig Charles and Roman Kemp will make sure the party continues long after the champions have been crown at the after party. Many celebrities and Olympic medal winners are expected to be at Ascot in what is sure to be the ultimate raceday experience in celebration of the finale of the 2021 Flat season.