The QIPCO Champion Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, which formed part of a dazzling QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot in October, were today ranked among the top ten races run in the world last year at the Longines World’s Best Racehorse & Best Horse Race Ceremony held at Claridges in London. QIPCO British Champions Day was the only race day in Europe to have two races in the top ten.
Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series said: “Our aspiration for Champions Day has always been to put on a world class race day with the finest equine talent battling it out in true Championship races. With the QIPCO Champion Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes both in the top ten, together with a card that included the Group 1 Sprint and Fillies and Mares races, the Group 2 Long Distance Cup and the richest mile handicap in Europe, it was arguably the best single race day in the world last year. It’s easy to forget that Champions Day was only six years old last October and yet it has established itself as a fitting finale to the European Flat season. We continue to go from strength to strength and are looking forward to the start of this year’s British Champions Series at Newmarket for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.”
The Group 1 QIPCO Champion Stakes, Europe’s most valuable mile and a quarter contest, was ranked the top race run in Britain last year and, overall, the fifth best in the world during 2016. The ten-runner £1.3 million showpiece provided a glittering climax to last year’s QIPCO British Champion Day and was won in tremendous style by the outstanding Almanzor. The French-trained colt beat Found, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner, by two lengths with the next three home – Jack Hobbs, My Dream Boat and The Grey Gatsby – also being winners at the highest level.
The QIPCO-sponsored Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, one of four Group 1s on Champions Day, was ranked tenth best race of the year. Fabulous filly Minding won the £1.1m mile feature by half a length from Ribchester, with Classic winners Galileo Gold, Awtaad and Jet Setting among the supporting cast.
American colt Arrogate (rating 134) was acclaimed as Longines World’s Best Racehorse but, overall, within the top 18 rated horses, 10 shone in last year's 35-race QIPCO British Champions Series. Almanzor (129) was rated fourth-highest and British racegoers can look forward to seeing more of him this year as Jean-Claude Rouget, his trainer, has already indicated he will attempt to gain more QIPCO British Champions Series honours this summer – with the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot a nominated target.
The Roger Varian-trained Postponed (124), winner of the Investec Coronation Cup and Juddmonte International Stakes, was ranked joint-eighth highest. Found, who during her career finished runner-up in six QIPCO British Champions Series without quite managing to win one, was allotted the same figure. Highland Reel (123), Limato (122), Minding (122), Ribchester (122), Tepin (122) and The Gurkha (122) also featured prominently among the hundreds of horses who came under global scrutiny.
The exploits of Galileo Gold (121), Harzand (121), Mecca’s Angel (121), Jack Hobbs (120), Journey (120), Lightning Spear (120), Mutakayyef (120), My Dream Boat (120) and Order Of St George (120) were also recognised.
This year's QIPCO British Champions Series gets under way with the QIPCO 2000 Guineas on May 6 at Newmarket.Tickets for QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 21 October are on sale now.