Champions Day Review

The legendary Frankie Dettori stole the show at Ascot once again on Saturday as he won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the Champion Stakes in quick succession. Persuasive was an impressive winner in the former, but it was Cracksman in the latter that really set the pulses racing. It was by far and away the best performance from a colt all season as he finished seven lengths clear of Poet’s Word. It completed a 23/1 double for a jubilant Dettori, and ensured he upstaged Aiden O’Brien on a blustery day at Ascot. The Irish trainer equalled a world record on Saturday by recording his 25th Group 1 victory of the season, but his thunder was well and truly stolen by Dettori. It was also a day to remember for Brighton & Hove Albion owner Tony Bloom, who landed one of the gambles of the season as Librisa Breeze won the Champions Sprint – Bloom’s first ever Group 1 winner – after his team had beaten West Ham 3-0 in the Premiership.

But this glorious day belonged to Detorri, who rode his first ever Group 1 winner when he was victorious in the 1990 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. O’Brien had not even gained his licence back then, and it was fitting that Detorri won the race again on Saturday, 27 years after his inaugural success. Ribchester, the leading miler in Europe this season, started as the 2-1 favourite, but Persuasive was too strong in the desperate conditions. Ribchester led the race two furlongs out, but Persuasive loved the ground and found a change of gear to surge past him, winning by a length as Detorri eased her up towards the end. O’Brien’s Churchill was third in a very strong field, and Detorri was delighted with the win. He performed his trademark flying dismount in the winner’s enclosure and praised Persuasive’s “exceptional turn of foot”.

But the best was yet to come as Detorri rode Cracksman to an astonishingly dominant victory. His performance conjured up memories of his sire, Frankel, but even that great horse did not win this race with the level of dominance displayed by Cracksman on this blustery day. He is the first son of Frankel to win a Group 1 race and it banished memories of his near miss in the Epsom Derby. Cracksman has improved greatly over the course of the year and was rampant on Saturday. He destroyed Poet’s Word and finished well clear of multiple G1 winner Highland Reel, leading Detorri to call it a “fantastic feeling” as he claimed his first ever Champion Stakes.

On that showing, the only three-year-old middle distance horse in the business that could stop Cracksman would be stablemate Enable, who won the Arc de Triomphe in similarly sensational fashion. Enable is the favourite to win it next year, but Cracksman has now been installed as second favourite and Detorri will be faced with the most difficult decision of his career should these two race against one another next year. Who to ride, Enable or Cracksman? A month ago the answer would have been obvious, but now there is little to split them.

At Cracksman and Enable will be the ones to watch next season as they have both killed spread betting winning distances wagers in the Champions Stakes and the Arc.

Their trainer, John Gosden, has nine wins at G1 this season and he has had a great year, which puts O’Brien’s achievement in context. The Ballydoyle maestro equalled the world record set by Bobby Frankel in the USA in 2003 after Hydrangea battled through the slop to win the Fillies And Mares Stakes, O’Brien’s 25th G1 winner of the year. The Irish trainer was visibly delighted, but he may have been even happier to see favourite Order of St George snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as he made up a four-length deficit to win the G2 Long Distance Cup by half a length from Torcedor in dramatic fashion.

Order of St George was the heavily backed favourite, and that win along with Detorri’s double will have made it a profitable day for many punters. The other big winner on the day was Librisa Breeze, who got the better of several big names to claim the British Champions Sprint. Harry Angel was sent off as favourite and The Tin Man, Caravaggio and Quiet Reflection all lined up in a terrifyingly competitive field, but Librisa Breeze relished the heavy going, put in a commanding performance and came in at 10-1. “This is my first Group 1 so that is very special,” said Bloom, who completed a hat-trick after Brighton won and Withhold took the Cesarewithch. “It has been an incredible eight days.”

Author bio

Martin Green is an experienced horseracing correspondent and tipster and has covered the sport of kings for many years.

4.40 Nottingham, Wednesday, October 18

It seems an awfully long time ago that Move In Time won the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp – it was, in fact, three seasons ago – and the 9-year-old has been in steady decline in recent seasons. However, the Monsieur Bond gelding is still capable of decent form on his day, as he demonstrated when fifth of 14, beaten 1¼ lengths, in a 0-95 contest at York in July, off a handicap mark of 94. He recently left David O’Meara to join Paul Midgley, but wouldn’t be the first horse to be rejuvenated by a change of scenery and finds himself in a fairly ordinary 0-85 contest off a handicap mark of 83, his lowest ever. Clearly, he comes with risks attached but, if he’s destined for a return to the winners’ enclosure, today could be his day under conditions that should suit him.


Selection: Nottingham 4.40 Move In Time to win 8/1


Five biggest bets on horse racing


The five biggest bets on horse racing might shock a lot of people. Some of these bets actually were successful. However, given the size of the bets, it actually doesn’t always feel as if the winners were truly successful even if they were. Seeing them win is a little more like watching a person almost get crushed to death and avoiding it.



When people play the most popular table games, they are typically risking only a little money for the sake of a fairly large jackpot. This is just not the case for a lot of the large horse racing bets. People often risked huge amounts of money. Horse racing fans might be familiar with the Kentucky Disaster.



After winning 100,000 dollars at a less major horse race, an inexperienced gambler bet it all at the Kentucky Derby, presumably on a horse that he assumed would be a proverbial dark horse. The horse actually did lose, and so did he, in spite of his earlier victory. All gamblers should know to quit while they’re ahead, knowing that victories are to be cherished and not risked again.



