QIPCO British Champions Day guide | News ,features, previews, tips, racecards and betting odds ahead of Ascot

Harry Angel (centre) can get his revenge on Caravaggio
Harry Angel (centre) can get his revenge on Caravaggio

Get all the latest news, features, previews, tips and information ahead of QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday October 21.

The stars of the Flat racing season come together at Ascot on Saturday for the eagerly-anticipated British Champions Day.

Here's all you need including a race-by-race programme, Sky Bet odds and offers, our exclusive and free betting tips, features and latest news...

Champions Day: Free Betting Tips

  • Ben Linfoot's Value Bet
    Our flagship racing tipster previews the high-class action at Ascot - find out what he fancies.
  • Catching Pigeons: Heaven sent
    Our gallops guru reckons Harry Angel will prove a class apart at Ascot, while there's a tip for France on Sunday and a Wolverhampton runner to note.
  • Man On The Spot: Pick 7
    Man On The Spot previews the Sporting Life Pick 7 races on Saturday, featuring all of British Champions Day at Ascot and a race from Catterick.
  • Simon Holt: Escape Plan
    Racing commentator Simon Holt is backing The Grape Escape to win the final race on Champions Day, while he also has a confident selection for the QEII.
  • Mike Cattermole: Having a word
    Top broadcaster Mike Cattermole previews QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday and he fancies Poet's Word to land the Champion Stakes.
  • Oli Bell: Beat the banker
    ITV Racing's Oli Bell marks your card for QIPCO British Champions Day and he's very sweet on the chances of Beat The Bank in the QEII.
  • Matt Brocklebank: Antepost Angle
    Matt Brocklebank picks out the value at Ascot on QIPCO Champions Day in his latest Antepost Angle column, including an outsider in the QEII.

Champions Day: Our features

  • Richard Fahey: All aboard the QEII
    "If this doesn't rock my boat then nothing will" - It's fair to say our star columnist Richard Fahey is looking forward to Champions Day. Check out his latest column.
  • Fran Berry: My Cup runneth over
    The popular jockey has a ride on Champions Day and he's got some interesting opinions on the top races.
  • Champions Day: Six of the best
    Ben Linfoot looks back at six of the most memorable moments of QIPCO British Champions day since its inception in 2011 ahead of Saturday's stellar card at Ascot.
  • Champions Day: Talking points
    Ben Linfoot looks ahead to QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday and wonders whether Cracksman has the speed for the Champion Stakes, among other talking points.
  • Ed Chamberlin: Barney rumble
    Ed Chamberlin previews QIPCO Champions Day and is backing Barney Roy to enjoy another moment in the sun at Ascot.
  • Alex Hammond: Roy can reign
    Find out who Sky Sports News HQ presenter Alex Hammond is tipping at Ascot on Saturday.

Champions Day Race Programme

1.25 - QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2) (Class 1)

  • Click here for full racecard & free video form
  • Click here for Sky Bet's odds & offers
  • Established in 1873 as the Jockey Club Cup, this race was run at Newmarket until 2011, when it was moved to Ascot and renamed the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup. With two demanding miles (3,200 metres) of Ascot’s famous turf to negotiate, it provides a thorough test of stamina for Flat racing’s top stayers as they contest the final major long-distance race of the British season. The seven races in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance category vary in distance from the extended mile and six furlongs (2,920 metres) of Doncaster’s St Leger to the two and a half miles (4,000 metres) of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. The intermediate two-mile trip of the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup therefore provides the perfect distance for the category finale.

2.00 - QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1) (Class 1)

  • Click here for full racecard & free video form
  • Click here for Sky Bet's odds & offers
  • In 2015, the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes was upgraded from Group 2 to Group 1 status and, in response to its enhanced prestige, the race’s value was boosted from £350,000 to £600,000 establishing it as Europe’s joint-most valuable sprint. This six-furlong (1,200 metres) contest provides the grand finale to the seven-race QIPCO British Champions Sprint division. There are three Series races run over five furlongs (1,000 metres) and four, including today’s contest, over six furlongs. Many sprinters tend to specialise over one of these distances, but the true greats have the versatility to excel over both trips. The QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes has evolved from the Diadem Stakes, which was first run at Ascot in 1946. The first running under its current name was won by Deacon Blues, trained in Newmarket by James Fanshawe, in 2011.

