As we reach the backend of this thrilling 2021 Flat racing campaign, albeit, with some big meetings still to come, like The St Leger Festival, talk has already begun to turn towards the seasonal conclusion, British Champions Day — held annually at Ascot in mid-October.
The iconic meeting attracts the best horses, jockeys and trainers in the sport, as they hope to be crowned the cream of the crop in their respective categories, and take home their share of the festival’s £4m prize purse — making it the most valuable race day in the whole of the United Kingdom!
So, as tickets for British Champions Day are quickly scooped up by keen racegoers, we’ve scoured the best horse racing betting sites to uncover the favourites for the meeting’s biggest races. Read on to find out more…
The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is the first big race of the day, as the best one milers enter the stalls be crowned the king or queen over the distance and take home their share of the £1m purses. This year’s favourite is Palace Pier, who finished third in this race last year. However, with three victories from as many races this season, including in the Lockinge Stakes and the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, he would be a worthy winner this year. The John Gosden-trained horse will be up against it though, with Baaeed, who has won all four of his races this season, hot on his heels.
Blink and you’ll miss it. This six-furlong race is one of the most exciting on British Champions Day, as the best sprinters aim to be crowned the winner of the British Champions Sprint Stakes. The Ed Walker-trained Starman is the in-form horse, and is therefore, unsurprisingly, the slight favourite. A disappointing third-last in this sprint last year, as Hollie Doyle won aboard Glen Shiel, Starman has kicked on this season, winning the Duke Of York Stakes (Group 2), before landing his first Group 1 victory in the July Cup Stakes at Newmarket, where he beat Dragon Symbol, the second favourite for the British Champions Sprint Stakes, over the line by just over a length.
British Champions Day goes from one extreme to another, as the two-mile British Champions Long Distance Cup follows the Sprint Stakes. Trueshan, who again had Doyle in the saddle, was the winner of this long distance Group 1 race last year, winning by seven-and-a-half lengths clear of Search For A Song, and the Alan King-trained horse, who recently won the Goodwood Cup Stakes, is the favourite to defend his crown this year at 2/1. Stradivarius, a former Long Distance Cup champion, is the second favourite. However, the Gosden-trained legend may be passed his best at the ripe old age of seven.
The British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, contested over one mile and four furlongs, presents the best female horses with the chance of being crowned the queen of the thrilling British Champions Series category. Aidan O’Brien’s Snowfall has had a great season, winning all three of her races to date, including the Oaks and the Irish Oaks, and if she can win the Yorkshire Oaks later this month, there would be no complaints should she go on and win this race. Wonderful Tonight, a Group 2 winner at Royal Ascot and Goodwood, Tarnawa and Love will ensure that this is a hotly-contested race.
The richest race in the UK this season, with a mammoth prize pot of £1.2m, it doesn’t get much better than the 10-furlong (1m 2f) Champion Stakes. Last year’s champion, Addeybb, who gifted jockey Tom Marquand his first victory on Champions Day, has had a mixed season this year, with one win wedged in between two second-place finishes, and is, therefore, the third favourite. Instead, it is the O’Brien-trained St Mark’s Basilica that takes the status as a market leader. The three-year-old kicked off the season with a back-to-back Group 1 victory at Longchamp and Chantilly in Paris and has since returned to the UK to scoop the Sandown Eclipse, finishing over three lengths clear of Addeybb.
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