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British Champions Day 2020: Ascot Preview & Predictions

Ascot racecourse will take centre stage on Saturday, October 17, as the star-studded QIPCO British Champions Day takes place.

First staged in 2011, the meeting features the final races in each of five QIPCO British Champions Series categories – Sprint, Fillies & Mares, Long Distance, Mile and Middle Distance.

The likes of Stradivarius, Star Catcher and Roaring Lion have been successful horse racing bets at the meeting, highlighting the top-class nature of the event.

However, one name undoubtedly stands head and shoulders above the rest in the British Champions Day roll of honour – Frankel.

He won the 2011 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes with consummate ease and followed up with another victory in the Champions Stakes the following season.

Read on as we look at the 2020 British Champions Day and pick out three horses who we believe will shine at the Berkshire track.

Enable Set for Final Swansong

Enable returned to the Newmarket gallops on Thursday to spark talk that she could have one final swansong in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

John Gosden’s stable star looked in fine fettle following her disappointing run in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp last weekend.

The 11-time Group 1 winner is unbeaten at Ascot and connections could well be tempted into trying to end her career on a high note.

“Enable did one canter on Warren Hill this morning and seems fine after her trip to Paris,” Gosden told the Racing Post.

“Whether she runs again or not is up to her owner Prince Khalid Abdullah, and I think a decision about her future will be made after the weekend.”

Gosden has won two of the last four runnings of the race with Journey (2016) and Star Catcher (2019), and he will fancy his chances of adding another success with Enable.

The six-year-old looks a cut above the rest of the field and she deserves the chance to cement her legacy by running in the race.

Palace Ready to Shine in the Mile

Palace Pier will put his unbeaten record on the line as he strives to win his sixth successive race in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

The three-year-old was an impressive winner of the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois in France on his last outing and looks banker material to follow up at Ascot.

The retirement of Sussex Stakes winner Mohaather has made things easier for the three-year-old and Gosden is confident of a big run.

“We were very happy with the Jacques le Marois – we wanted that straight mile for him,” he said. “They did have an excessive amount of rain, so it was very soft, but he handled it well.

“The form then got franked strongly in the Prix du Moulin. It was always the plan to go to the QEII and we will stick with it. He is certainly giving us all the right signs at the moment.

“There is a strong possibility that he stays in training as a four-year-old, in which case it will probably be his last run of the season as we are getting deep into October.”

Kameko is likely to be the biggest threat to Palace Pier, although he was unimpressive when winning the Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket in his most recent outing.

Mishriff Thriving Ahead of Champions Stakes

Gosden also looks worth following in the mile-and-a-quarter Champion Stakes as Mishriff attempts to make it four successive wins this season.

Connections resisted the temptation to run the French Derby hero in the Arc and that decision should pay dividends at Ascot.

Mishriff warmed up for Champions Day with a comfortable success in the Group 2 Prix Guillaume D’Ornano at Deauville and he has thrived since then.

“He’s bouncing, he’s going well and he’s waiting for his date at Ascot,” said Ted Voute, racing manager to owner Prince Faisal.

“John (Gosden) and the Prince made a decision and that’s where we’re going. We’ve just got to find out what we’re racing against.

“It will be exciting. It will be nice to compete in another race in England and see what he’s made of.

“At the moment he’s showing a nice turn of foot which they are not always blessed with. Let’s hope he can keep doing that when it’s needed.”

British Champions Day Race Times

1.20 pm – The QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2)

1.55 pm – The QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1)

2.30 pm – The QIPCO British Champions Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes (Group 1)

3.05 pm – The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO (British Champions Mile) (Group 1)

3.40 pm – The QIPCO Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1)

4.15 pm – The Balmoral Handicap Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO)