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Wednesday, July 13, 2011



30,000 sell-out is first year target; Queen Elizabeth II Stakes to be run on straight mile; comprehensive plan to optimise ground conditions; sectional timing returns to Britain


With entries for the five Group Races on QIPCO British Champions Day, with a value totalling £3 million, set to close on 2 August, plans for the brand new day at Ascot on Saturday 15 October have been announced.



The aim for the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day is a sell-out crowd of 30,000, Ascot’s capacity for an autumn raceday without the provision of substantial temporary facilities.

“We see a sell-out crowd of 30,000, which is around double the number of people that enjoyed the Champion Stakes at Newmarket in 2010, as a very appropriate first year target for what will be by far the richest raceday ever staged in this country,” said Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series.

“Most of our hospitality facilities, including the entire Ascot pavilion which can accommodate over 1,000 people for lunch, have already been sold which is fantastic news and we expect ticket sales to start moving swiftly once our database marketing campaign starts later this month.

“Our message is that if you want to be part of this exciting new event and see some of the stars of the season chasing the £3 million in prize money on QIPCO British Champions Day, then book your tickets in advance because there must be a strong chance that we’ll sell out before the day.”



Tickets are priced at £45 for Premier admission and £26 for Grandstand admission, with a 10% advance booking discount available and greater reductions for group bookings of 10 or more people. Under 18’s will be admitted free. To book tickets, visit www.britishchampionsseries.com / www.ascot.co.uk or call Ascot on 0870 727 1234.




To balance the card with three races on the round course and three on the straight course, so also helping to optimise use of the ground, the £1 million Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO, by far the richest mile race ever run in Europe, will be run on the Straight Mile. In its previous calendar slot at the end of September, the race was run on the round course’s “Old Mile”.


“We consulted extensively on this with trainers and jockeys and whilst a few were keen to see the race stay on the Old Mile, the overwhelming majority favoured switching to the Straight Mile because it is likely to provide better going in mid October,” explained British Champions Series Chief Executive, Rod Street.


“Having three races on the round course and three on the straight track enables Ascot to optimise the use of the ground and it also provides a good balance to the card.”





Although only two of the QIPCO British Champions Day races are officially Group 1 races, all five have Group 1 conditions in that there are no weight penalties to be carried in the two Group 2 races and one Group 3 contest, while all have a Group 1 level of prize money.


Entries for the Group races close on 2 August.


£1,300,000 QIPCO Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1)

                1 mile 2 furlongs, round course

£1,000,000 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO (British Champions Mile) (Group 1)

                1 mile, straight course

£250,000 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 2, no penalties)

1 mile 4 furlongs, round course

£250,000 QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 2, no penalties)

                6 furlongs, straight course

£200,000 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 3, no penalties)

2 miles, round course

Handicap (details to be announced shortly)

                7 furlongs, straight course


“Our message to owners and trainers with Group 1 middle distance fillies and mares, stayers and sprinters is that these are Group 1 races in all but name,” said Rod Street.


“They have Group 1 prize money and conditions, which we hope will attract top class fields, enabling us to achieve Group 1 ratings and have them elevated to Group 1 status as soon as possible.”







In the past, Ascot has not been required to prioritise track conditions in October as, once the Betfair King George Weekend had taken place, everything was geared towards the September Festival. Now everything relating to track management from Monday 25 July onwards will be focussed on producing the best possible ground on Saturday 15 October:


·         On the Round Course, at least three metres of ground will be saved from the 1m 2f start to the home straight to use solely for QIPCO British Champions Day. 1m 4f races scheduled for the four racedays between 25 July and 15 October will be limited to 16 runners and no 1m 2f races will be run during this period.


·         On the Straight Course, field sizes will be limited to a maximum of 16 runners for all races, enabling a five metre strip of fresh ground to be saved on both sides of the track for QIPCO British Champions Day.


·         Watering will only be done if absolutely necessary and Ascot does not intend to water the round course at all following the raceday on 3 September, although they may need to reconsider this if an extremely dry period prevails. If watering does take place, booms rather than pop-ups will be used whenever possible in order to limit watering on ground being saved for 15 October.


·         Once the ground has been put back after the Betfair King George Weekend and assuming conditions are suitable, the inside of the round course will be verti-drained. This will reduce compaction and aid drainage and root growth.


“We will be doing everything we can to ensure the best possible racing surface on both the round and straight courses for QIPCO British Champions Day,” said Ascot’s Clerk of the Course, Chris Stickels.


“In the event of a wet October, this plan of action will ensure that we will be in a much better position track-wise than we would ever have been for an October raceday in the past. In previous years, our ground management centred around the September Festival.”




The normal limit for races at Ascot over 1m 2f is 16, but this has been reduced to 14 for the £1.3 million QIPCO Champion Stakes, the most valuable horserace ever staged in Britain. In the last 20 years at Newmarket, the race has attracted an average field size of 10.85 runners.


“We want to minimise the potential impact of the draw and, after consultation with trainers, have decided that 14 is the right maximum to opt for,” explained Rod Street.




QIPCO British Champions Day will see the return of sectional timing to British racing, with Turftrax providing and operating the system. If the response from the race-going public and TV viewers is positive, it is hoped to roll it out across the whole series in 2012.


Rod Street said: "Most other sports offer some form of performance-related electronic data to their viewers and we feel the sectional timing will provide greater context to the races.


“Our sponsor, QIPCO, is very supportive of sectional timing and, whilst they can’t control the sport's overall strategy on this, it is tremendous news that their sponsorship of the series has at least allowed us to get sectional timing back on the agenda and add value to the broadcast experience."




The Cartier Racing Awards are European horseracing’s answer to the Oscars and the current season is proving to be of blockbuster proportions with a star-studded cast stealing scenes with exquisite aplomb before a rapt audience, awed at the brilliance before them.


It is rare to witness so many champions and potential legends, from different generations and hemispheres, thrilling racegoers in one glorious Flat racing season, but that is exactly what the sport is witnessing in 2011.


The Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown provided a sparkling example of this on July 2, when the mighty Australian superstar So You Think clashed with last year’s European titan Workforce.


Meanwhile, Dream Ahead reminded all that the Sir Henry Cecil-trained Frankel was not alone at the head of last year’s juvenile rankings when excelling in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket on July 9.


Those two outstanding Group One contests came in the breathless aftermath of Royal Ascot; following the mighty Canford Cliffs’ late surge past last year’s Cartier Horse Of The Year Goldikova that has set up a glorious clash at Goodwood on July 27, with the former set to threaten the unbeaten status of the three-year-old phenomenon Frankel in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes over a mile.


Established in 1991 to reward excellence in horseracing, the Cartier Awards are determined by points earned by horses in Pattern races throughout 2011, combined at the end of season with the opinions of a panel of racing journalists and votes from readers of the Racing Post and The Daily Telegraph.


In addition to the eight equine awards, the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit goes to the person or persons who, in the opinion of the special 18-strong Cartier Jury, has/have done the most for European racing and/or breeding either over their lifetime or within the past 12 months.



The 21st Cartier Awards will be presented on the evening of Tuesday, November 15, during a glittering ceremony before an invited audience at London’s Dorchester Hotel.


The 2011 Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park was a race of uncommon quality. So You Think, now trained in Ireland by champion Aidan O’Brien is a dual winner of Australia’s premier Group One contest, the Cox Plate, while the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Workforce had landed both the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs and Europe’s autumn championship decider, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, in 2010 en route to clinching that year’s Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt award.


Adding lustre to the field was last year’s Investec Oaks heroine Snow Fairy, who had ended last year with four victories in the highest grade, while 2010 Coral-Eclipse Stakes runner-up Sri Putra and Workforce’s pacemaker Confront completed the select line-up.


So You Think, sensationally beaten by Godolphin’s top-class four-year-old Rewilding in the Group One Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, proved himself the master over Sandown’s 10 furlongs, but Workforce made the strapping New Zealand-bred battle for every inch of the half-length winning margin.


So You Think now heads the Cartier Older Horse category with 84 points, 12 clear of the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained Rewilding (72), while the Richard Hannon-trained Canford Cliffs has 64 points, the equal of the Aga Khan’s four-year-old filly Sarafina, who held Cirrus Des Aigles (52) to win the Group One Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on June 26.


A week on from So You Think’s thrilling triumph, Newmarket’s Piper-Heidsieck July Festival hosted what is more often than not the Group One race that decides the sprint championship of Europe, the six-furlong Darley July Cup.


A field of 16 crack speedsters went to post, including Australian challenger, Star Witness (28), who had finished second in the Group One King’s Stand Stakes and third in the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes, both at Royal Ascot. Monsieur Chevalier (24) had taken the runner-up berth in the six-furlong Golden Jubilee Stakes for Hannon, while the Roger Charlton-trained Bated Breath (24) had crossed the line fifth in that contest.


Also among the contenders was the imposing Dream Ahead, trained by David Simcock, whose two brilliant Group One victories as a juvenile last year had seen him share the European Champion Two-Year-Old crown with none other than Frankel, both colts having achieved an official British Horseracing Authority rating of 126.


Dream Ahead had missed his Classic engagements in the spring and headed to the Darley July Cup off the back of fifth place behind Frankel in the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes over a mile at Royal Ascot.


The return to six furlongs was evidently in Dream Ahead’s favour as the giant Diktat colt cruised through the race under Hayley Turner before squeezing through a gap and accelerating clear of his rivals for a comfortable half-length verdict over Bated Breath. Had he not been blocked in his run for a few strides approaching the final furlong, the ease of his win suggested he could have achieved a wider margin of victory.



Dream Ahead is equal top in the Cartier Sprinter division with 48 points, alongside Golden Jubilee Stakes winner Society Rock. King’s Stand Stakes hero Prohibit has 45 points.


Dream Ahead lies joint fourth in the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt standings, in which Frankel leads on 104 from Treasure Beach (80), who leap-frogged his Investec Derby conqueror Pour Moi (66) with a Classic triumph of his own on June 26.


The O’Brien-trained Treasure Beach had been collared close home when second to Pour Moi at Epsom Downs at the start of June but ended the month with victory in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh, defeating stablemate Seville by three quarters of a length.



Another O’Brien Group One success came at the Curragh the previous day, June 25, when the talented filly Misty For Me added to her Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas success with an impressive six-length triumph over multiple Group One-winning mare Midday, trained by Cecil, in the Stobart Ireland Pretty Polly Stakes over 10 furlongs.


Misty For Me (72) is joint leader of the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly category along with the unbeaten Golden Lilac who has won two Classics for trainer Andre Fabre, the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and the Prix de Diane Longines.


There is no change in the race to be Cartier Stayer champion, with Ascot Gold Cup hero Fame And Glory on top with 48 points.


With so many brilliant performers gracing the European turf in 2011, there is still a long way to go before the Cartier Horse Of The Year award can be claimed. Leading the charge at this stage is Frankel, whose wins in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes see him enjoy a clear advantage on points.


So You Think (84) is next in the standings, followed by Treasure Beach (80), Golden Lilac (72), Misty For Me (72) and Rewilding (72) but a whole raft of top performers are waiting to pounce, not least Dream Ahead, Pour Moi, Canford Cliffs, Sarafina, Midday, Snow Fairy, Goldikova and St Nicholas Abbey.


The latest betting from Ladbrokes as to the 2011 Cartier Horse Of The Year is as follows: 9/4 Frankel, 5/2 Canford Cliffs, 3/1 So You Think, 6/1 Pour Moi, 8/1 Goldikova & 12/1 Workforce.


Harry Herbert, Cartier’s racing consultant, commented today: “This season continues to excite and delight. The quality of the horses contesting the championship races makes 2011 a modern vintage.