William Hill had a somewhat different story, in that he had experienced some major losses previously. He later placed a very daring bet of 500,000 pounds. Shockingly enough, this one managed to work out, and he managed to still get ahead in spite of a lot of his earlier losses.



Sadly, not all gamblers will get second chances like William Hill. Relatively recently, a wealthy couple made an incredibly risky bet at the Del Mar horse races. They had two million dollars in life savings, and they genuinely decided to bet it all on a single horse. As is often the case in situations like this, they lost. While the couple was supposedly drunk at the time, most drunken mistakes do not cost people such a staggering amount of money.



People should also never be led in by the name of a horse. A horse called Big Bucks might seem like a sure bet. One gambler decided that Big Bucks was so sure to win that he could risk 796,000 dollars on that possibility. Sadly, even the most successful racing horses will eventually falter, and that was what happened here.



Of course, a horse connected to one of the most successful bets in horse racing history was called A Dream Come True. The gambler who bet on this horse managed to win one million dollars on this horse. This is the sort of situation that a lot of people dream about, although this successful gambler was also clearly taking a huge risk in the process.



Ultimately, a lot of horse racing fans just need to keep their bets in perspective in order to find a way to enjoy the game without risking too much. There have been some successful people who bet everything. There have also been people who lost everything in a horse race. There is no reason for a simple horse race to change a person’s entire life in a negative way.


Thirsk Racecourse

In the Northern Yorkshire area, a real passion for racing exists. As the premium racecourse in the region, then, Thirsk Racecourse is one of the most popular of its kind. Located in Thirsk itself, this small racecourse is relatively straightforward. For many, it’s that simplicity that makes it stand out so much.

The left-handed oval nature makes it stand out as a more Americanized design. Around 1 mile in length, it has 2 furlongs with a 3-furlong finishing straight, and a 6-curlong chute. This makes for exciting races that, while simple, are often deeply competitive and can be incredible fun to watch.

The course has stood in a version of its present self for close a century. Opened in 1923, it’s the legacy of more than two centuries of prior racing before it was finally built as a primary spot to race in.

For this year, the area has a rich history of horse training, long established before even Thirsk Racecourse was opened. This means that many trainers use the excellent course, making the most of the road which takes you from Thirsk to Ripon.

While it’s a race short on much history in the way of unique races, it’s got a rather sombre tale to tell. It was the substitute for the St. Leger race for the 1940 edition. As the edition held during the Second World War, it holds a rather sombre reputation. That aside, though, this is a racecourse with plenty of charm and spectacle.

QIPCO Champions Day

The Qipco British Champions day takes place at Ascot in October in which many of the top European and overseas horses take the turf. It is the richest day in the racing calendar in the UK so is targeted by connections of many of the top race horses. This year there is an amazing £4.26 million in prize money on offer and will be the biggest day in British flat racing. Qipco British Champions day is Racing’s big finale of the flat season and is the culmination of the European flat season where champions are crowded over their respective distances. Here we look at the main horses expected to be running in each championship race.



The Long distance cup is a group 2 flat race over 1m 7f 209y. It has prize money of £450,000 for the field to content for. This year’s race looks set to be a clash between Royal Ascot Gold cup 1-2 Order of St George and Big Orange. Order of St George will be the favourite after his fairly luckless run in the Gold cup and will be expected to take revenge on his rival. His chances can be further backed up following his solid run to finish third in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe. Betfair horse racing odds currently make Order of St George the 5/4 favourite with Big Orange at 9/2.



The Champion sprint stakes is the second race set to take place on this star studded card. The race is a group 1 over the speedy 6f Ascot straight. The prize money for the race is £600,000 and was won by The Tin Man last year and he will be back to defend his crown. The three year old July cup winner Harry Angel will be one of the shortest priced favourites on the day and will take all the beating. The biggest dangers will most like be provided by the rejuvenated Brando and Caravaggio. Betfair make Harry Angel the 13/8 favourite with Caravaggio at 4/1 and The Tin Man in at 13/2.



The next race on the card is the British Champion Fillies and Mares Stakes that is a group 1 over 1m 3f 211y. The prize money for the event is £600,000 as last year’s winner Journey will be returning to defend her crown. Her key rival will be Bateel who is on a roll having won her last three races including beating Journey by two and a half lengths in the Qatar Prix Vermeille at Chantilly. Betfair make Journey there 7/2 favourite with Bateel in at 9/2.



The penultimate race on the card is a group 1 over 1m with whopping prize money of £1,100,000. Unfortunately last year’s winner and superstar Minding has been retired due to injury so will not be defending her crown. Minding became the last horse since the legend Frankel to win four QIPCO British Champions series races in one season. This year now has a more open look to it with last year’s runner up Ribchester the favourite at 11/4. He is followed in by Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes winner Churchill at 4/1 and the rapidly improving 3 year old Beat the Bank at 9/2. Beat the Bank has only been beaten once in his six race career including demolishing a high class field most recently by 5 lengths.



The final race on the card is the big one with prize money of £1,300,000. It is a group 1 over 1m 1f 212y in which last year’s champion will again not be there to defend its crown. Champion three year old of last year Almanzor cemented himself as the best in Europe when storming clear to win last year’s race. However this year has a very open look to it with Cracksman heading the betting at 5/2 for Gosden and Dettori. He side stepped the Arc with Stable star Enable winning so will be expected to go close. His potential dangers will be headed by multiple group 1 winning star filly Winter at 5/1 and the St James’s Palace Stakes winner in Barney Roy at 6/1.




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