British Champions Day 2023: Top-class fields in prospect
Mostahdaf, Paddington and Kinross are among the big names declared for what promises to be an enthralling afternoon for Qipco British Champions Day 2023 at Ascot on Saturday.
The John and Thady Gosden-trained Mostahdaf leads nine contenders for the Qipco Champion Stakes, in which the five-year-old will be bidding for a third consecutive Group One win having landed the Prince of Wales’s Stakes over the 10-furlong course and distance back in June before adding the Juddmonte International at York to his tally.
However, connections have expressed concerns about the likelihood of testing ground in Berkshire and Mostahdaf – the mount of Jim Crowley – could yet bypass the race.
The Champion Stakes field also features last year’s winner Bay Bridge and third-placed My Prospero, but French raider Horizon Dore is the favourite after winning each of his last four starts.
Frankie Dettori teams up with King Of Steel on what is set to be his final afternoon of European action before embarking on international engagements and an eventual move to America.
Coral have betting on how many winners Dettori will ride on Saturday, with 3/1 on offer for two or more and 20/1 for at least three winners.
Spokesman David Stevens said: “Whether or not we see Frankie riding on British Champions Day in the future, his mounts on this year’s card are sure to be popular with punters, with King Of Steel, Free Wind and Kinross all in the first two in the betting for their respective races, and Chaldean and Trawlerman far from no hopers also.
“Frankie has given his backers so much to cheer at Ascot over his long career, and it would be no surprise to see him in the winners’ enclosure on Saturday, but as bookies we’ll be hoping it’s just not too often.”
Dettori rides 2000 Guineas victor Chaldean (pictured below) for Andrew Balding in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes after Inspiral was taken out, in what promises to be another intriguing one-mile clash.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Paddington beat him by nearly four lengths in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and he seeks a fifth Group One win after his unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of Mostahdaf at York.
Tahiyra adds further spice, with Dermot Weld’s filly having won the Irish 1,000 Guineas, Coronation and Matron Stakes on her last three starts.
Nashwa runs over a mile instead of tackling the Champion Stakes, with Big Rock and Facteur Cheval both leading contenders for the French.
The Dettori-ridden Kinross faces 14 in defence of his British Champions Sprint title, although Commonwealth and July Cup hero Shaquille is a notable absentee in the six-furlong contest.
The Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes has 14 contenders, with Free Wind another likely favourite for Dettori, who also rides Trawlerman in the opening Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.
The two-mile affair is the only Group Two on the British Champions Day 2023 card but it has drawn a quality line-up with Trueshan (pictured below) bidding for a fourth win in the race for Alan King, although he will have to contend with last year’s Gold Cup winner Kyprios and Lonsdale Cup scorer Coltrane in a field of eight.
Ascot have confirmed the three races due to take place on the round course on Qipco British Champions Day 2023 will be run on the inner course.
Following almost 40 millimetres of rain in the past seven days, the going had turned extremely testing on the round course by Friday morning, with heavy appearing in places.
A rule had been brought in some time ago stating that should that be the case, Ascot were able to move the Long Distance Cup, Fillies & Mares Stakes and the Champion Stakes to the inner/hurdles track.
The going on that track was reported as good to soft, soft in places, while on the straight track, used for the Sprint, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the Balmoral Handicap, it was soft.
A statement released by Ascot read: “The going on the round course is now soft, heavy in places. Following verification from an independent panel and agreement that this will not improve before raceday, the three Round Course races will switch to the Inner Flat Course.
“This is as per the race conditions which state that in the event of ‘heavy’ appearing in the going description the races will switch to the Inner Flat Course.
“The going on the Inner Flat Course is currently good to soft, soft in places.”
As a result there are minor distance changes to two of the three races which will move. The Long Distance Cup will now be run over one mile seven furlongs and 127 yards, a decrease of 82 yards. The Fillies & Mares Stakes will be run over 78 yards less taking it to just under a mile and a half, while the Champion Stakes stays over 10 furlongs.
All odds and market correct at date of publication