Last year’s winner Addeybb is firmly on course for a bid to become the second dual winner of the QIPCO Champion Stakes since it was moved to Ascot in 2011 as the centrepiece of QIPCO British Champions Day.
However, he is set to face stellar opposition, with Cazoo Derby and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes winner Adayar still a possible runner, alongside Juddmonte International winner Mishriff and the winners of many more of the world’s top middle-distance races.
William Haggas, who also plans to run the talented but frustrating Al Aasy and the supplemented three-year-old Dubai Honour, reports the popular seven-year-old “in as good shape as we could possibly have him”. If successful he would become the Champion Stakes’ oldest winner since 1887, when Bendigo won a Newmarket running of the race at the same age.
Addeybb, who was also second to Magical two years ago, is among 14 possibles for the race, 10 of whom are already winners at Group 1 level.
Haggas said: “We are very pleased with Addeybb’s condition. We’d like rain for him, and the more the better, but it doesn’t look as if we are going to get it. I’d be surprised if it was quick ground though, as it was so wet there at the last meeting, and he’ll run.
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“I’d have loved him to have had a run, as it’s a top, top race, but he goes well fresh and he can win off a lay-off. His last two weeks have been really good.”
He added: “Dubai Honour is a nice young horse who has won two Group 2s. He’s doing very well physically and he’s a pretty useful horse. This will be a big rise in class for him but we’ve got nothing to lose. I’m running Al Aasy too, and he’s not without hope, dropping back in trip. Everyone questions him bar me, but he’s a very, very talented horse.’’
Addeybb Runs Second in Coral Eclipse
Mishriff was down the field 12 months ago but has had a massive year, taking his earnings past the £11m mark with wins in the Saudi Cup, the Dubai Sheema Classic and the Juddmonte International as well as places behind St Mark’s Basilica in the Coral-Eclipse and Adayar in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes.
John Gosden, who is now in partnership with son Thady and is looking to add to his two runaway wins with Cracksman, has freshened Mishriff up since his stunning six-length defeat of Alenquer and Love in the Juddmonte International at York and is pleased to see the ground drying up.
Gosden said: “We’ve been happy with Mishriff since York and we are looking forward to running him again. It’s always one race at a time, but we wanted to space his races in case we go on to run later in the year, possibly at the Breeders’ Cup.
“It looks like being a good race and we should get better ground than last year, when he really didn’t like it. He can handle soft, but last year it became specialists’ ground. Full marks to all of the winners that day, but it’s hard to quicken on that stuff.”
Mishriff Wins Juddmonte International
A decision upon the participation of Adayar is unlikely to be made until later in the week, but the Charlie Appleby-trained Qatar Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe fourth would be a fascinating contender for Godolphin, who were last successful with Farhh in 2013. Only Sir Ivor (1968) and New Approach (2008) have won both the Derby and the Champion Stakes in more than 50 years.
Aidan O’Brien, who won with Magical two years ago, can choose between two outstanding fillies in Love and Snowfall, both of whom are dual Classic winners, but they have also been confirmed for the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes. O’Brien has also confirmed his Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes winner Bolshoi Ballet.
Other possibles include the Irish 2000 Guineas winner Mac Swiney and the high-class French three-year-old Sealiway, who was one place behind Adayar in the Arc, having won a Group 1 on the same weekend 12 months previously, plus Qatar Nassau Stakes winner Lady Bowthorpe, who has also been confirmed for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO).
Addeybb (IRE) Al Aasy (IRE) Euchen Glen (GB) Helvic Dream (IRE)Mishriff (IRE) Lady Bowthorpe (GB) Love (IRE) Adayar (IRE) Bolshoi Ballet (IRE) Dubai Honour (IRE Foxes Tales (IRE Mac Swiney (IRE) Sealiway (FR) Snowfall (JPN)