The 2015 Flat season comes to a close at Leopardstown on Sunday, October 25th, and the day will be marked by presentations to the champion owner, trainer, jockey and apprentice.
Mrs Sue Magnier has retained her title and will be crowned Champion Owner for the 13th time since 2000. Part-owner of Air Force Blue, the winner of the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes and the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh, Mrs Magnier has also seen Painted Cliffs, Curvy and Coolmore win domestic Group races in her colours this season.
In advance of the new season at Cheltenham, which commences with the first day of The Showcase on Friday, October 23, the racecourse has made a number of changes to race programmes and conditions during The Festival and the wider season.
Following on from a successful renewal of The Festival earlier this year, which saw record crowds visit the racecourse over the four days, and with Channel 4’s support, the decision has been taken to have 40-minute intervals between all races during The Festival in March next year.
British Racing will introduce Authorised Betting Partners from 1 January 2016
Betting operators will be rewarded for having a mutually beneficial funding relationship with British Racing
British Racing is taking action to stop Levy haemorrhage
ARC and Jockey Club Racecourses have independently decided that no new commercial deals will be entered into with non-Levy paying betting operators
Today British Racing is setting out to establish a new and more viable relationship with betting operators in a move which addresses the need to create a sustainable method of transferring funds and value between the racing and betting industries.
Brazilian-born jockey Silvestre de Sousa was crowned the Stobart Champion Flat Jockey on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot Racecourse this weekend for the first time in his career.
He collects the winner’s prize of £25,000, the first time the Champion Jockey has been financially rewarded, and receivedthe Champion Jockey trophy from two legends of the weighing room, Lester Piggott, and last year’s Champion Richard Hughes in the Parade Ring.
De Sousa is one of only three jockeys to have ridden in over 700 races this season – a testament to his professionalism, popularity and work-rate. This has translated into 132 winners before racing today, at an impressive strike rate of 18%. Numerically he has ridden most of his winners at Chelmsford City (14); has had most success when partnering with trainer Mark Johnston’s horses and been most successful in contests over six furlongs.
Solow’s triumph in the Group One Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO was his fifth consecutive Group One win of the season. The grey five-year-old, bred by his owners, Wertheimer Et Frere, held off Belardo by three-quarters of a length. He was the 11/10 favourite for the race.
Freddy Head, who trains the son of Singspiel in Chantilly, France, said: “What can you say? He’s always the same; gives the same sort of race. He’s a brilliant horse. He’s a miler who can stay – a tough miler with a lot of stamina. He’s not the sort of miler who needs to be hidden and come with burst. He can come from a long way out.
Dreamland for Smullen and Weld at Champions day once again as Fascinating Rock ran down a warm order favourite in Jack Hobbs to claim the Group 1 Qipco British Champion Stakes at Ascot.
Jack Hobbs was steered to the front end from a poor draw under William Buick and seemed to have things go to plan up front chasing a fair gallop set by Maverick Wave but as he hit the front with a furlong or so to go the rivals stacked up behind and the Irish Derby winner was unable to make his advantage tell.
Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, whose family business, QIPCO, is the headline sponsor of British Champions Day, won his first race at the meeting as an owner today when Simple Verse took the QIPCO British Champions Fillies’ & Mares’ Stakes.
Ridden by Andrea Atzeni in the colours of Qatar Racing, the Ralph Beckett-trained Simple Verse followed up her victory in last month’s Ladbrokes St Leger. Today she chased Journey into the home straight and eventually wore her rival down near the line to win going away by three-quarters of a length.
Muhaarar put up a highly impressive performance to take the Group One QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes by two lengths from Twilight Son.
Trained by Charlie Hills, ridden by Paul Hanagan and owned by Hamdan al Maktoum, three-year-old Muhaarar started the 5/2 favourite. It was his fourth successive Group One success after the Commonwealth Cup (also at Ascot), the July Cup and the Prix Maurice De Gheest, his latest run 69 days ago.
Sheikh Hamdan bred Muhaarar, who is likely now to retire to his owner’s Shadwell Stud in Norfolk.
It took five years, but John Gosden trained his first QIPCO British Champions Day winner when Flying Officer landed the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup. The winner is owned and was bred by American George Strawbridge and was ridden by Frankie Dettori. Five-year-old Flying Officer is a full-brother to Ladbrokes St Leger winner Lucarno.
Strawbridge, a keen fan of jump racing, said: “It’s a thrill to be here and a thrill to win – the only thing they are not doing is going over jumps, but this race is the closest thing to it. He [Flying Officer] is 18 hands and all of his brothers have been that size too.
Aidan O’Brien walked the Ascot track today ahead of an intended run for stable star Gleneagles in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day at the track tomorrow afternoon.
No decision was made on the participation and O’Brien warned that any rain and Gleneagles will not run and also that Ryan Moore will know eveyrthing they need to make a decision after riding in the opening races on the card. If an absentee as has been the case with Gleneagles several times this season it will leave Solow a warm order for the race and in search of a ninth win on the bounce.