Approval eyeing Ascot double

  • Last Updated: August 6 2014, 13:05 BST

Last year's winner Seal Of Approval is among 39 entries for the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes at Ascot in October.

Seal of Approval could attempt to reprise last year's victory
Seal of Approval could attempt to reprise last year's victory

James Fanshawe's filly was an impressive winner of the Group One contest in 2013 and although she failed to fire in Haydock's Lancashire Oaks on her most recent appearance, the trainer expects his filly to return to form in the near future.

Fanshawe said: "All season we have been working back from the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes with Seal Of Approval as it is such a fantastic prize to win.

"We were a little disappointed with her at Haydock last time out, but she has really started to come to herself since then and we are hoping to run her in the next two weeks."

Tim Vestey, her owner and breeder, said: "As a small owner/breeder with only two horses in training, to have one of them good enough to run in, let alone win by four lengths was way beyond our dreams.

"Seal Of Approval's amazing triumph that afternoon was so special, a moment that we will treasure for the rest of our lives and it would be wonderful if she was able to try to defend her crown."

The last two Investec Oaks winners Taghrooda and Talent are in contention, while last year's Irish Oaks heroine, Chicquita, is also engaged for Aidan O'Brien.

Other Group One winners include Ambivalent and Just The Judge, as well as John Gosden's Nassau scorer Sultanina and her Lancashire Oaks-winning stablemate Pomology.

Eddie Lynam's multiple Group One-winning sprinters Slade Power and Slade Power are among 61 entries for the QIPCO British Champions Sprint.

The Tom Hogan-trained Gordon Lord Byron is another leading contender for Ireland, while Robert Cowell's Intrinsic looks set to step up in grade after his triumph in last weekend's 32Red Cup at Glorious Goodwood.

Cowell said: "Intrinsic is absolutely fine after Goodwood, he has come out of the race really well and looks wonderful.

"We could run him again quickly or wait until he is fresh, it wouldn't matter with him.

"The QIPCO British Champions Sprint is a strong possibility and I will be having a long chat with his owner, Malih al Basti, probably at the weekend, to map out a course of action for him."

The last two Gold Cup winners who finished first and second in this year's race, Leading Light and Estimate, stand out among 62 entries in the £300,000 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup, which now carries Group Two status.

Royal Diamond, Harris Tweed and Eye of The Storm, who made up the one-two-three in this race last year, are in the mix again, while the first three home in the Goodwood Cup, Cavalryman, Ahzeemah and Brown Panther, also hold entries.

Michael Owen, part-owner of Brown Panther, said: "We'll be contemplating races abroad for him, but British Champions Day has to be a huge option for him.

"He won at Royal Ascot a couple of years ago and ran a brilliant race in the Gold Cup in June, not to mention his good effort in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes when beaten by Danedream.

"He relishes the track and he'd get perfect conditions."

Rite of Passage, who won the Gold Cup in 2010 and claimed this race in 2012, since when he has not raced, is also engaged.

Others to note are Hartnell, Investec Derby third Romsdal, Pale Mimosa and the globetrotting Red Cadeaux, who has been runner-up in the Emirates Melbourne Cup twice.