A touch of Magic from O’Brien in Ascot Qipco Champion Stakes


  • Stoute dreams of G1 Qipco Sprint Stakes glory
  • Dettori eyes Ascot double on Stradivarius and Palace Pier

By Andrew Atkinson

Ballydoyle trainer Aidan O’Brien heads for Ascot’s QIPCO British Champions Day on Saturday with stable stars, including Magical (3.40) tipped to win the Quipco Group 1 Champion Stakes over 1m 1f. Lord North trained by John Gosden and ridden by James Doyle is tipped each-way.

O’Brien, who has saddled eight previous winners on Qipco British Champions Day, rolls out a cortege of his big guns on the 10th anniversary of Ascot’s showcase meeting.

O’Brien, who suffered the consequence of horses being withdrawn from the Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, due to contaminated feed, said: “We had to think hard about what we did with the horses that were due to go to France.

“For a long time their preparation had been geared around the Arc weekend – when you carry on for another two weeks it’s not always ideal.

“It can be tricky to keep the momentum going. We were looking forward to Arc weekend and the horses were training really well.

“We changed the route with them and we’ll see what will happen, but they seem to be in good form.”

On the Champions Stakes O’Brien said: “This has been the target for Magical since Leopardstown.”

Magical, ridden by Ryan Moore, was set to retire but the five-year-old has been kept in training, amid Group One triumphs at The Curragh and in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

“Her top-level tally stands at seven – she may well have been into double figures – had she not bumped into retired Enable, on several occasions.

“Enable has been a great filly and with Magical they had some great races together.

“We were delighted that it was decided to keep Magical in training – she’s in good form.”

Stradivarius (1.20) trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori is tipped by fromthehorsesmouth.info to win the Group 2 Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup over 1m 7f, in a race that sees Broome and Sovereign represented by O’Brien.

Andrew Balding trained Spanish Mission (1.20) 14-1 ridden by William Buick is worthy of each-way support.

Sir Michael Stoute trained Dream Of Dreams (1.55) ridden by Oisin Murphy is tipped to win the Group 1 Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes after victory in the Hungerford Stakes in August and the Sprint Cup win at Haydock Park.

Roger Teal trained Oxted (7-1) ridden by Cieron Fallon is tipped each-way.

Wonderful Tonight (2.30) trained by D. Menuisier and ridden by William Buick, winner of the Prix de Royallieu on Arc weekend, is selected by fromthehorsesmouth.info to follow-up in landing the Group 1 Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes over 1m 3f.

Palace Pier (3.05) trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori, unbeaten in five starts, is tipped to win the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over 1 mile. Circus Maximus (10-1) trained by Aidan O’Brien is selected each-way.

23 runners go to post in the Class 2 Balmoral Handicap over 1 mile with fromthehorsesmouth.info each-way selections Keats (4.15) trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore; and Tempus (4.15) trained by Roger Charlton and ridden by Jason Watson.

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