THE Grey Gatsby, Australia, Free Eagle, Estimate, Brown Panther, Sheikhzayedroad, Charm Spirit, Bow Creek and Pomology are some of the star names all set to head to Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 18 October, the richest day in British racing.
In the latest round of their season-long rivalry The Grey Gatsby came out on top to win the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes on Saturday in dramatic style from Australia.
European stars The Grey Gatsby and Australia could renew their rivalry at Ascot.
Trainer Kevin Ryan said: “We’ll have to see how he comes out of this race but we would love to meet Australia again and if our horse continues in the same order we’ll be looking at Ascot.
“Ryan Moore has great faith in the horse, which is very important. He believed he could win the race. We’d love to keep Ryan on him and if he can ride him at Ascot that would be an added bonus.”
Australia was second and Aidan O’Brien said: “I’d imagine Australia’s next race will be at Ascot over ten furlongs (2000m) or a mile (1600m). I’m not ruling him out of anything but I’d say the Arc is unlikely.”
Trading Leather (third), Mukhadram (fourth) and Al Kazeem (fifth) also have entries in the £1.3m Qipco Champion Stakes.
Free Eagle, winner of a Group 3 race at Leopardstown on Saturday by seven lengths, also has the Champion Stakes in his sights. Dermot Weld said of the horse, who has only run three times: “We can think of what might have been, but that’s life.
“He’s come back nicely, he’s a very laid back horse and it was difficult to get him fit as I wanted for today, so there should be some natural improvement in him. I think the Champion Stakes at Ascot is the logical target for him, and that’ll be it for this year.”
Sheikhzayedroad may also head for the Champion Stakes after his victory in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday.
David Simcock said: “We’ve got an option of the Canadian International back here on the 19th. He’s also got an entry at Ascot. I’ll speak to his owner and decide where he is going. We’ll either come back here or go to Ascot and then he’ll go to Dubai and start his travels again.”
Following her impressive win at Doncaster in the Socialites Electric Cigarettes Doncaster Cup, the Queen’s filly, Estimate, could also return to Ascot, the home of her most famous win, to line up in the British Champions Long Distance Cup with racing manager John Warren saying, “There are three options, but Ascot could be favourite in the sense that the Queen could see her race again.”
Opposing her will be Brown Panther following his brilliant victory in the Irish St Leger to claim his first Group 1 victory.
Tom Dascombe said: “We’ll look at running him onChampions Day”.
For the £1m Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Charm Spirit is firmly in the mix after his brave victory over the Hannon pair of Toronado and Night Of Thunder in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin at Longchamp on Sunday.
Trainer Freddy Head said: “I don’t think we’ll go to the Breeders’ Cup – we’re thinking of going to Ascot on Champions Day. We might have to meet Kingman and he will have a fight.”
After Bow Creek’s victory in the Group 2 Boomerang Mile at Leopardstown on Saturday,
Charlie Johnston said: “To win it shows he is on an upward curve. A Group 1 is almost certainly the next step.
“The only option left in Europe is the QEII and that will definitely come in for strong consideration.” – GBI Racing