The much heralded Qipco British Champions Day takes place tomorrow (15th October) at Ascot. There is a terrific card of top class racing, the star of which I am sure will be Frankel (pictured) who runs in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over the straight mile. This race used to be run over the round course but as the Champion Stakes run over 10 furlongs has been moved from Newmarket’s straight Rowley Mile course and can only be run over Ascot’s round course there would be two similar Championship races on the same card. In my humble opinion the Champion Stakes should have remained at Newmarket because now it will be a completely different type of race where both horse and jockey will have to negotiate two bends. The idea of Champions Day is to try and compete with Arc day at Longchamp which is always run on the first Sunday in October and has seven top class races with a lot of prize money on offer. The Arc will always be the race to win. For Champions Day to be successful and compete with the best it would probably stand a better chance if it were brought forward to take place in September and make the Champion Stakes a mile and a half race. It is also amazing that the admission fee to Longchamp on Arc day is only 8 euros which is double the normal fee. British race courses should take note if they want more people to go racing.
Off my soap box and looking at the other races on offer tomorrow, the meeting kicks off with the Long Distance Cup, another race transferred from Newmarket. Times Up might be the one to shake up Opinion Poll and Fame and Glory.
Deacon Blues is a warm favourite for the Sprint Stakes over 6 furlongs but with sixteen runners there might be more value with the French runners Moonlight Cloud and Wizz Kid.
The Fillies and Mares’ Stakes run over one and a half miles could be the start of a treble for jockey Tom Queally and trainer Sir Henry Cecil. Vita Nova ticks all the boxes in this race.
Sir Henry Cecil is double handed in the Champion Stakes with Twice Over and Midday. Twice Over has won the last two runnings of the race but that was at Newmarket. Midday has been extremely consistent. Both horses come into the race fresh whereas Snow Fairy and So You Think only ran two weeks ago in the Arc finishing third and fourth. I hope Midday can get her head in front. She might have most to fear from the three year old colts.
Lets hope there are no hard luck stories and we see some real Champions. Heres to a great days racing.