2.40 - QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1) (Class 1)

  • Click here for full racecard & free video form
  • Click here for Sky Bet's odds & offers
  • The genealogy of the QIPCO British Champions Fillies’ And Mares’ Stakes dates back to 1946, when Ascot staged the Princess Royal Stakes for the first time. In 2008 it was renamed the Pride Stakes and moved to Newmarket, but it returned to Ascot under its current name in 2011. The new race was given a boost in its very first year as it was won by none other than the Investec Oaks and Preis der Diana (German Oaks) winner, Dancing Rain, a dual Classic heroine having her final European start. Simple Verse was the second Classic winner to claim the spoils in its short recent history when successful in 2015. The race was awarded Group 1 status in 2013 and now boasts prize money of £600,000, the latest increase of £50,000 making it Britain’s joint-most valuable fillies-only race.

3.15 - Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1) (Sponsored By QIPCO) (Class 1)

  • Click here for full racecard & free video form
  • Click here for Sky Bet's odds & offers
  • Long recognised as Europe’s mile championship, 1,600 metre races come no bigger than this anywhere on the international stage. Carrying a cool £1.1 million in prizemoney, the race has entered a different stratosphere in financial terms, boosted from £250,000 in 2010 when it was run at Ascot’s late September meeting. It is now by far the richest mile race in Europe and one of the most valuable anywhere in the world. Named in honour of The Queen in 1955, the race has a roll of honour packed full of stars, including Brigadier Gerard (1971 & 1972), Known Fact (1980), Dubai Millennium (1999) and the awesome Frankel, who took the contest in 2011 in effortless fashion. The race also holds special memories for Frankie Dettori. It provided him with his first-ever Group 1 victory thanks to Markofdistinction in 1990 and six years later Mark Of Esteem was the third leg of his ‘Magnificent Seven’ when he won all seven races on that famous (or infamous if you were a bookmaker) Ascot card.

3.50 - QIPCO Champion Stakes (Group 1) (Class 1)

  • Click here for full racecard & free video form
  • Click here for Sky Bet's odds & offers
  • With £1.3 million in prize money, the QIPCO Champion Stakes over 1 mile 2 furlongs (2,000 metres) is the most valuable ten-furlong race in Europe. Following on from iconic races like the Investec Derby and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes sponsored by QIPCO, this is the final, pulsating showdown in the British Champions Series Middle Distance division. The race brought a great heritage with it from Newmarket, where it had been run from its inception in 1877 until 2010. But the dramatic injection in prize money that accompanied its move to become the glittering highlight of the new QIPCO British Champions Day has changed its status completely. Each of the six renewals in the race’s new surroundings have produced top-quality fields and thrilling finishes. The first set the bar high, with French raider Cirrus Des Aigles getting the better of Aussie superstar So You Think with two champion mares, Snow Fairy and Midday, further behind. For quality and drama few races could ever match the 2012 running, when Frankel completed his career unbeaten despite unsuitable ground and a very slow start from the stalls. 2013 saw Farhh prevail in a three-way battle, while in 2014 we were treated to a spine-tingling duel between Al Kazeem and Noble Mission, who ultimately came out on top for Lady Cecil. In 2015, QIPCO British Champions Day dream team Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen (who have each enjoyed four winners on the day over the past six years) pounced late to land the spoils with Fascinating Rock. And then last year Almanzor capped a fine season with another brilliant victory.

4.30 - Balmoral Handicap (Sponsored By QIPCO) (Str) (Class 2)

  • Click here for full racecard & free video form
  • Click here for Sky Bet's odds & offers
  • Named after the castle in Scotland that has belonged to the British Royal Family since it was purchased by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria, in 1852, the Balmoral Handicap was inaugurated in 2014. A race known as the Balmoral Handicap had previously been staged over five furlongs at the Royal Meeting, discontinued in 2004 in favour of the new Windsor Forest Stakes for fillies and mares. The Ascot Executive always intended to bring the name back when the appropriate opportunity arose, and Her Majesty The Queen graciously consented to it being re-introduced on QIPCO British Champions Day. The new Balmoral Handicap Sponsored by QIPCO, with its £250,000 race value, is the richest one-mile (1,600 metre) handicap in Europe. In its inaugural running, the race could not have had a more popular winner than Marcus Tregoning’s Bronze Angel, who had built up a legion of fans via his two triumphs, in 2012 and 2014, in another of Britain’s most prestigious handicaps, the Betfred Cambridgeshire. His victory also showcased an exciting new riding talent in the shape of 20-year-old Louis Steward. In 2015, although open to all jockeys, it was another apprentice who stole the show when 17-year-old Eddy Greatrex scored aboard Musaddas for Godolphin. A more established name, Andrea Atzeni, guided Yuften to success in last year's renewal.