“So You Think proved at Sandown that he is a champion in two hemispheres and, although defeated, Workforce gained plenty of plaudits for the way he battled and it would not be a surprise if we have not seen the best of him yet.


“As for Dream Ahead, the Darley July Cup victory was awesome and he could be the outstanding sprinter European racing has been waiting for in recent years.



“The action is coming thick and fast now as we hurtle towards the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Betfair) at Ascot in which St Nicholas Abbey continues his comeback and is due to take on Rewilding, followed by Glorious Goodwood with that mighty ‘Duel on the Downs’ between Frankel and Canford Cliffs in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes.”


For more information, please contact Harry Herbert, Cartier’s racing consultant (01488 669166), Florence Shippey of Cartier (020 7408 5717) or Mark Popham of Racenews (020 7704 0326)




(up to and including July 10, 2011)


Cartier Horse Of The Year

FRANKEL                                  104

SO YOU THINK                        84


GOLDEN LILAC                        72

MISTY FOR ME                        72

REWILDING                             72


Cartier Older Horse

SO YOU THINK                        84

REWILDING                             72

CANFORD CLIFFS                     64

SARAFINA                                64



Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt

FRANKEL                                  104


POUR MOI                              66

DREAM AHEAD                       48

DUBAWI GOLD                        48

RELIABLE MAN                        48



Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly

GOLDEN LILAC                        72

MISTY FOR ME                        72


BLUE BUNTING                       54

DANCING RAIN                        48

TOGETHER                              48






Cartier Sprinter

DREAM AHEAD                       48

SOCIETY ROCK                        48

PROHIBIT                                45

STAR WITNESS                        28

BATED BREATH                       24



Cartier Stayer


BRIGANTIN                              29

OPINION POLL                        27

BLUE BAJAN                24




Green Destiny slammed a competitive field to land the John Smith’s Cup at York on Saturday and William Haggas’ charge is among 63 entries remaining after the scratchings stage for the £125,000 totesport Mile at Glorious Goodwood, details of which are revealed at noon today, Wednesday, July 13.


The progressive four-year-old is totesport’s current 7/2 favourite for the lucrative heritage handicap, staged over a mile on Friday, July 29, day four of the five-day Glorious Goodwood Festival.


Green Destiny will drop back to a mile after storming to a three and a half-length victory over 10 furlongs at York. He picks up a 3lb penalty for the victory, taking him on to 9st 3lb, but his future handicap rating has gone up by 11lb which means he is well in at Goodwood.


Also among those with the totesport Mile on the radar is Wannabe King (9st, 25/1 with totesport). Trainer David Lanigan saddled the five-year-old to land a competitive handicap over a mile at Sandown on his first start of the campaign back in April, in which he defeated a field that included Royal Hunt Cup winner Julienas and the Clive Cox-trained Dunn’o (9st, 20/1).


The five-year-old King’s Best gelding has failed to trouble the judge in two starts since then, most recently when ninth to Dance And Dance (9st 10lb, 12/1) in the Investec Mile at Epsom on June 3, but Lanigan is hoping that a return to form and suitable underfoot conditions will enable his charge to take in the Goodwood contest.




Lanigan revealed today: “It just depends on the ground as to whether Wannabe King goes to the totesport Mile. He is also entered at Newmarket on Saturday but he would not want quick ground, so the going dictates the whole thing. We will just have to sit and see what the ground does.


“A couple of mine weren’t running well and had something on them at the time of his last run. He ran below par that day and he came back very quiet after it so we freshened him up and he appears to be alright - he is in good form.” 


The totesport Mile is one of the season’s most hotly-contested handicaps and this year’s race is set to be as strong as ever with a high quality contingent remaining.


The Hughie Morrison-trained Sagramor (8st 7lb, 12/1) triumphed in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot on June 16, from the Richard Hannon-trained runner-up Cai Shen (8st 13lb, 16/1), while current totesport Mile top-weight Dance And Dance was second to Julienas in the Royal Hunt Cup at the same meeting.


Proponent (8st 13lb, 25/1) is trained by Roger Charlton and the smart seven-year-old was runner-up to Green Destiny in a Newmarket handicap in April, while the Andrew Balding-trained Highland Knight (8st 12lb, 12/1), second to Dance And Dance in the Investec Mile at Epsom in June, held the Luca Cumani-trained Start Right (9st 4lb, 10/1) to win a competitive mile handicap at Sandown on July 2, a race in which the Haggas-trained Sooraah (8st 8lb, 16/1) was third.


Godolphin has four entries remaining. Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni could saddle Bridgefield (8st 9lb, inc 3lb penalty, 12/1), successful at Newmarket’s July Festival last week, and Namecheck (8st 11lb, 25/1), while fellow Godolphin handler Saeed bin Suroor may run Man Of Action (8st 11lb, 25/1) and 2010 Royal Hunt Cup hero Invisible Man (third to Julienas in this year’s renewal, 9st 9lb, 14/1), who took second behind Sea Lord in last year’s totesport Mile.


Mark Johnston trained Sea Lord to success in 2010 and the Middleham handler could rely on Master Of Arts (8st 11lb, 25/1) this year.


Owner Dr Marwan Koukash is well represented with last week’s seven-furlong Bunbury Cup winner Brae Hill (8st 12lb, inc 3lb penalty, 16/1), trained by Richard Fahey, one of three that could carry his colours, the remainder being stablemate Kyllachy Star (8st 12lb, 25/1) and the David Simcock-trained course winner Pintura (8st 11lb, 25/1).


Others of note include the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Confront (9st 9lb, 14/1), deployed in the Group One Coral-Eclipse Stakes as a pacemaker for Workforce, the Roger Varian-trained (Doncaster) Spring Mile winner Eton Forever (9st 5lb, 14/1), and the Ed Dunlop-trained Fareer (9st 9lb, 25/1), a Group Two runner-up at Meydan in March.


Course and distance winner Riggins (9st 6lb, 25/1) was a close sixth in the Group Two Lennox Stakes over seven furlongs at Glorious Goodwood last year, when in the care of Andrew Balding, and gave trainer Ed Walker his first training success when dead-heating for first place in a Kempton Listed race in November.



Jim Boyle plans to run The Rectifier (9st 6lb, 16/1), while the George Baker-trained Belgian Bill (8st 8lb, 14/1) was fourth to Sagramor in the Britannia Handicap.


There is a maximum field of 20 permitted for the totesport Mile.


Latest betting from totesport:


7/2 Green Destiny; 10/1 Start Right; 12/1 Bridgefield, Dance and Dance, Highland Knight, Rhythm of Light, Sagramor; 14/1 Belgian Bill, Confront, Eton Forever, Invisible Man; 16/1 Brae Hill, Cai Shen, King of Jazz, Leviathan, Point North, Rave, Sooraah, The Rectifier; 20/1 Boom And Bust, Dunn'o, Norman Orpen, Our Joe Mac, Pendragon, Wallis; 25/1 Citrus Star, Emerald Wilderness, Fareer, Gunner Lindley, Kyllachy Star, Las Verglas Star, Lovelace, Man Of Action, Master of Arts, Mont Agel, Namecheck, Pintura, Pleasant Day, Proponent, Riggins, Sinfonico, Tullius, Vainglory, Viva Ronaldo, Wannabe King; 33/1 Advanced, Ahlaain, Ashva, Barney Rebel, Bonnie Brae, Captain Bertie, Kay Gee Bee, Lord Aeryn, Marajaa, Miami Gator, Mr David, Primaeval, Rakaan, Space War; 40/1 Madawi, Tartan Gigha; 50/1 Aerial Acclaim



Trainer Jeremy Gask is weighing up his options with recent Ascot winner Medicean Man ahead of a possible tilt at the Blue Square Stewards’ Cup, one of the highlights of the fifth and final day of Glorious Goodwood, Saturday, July 30.


