British Racing Preview: Champions Day & more

The heavier the going the better for Cracksman backers at Ascot on Saturday

Will Reilly looks forward to this week’s British racing highlights

QIPCO Champions Day:

On Saturday, Britain will stage its most-valuable race meeting of the year, QIPCO Champions Day. It takes place at Ascot and will carry £4.35million in prize-money. The card consists of four Group One races, one Group Two contest and a £250,000 mile handicap that closes the card.

The most-valuable race is the £1.3million Champion Stakes (3:50pm). Its roll of honour includes New Approach, Frankel, Almanzor and last year’s winner Cracksman, who will bid to become the second dual-winner of the race after Twice Over (2009-2010).

Every drop of rain that fell on the track on Sunday and Monday will have been welcomed by Cracksman’s connections although not by those involved with his stablemate Roaring Lion, who is vying for favouritism with French raider Recoletos for the £1.3million Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (3:15pm).

The meeting gets under way at 1:25pm and starts with the £500,000 Group Two British Champions Long Distance Cup, a race that Ireland has won five times in the last seven years.

Racing on Saturday

Ascot is the jewel in Britain’s racing crown this weekend, although it will be well served by racing on Saturday with Market Rasen (first race 1:40pm) staging a £50,000 handicap chase, Catterick (1:50pm) featuring the £35,000 Catterick Dash, and Ffos Las’s highlight being the £45,000 Dunraven Group Welsh Champion Hurdle on a card that is due to start at 2:10pm.

Saturday’s racing also includes a jumping card at Stratford (2:30pm) and an evening meeting from Wolverhampton (5:40pm).

Valuable Races

Other valuable races from Wednesday onwards in Britain are:

The £25,000 TBA #ThisFillyCan Fillies’ Handicap (Nottingham, Wednesday, first race 1:30pm)

The £40,000 British Stallion Studs EBF Beckford Stakes, a Listed Race for fillies and mares (Bath, Wednesday, first race 1:50pm)

A £40,000 Listed hurdle race, and a £20,000 novices’ hurdle, also a Listed Race (Kempton, Sunday, first race 2pm)

The £30,000 Sedgefielders Racing App Durham National Handicap Chase (Sedgefield, Sunday, first race 2:10pm)

On Wednesday, Wetherby will stage its first jumping meeting of the season but, no doubt, many an eye will by then be cast towards Ascot on Saturday, the day that the curtain will also come down on the current flat racing season in Britain.

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