Champions Day entries revealed
Toronado, Dawn Approach, Al Kazeem, Cirrus des Aigles, Intello, Lethal Force, Estimate and Sky Lantern are amongst an array of stars entered for the five Group races on Britain's richest raceday, QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 19 October.
- Related Content
Top of the bill is the £1.3m QIPCO Champion Stakes (Group 1), Europe's richest ten furlong race, in which Al Kazeem, winner of the Prince of Wales's Stakes and Coral-Eclipse, and Cirrus des Aigles, winner of this race in 2011 and runner-up to Frankel last year, head the older brigade.
A clutch of top class three-year-olds have also been entered including the winners of the English, Irish and French Derbys, Ruler Of The World, Trading Leather and Intello, together with the brilliant Toronado and stable companion Sky Lantern.
Others to take the eye include last year's QIPCO 2000 Guineas and Investec Derby winner, Camelot, the brilliant winner of the JLT Lockinge Stakes this May, Farhh, a pair of highly regarded Sir Michael Stoute three-year-olds in Hillstar and Telescope, and the Aidan O'Brien-trained dark horse Kingsbarns, who was unbeaten at two but has yet to reappear this season.
In the £1m Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO (Group 1), Europe's most valuable mile race, the prospect of a fourth showdown between Dawn Approach and Toronado, which the former leads 2-1, is the big story. Dawn Approach won the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes, while Toronado took his revenge in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes.
Also entered are the winners of the Irish and French 2000 Guineas, Magician and Style Vendome, as well as the winners of the English and French 1000 Guineas, Sky Lantern and Flotilla. The rapidly improving Montiridge is also engaged.
Amongst the older milers, Cityscape and Elusive Kate, second and third to Excelebration in this race last year, stand out along with Farhh, Declaration Of War and South African star Soft Falling Rain.
Nearly all Europe's top three-year-old middle distance fillies and mares have been entered for the £500,000 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1), which is also now the most valuable race of its kind in Europe having doubled in value. It has attracted 15 more entries than last year when it had Group 2 status.
They include the first three home in the Investec Oaks, Talent, Secret Gesture and The Lark, and the first three from the Irish Oaks, Chicquita, Venus De Milo and Just Pretending. Also entered is Penelopa, who beat Secret Gesture in the German Oaks, the improving Hot Snap, Irish 1000 Guineas winner Just The Judge and the highly regarded Alive Alive Oh.
A host of star older fillies and mares have been entered including last year's winner Sapphire, the 2012 Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes winner The Fugue, the in-form Wild Coco, the easy Grosser Preis Von Berlin winner Nymphea, and South Africa's 2012 J&B Met winner, Igugu.
Lethal Force, brilliant winner of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and Darley July Cup, stands out in the £350,000 QIPCO British Champions Sprint (Group 2, no penalties) which has risen in value by £100,000 this year. Also entered is the horse who chased him home in both those races, Society Rock.
The ex-Australian mare that is now with Aidan O'Brien, Sea Siren, and the 1-2-3 from last year's race, Maarek, Hawkeyethenoo and Sirius Prospect, are also engaged.
Others to take the eye include one of the top two-year-olds from last season Reckless Abandon, King's Stand Stakes winner Sole Power and his fast improving stable companion Slade Power, South African star Soft Falling Rain and Jersey Stakes winner Gale Force Ten.
A fantastic entry for the £200,000 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 3, no penalities), 19 up on last year, sees The Queen's Estimate, winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and unbeaten in three starts at the Royal racecourse, entered together with brilliant Artemis Goodwood Cup winner, Brown Panther, part-owned by QIPCO British Champions Series Ambassador, Michael Owen.
Last year's 1-2-3, Rite Of Passage, who won the Gold Cup in 2010, Aiken and Askar Tau are entered together with Colour Vision, the 2012 Gold Cup winner. Simenon, narrowly beaten by Estimate in this year's Gold Cup, and fellow Irish raider Saddler's Rock are also engaged.
Others to note include leading French stayers Gloomy Sunday and Top Trip and last year's Irish St Leger winner Royal Diamond.
Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series Limited, said: "We are absolutely delighted with the entries which numerically are 32 up on last year and contain nearly every top horse in Europe that would be suited to our race line-up.
"The big stories are obviously the potential rematch between Toronado and Dawn Approach in the QE2 which would be a huge draw, Cirrus des Aigles looking to bring his QIPCO Champion Stakes record to 1st-2nd-1st and The Queen's filly Estimate attempting to maintain a 100% record at Ascot.
"The elevation of the Fillies & Mares to Group 1 is a big boost to the day and our obvious aspiration is, over time, to get to five Group 1s, something which the European Pattern Committee has publicly said it supports. Then QIPCO British Champions Day will have achieved one of our major goals.
"The other major goal is to achieve a sell-out every year and so far ticket sales are on a par with 2012 when we sold out well in advance of the day. With Premier tickets, in particular, limited, we urge people to book early to avoid disappointment."