A total of 124 horses remained in the £100,000 six-furlong heritage handicap following the latest scratchings deadline, details of which are revealed today.


Medicean Man (9st 5lb including 6lb penalty) beat subsequent Group One Prix de l’Abbaye winner Gilt Edge Girl at Wolverhampton last year and gave up-and-coming Brazilian-born apprentice Raul Da Silva a second British success on just his fifth ride in the country when comfortably taking a five-furlong handicap at Ascot on July 9.


The five-year-old is a 16/1 chance for the Blue Square Stewards’ Cup with the race sponsor.


Gask revealed: “We will have a look at the Blue Square Stewards’ Cup nearer the time before confirming Medicean Man but the race is a definite option for him.


“We are pleased with how he came out of his win at the weekend and the only other real alternatives to heading to Goodwood are the five-furlong open handicap at Ascot next Sunday or waiting for a race at the Shergar Cup meeting.


“Raul Da Silva rode a few winners in Brazil as a young kid but we have been waiting a while to get his visa sorted so that he can ride over here. I think that he has got a bit of talent - it’s just a question of smoothing off the edges, but I think that he will definitely be one to follow in the future.


“He would be able to claim 7lb at Goodwood, which would be handy considering the 6lb penalty, and the Blue Square Stewards’ Cup is in the mix for both horse and jockey at the moment.”


Five horses currently head the betting for the Blue Square Stewards’ Cup with Blue Square, including the James Fanshawe-trained pair of Wokingham Handicap winner Deacon Blues (9st 10lb) and Mac’s Power (9st 3lb), who took third in a competitive Ascot handicap on Saturday.


Both horses are 12/1 shots alongside Hoof It (9st 8lb), from the stable of Mick Easterby, the Jim Goldie-trained Hawkeyethenoo (9st 7lb) and Pastoral Player (9st 6lb), who was third in the Wokingham Handicap for trainer Hughie Morrison.


Sprint king David Nicholls, who has saddled the winner of the Blue Square Stewards’ Cup on three  occasions, has 24 horses going forward including the 2010 winner Evens And Odds (9st 5lb & 16/1),Victoire de Lyphar (9st 4lb & 16/1), Tajneed (9st 5lb & 25/1) and Nasri (9st & 20/1).


The Blue Square Stewards’ Cup has a safety limit of 28 but for the first time in 2011, the consolation race for horses which fail to make the final field, the £30,000 Bluesquare.com Stewards' Sprint Handicap, will also take place on the same day, providing a fantastic double-header of sprint handicap action.


Latest betting from Blue Square:


12/1 Mac's Power, Pastoral Player, Hawkeyethenoo, Hoof It, Deacon Blues; 14/1 Edinburgh Knight; 16/1 Waffle, Victoire de Lyphar, Humidor, Dubai Media, Lexi's Hero, Novellen Lad, Addictive Dream, Evens And Odds, Medicean Man; 20/1 Dungannon, Ritual, Lui Rei, Dafeef, Ancient Cross, Johannes, Gramercy, Lutine Bell, Swiss Cross, Kanaf, Beyond Desire, Nasri, Tiddliwinks, Parisian Pyramid; 25/1 Desert Law, Crown Choice, Irish Heartbeat, Jimmy Styles, Colonel Mak, Joseph Henry, Kalk Bay, Bajan Tryst, Kuanyao, Docofthebay, Tax Free, Tajneed, Son of The Cat, Silaah, Show Rainbow, Secret Witness, Rain Delayed, Mon Cadeaux, Racy, R Woody, Fireback, Quest For Success, Fathsta, High Standing; 33/1 Noverre To Go, Global City, Mr David, Fitz Flyer, Advanced, Prime Defender, Sohraab, Brave Prospector, Singeur, Swilly Ferry, Favourite Girl, Blue Jack, Confessional, Cape To Rio; 40/1 Five Star Junior, Secret Asset, Edge Closer, Atlantic Sport, Majestic Dubawi, Golden Desert; 50/1 Tamagin, Mister Hughie







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