Champions Day: Latest News

  • Champions Day declarations: 10 set for Champion
    Ulysses was a surprise omission as 10 horses were declared in the final field for Saturday's QIPCO British Champion Stakes.
  • Brametot primed for big run
    Everything is in place for Brametot to run a good race in the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, according to his connections.
  • Regular outside Flat track to be used
    Ascot's regular Flat-racing track will be used on QIPCO Champions Day, clerk of the course Chris Stickels said in a statement.
  • Dettori excited by Cracksman
    Frankie Dettori has no qualms about Cracksman dropping back in trip for the QIPCO Champion Stakes as he looks forward to a stellar book of rides at Ascot on Saturday.
  • O'Brien to be crowned at Ascot
    Aidan O’Brien will officially be crowned British Champion Trainer 2017 at QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.
  • Ascot rain plea for 4/1 Bateel
    Francis Graffard would like to see some rain ahead of Bateel's bid for glory in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
  • Stars align for Champion clash
    Ulysses is one of several superstar names in what promises to be a scintillating QIPCO Champion Stakes, which is Europe’s most valuable mile and a quarter race and worth £1.3 million.
  • Angel primed for Sprint to savour
    Harry Angel, superb winner of the Darley July Cup and 32Red Sprint Cup, heads a stellar entry of 14 in the mix for the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes.
  • Weld plans Champions Day raid
    Dermot Weld plans to run fellow Aga Khan filly Eziyra on Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.
  • Champions Day Audio
    All our latest interviews ahead of Champions Day, including Frankie Dettori

Group 1 winners entered for British Champions Day

(Number of Group 1 wins they have achieved in brackets plus the races they have won - this year unless stated)

The QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup (£450,000)

  • Big Orange (1) Gold Cup
  • Order Of St George (3) Gold Cup (2016), Irish St Leger (2015 and 2017)
  • Sheikhzayedroad (1) Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (2014)
  • Seventh Heaven (2): Irish Oaks (2016), Yorkshire Oaks (2016)
  • Stradivarius (1): Goodwood Cup

The QIPCO British Champions Sprint (£600,000)

  • Brando (1) Prix Maurice de Gheest
  • The Tin Man (2) Diamond Jubilee Stakes, British Champions Sprint (2017)
  • Caravaggio (2) Commonwealth Cup, Phoenix Stakes (2016)
  • Harry Angel (2) July Cup, Sprint Cup
  • Quiet Reflection (2) Commonwealth Cup (2016), Sprint Cup (2016)

The QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (£600,000)

  • Bateel (1) Prix Vermeille
  • Journey (1) British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes
  • Left Hand (1) Prix Vermeille (2016)
  • Seventh Heaven (2): Irish Oaks (2016), Yorkshire Oaks (2016)
  • Smart Call (3) J&B Met (2016), Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes (2016),Woolavington 2000 (2015)
  • Hydrangea (1) Matron Stakes
  • Rhododendron (2) Prix de l’Opera, Fillies Mile (2016)

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) (£1.1 million)

  • Here Comes When (1) Sussex Stakes
  • Ribchester (4) Lockinge Stakes, Queen Anne Stakes, Prix du Moulin, Jacques Le Marois (2016)
  • Al Wukair (1) Jacques Le Marois
  • Barney Roy (1) St James’s Palace Stakes
  • Churchill (4) 2000 Guineas, Irish 2000 Guineas, National Stakes (2016), Dewhurst (2016)
  • Thunder Snow (2) Prix Jean Prat, Criterium International (2016)
  • Roly Poly (3) Falmouth, Prix Rothschild, Sun Chariot Stakes

QIPCO Champion Stakes (£1.3 million)

  • Highland Reel (6) Coronation Cup, Prince of Wales’s Stakes, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2016), Breeders’ Cup Turf (2016), Secretariat Stakes (2015), Breeders’ Cup Turf (2015)
  • Ulysses (2) Coral-Eclipse, Juddmonte International
  • Barney Roy (1) St James’s Palace Stakes
  • Brametot (2) Poule d'Essai des Poulains, Prix du Jockey Club
  • Churchill (4) 2000 Guineas, Irish 2000 Guineas, National Stakes (2016), Dewhurst (2016)
  • Hydrangea (1) Matron Stakes
  • Rhododendron (2) Prix de l’Opera, Fillies Mile (2016)

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Ben Linfoot seeks out the value in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and he's taking two against the field in the big Cheltenham handicap including one for Nicky Henderson.

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Matt Brocklebank is doing a War cry ahead of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham - don't miss the latest Nap selection.

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