Excitement builds ahead of QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot

THE inaugural QIPCO British Champions Series culminated in glorious fashion last October on British Champions Day and this year’s sell-out edition next weekend promises to be even better. A richly endowed six -ace card featuring five Group contests has attracted a stellar field and worldwide attention.

Much of the focus revolves around Sir Henry Cecil’s extraordinary colt, Frankel. The four-year-old son of Galileo will be bidding to end his career with a perfect record of 14 wins from 14 races in the QIPCO Champion Stakes.

Already a winner of over £2.5 million and nine Group One races, Frankel will be meeting the high-class Nathaniel, whom he beat in his very first race back in August 2010, and the second-highest rated horse in the world, Cirrus Des Aigles, in what promises to be an explosive encounter.

Elsewhere on the card, James Fanshawe’s Society Rock will bid to follow in the footsteps of his injured stablemate Deacon Blues and dash off with the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes. The Ascot specialist could face stiff competition from the likes of Mayson, Slade Power and Maarek.

In the QIPCO British Champions Series Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes, last year’s top-class Classic winner Dancing Rain could make her long-awaited seasonal reappearance in the race she won last year. The 12-furlong Group Two has attracted some strong entries, including Oaks one-two Was and Shirocco Star.

The opening QIPCO Long Distance Cup could see Fame And Glory try to defend his crown and he might be joined by the brilliant 2010 Gold Cup winner Rite of Passage, this year’s Gold Cup champion Colour Vision, as well as progressive filly Hawaafez and French challengers Vadamar, Kasbah Bliss and Lone Ranger.

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO over a mile is headlined by Excelebration. The Aidan O’Brien-trained charge has finished runner-up to Frankel five times in Group company but is brilliant in his own right. O’Brien’s classy Declaration Of War, the Queen’s Carlton House and St James’s Palace winner Most Improved are other notable entrants.