The entries for the QIPCO British Champion Fillies & Mares Stakes have thrown up a head-to-head between Flat racing’s two top trainers with John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien responsible for nearly half of the 41 entered.
Three-time champion trainer Gosden has an incredibly-powerful team spearheaded by Investec Oaks winner Anapurna and that also includes Qatar Nassau Stakes runner-up Mehdaayih and Kerrygold Irish Oaks winner Star Catcher.
Last Year’s Second and Third
Gosden said: “We’ve had an amazing year for owner-bred middle-distance fillies. One thing that’s given us a huge amount of pleasure this year is that we’ve had six individual Group 1 winners for six individual different owner-breeders. That, to me, is what it’s about.
“We’ve had Oaks winners, Ribblesdale winners, all kind of things. Obviously, the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares is a race we’ll be concentrating on.
“Anapurna is one, very much so. She’s in great order. It was always the plan to give her a break after the Oaks. She had a busy spring so we have freshened her up.
“Mehdaayih has come out of Goodwood in very good order. She doesn’t mind a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half. Star Catcher obviously gets a mile and a half well.
“We were delighted Coronet was able to win a Group 1 in France. She is an incredibly tough and consistent filly and I’m sure we’ll be looking towards QIPCO British Champions Day with her again.”
Star Catcher’s owner Anthony Oppenheimer is no stranger to success on QIPCO British Champions Day following the success of Cracksman in 2017 and 2018.
Oppenheimer said, “I would think Star Catcher could run in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares race, definitely.
“I would think if she was going to go to QIPCO British Champions Day she would probably go to the Prix Vermeille on the way.
“She seems to be improving gradually but surely. We’re very pleased with her.
“Her Irish Oaks win was fantastic, mainly due to the jockey. Frankie Dettori rode a brilliant race.”
O’Brien will also have a strong pack to shuffle as he attempts to win the QIPCO British Champion Fillies & Mares Stakes for the third year running.
Last Year’s Winner
Magical could return with ambitions of becoming the first back-to-back winner of the race and the third two-time winner on QIPCO British Champions Day after Frankel and Cracksman. She followed her Royal Ascot second behind Crystal Ocean in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes with an equally-good effort when runner-up behind Enable in the Coral-Eclipse.
O’Brien said: “Magical is on a little break at the moment. Whether she’ll be back in time for York or somewhere like that we’ll see. Then we’ll get going again but obviously she’s a possible for all those races later on, including the fillies’ race on QIPCO British Champions Day.”
Magical could be joined by dual 1000 Guineas winner Hermosa. She was bitterly disappointing when she trailed in last in the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood. Her trainer was at a loss to explain the poor run and suggested maybe she just had an “off-day”.
The QIPCO British Champion Fillies & Mares Stakes has been won by horses from the Classic generation in four of the last five years. Fleeting and Pink Dogwood – second and third in the Irish Oaks – are other O’Brien three-year-olds with QIPCO British Champions Day on their radar.
Japanese raider Deirdre, surprise winner of the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood last week, could extend her stay in Britain to take in the QIPCO British Champion Fillies & Mares Stakes. She has also been given an entry in the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
Prix de Diane Longines (French Oaks) winner Channel could bid to give France a win in the race whilst superstar mare Enable and two-time Group 1 winner Iridessa are other eye-catching names.
Full entries for the QIPCO Champion Fillies & Mares Stakes:
Anapurna (GB), Antonia de Vega (IRE), Bella Vita (GB), Channel (IRE), Coronet (GB), Dame Malliot (GB), Deirdre (JPN), Delphinia (IRE), Enable (GB) ,Enbihaar (IRE) ,Fleeting (IRE) ,Frosty (IRE), Goddess (USA), Hermosa (IRE), Iridessa (IRE), Klassique (GB), Lady Bergamot (FR), Lah Ti Dar (GB), Ligne d’Or (GB), Magical (IRE), Magic Wand (IRE), Manuela de Vega (IRE), Mehdaayih (GB), Morgan Le Faye (GB), Musis Amica (IRE), Mutamakina (GB), Nausha (GB), Pelligrina (IRE), Pilaster (GB), Pink Dogwood (IRE), Promissory (IRE), Red Tea (GB), Search For A Song (IRE), South Sea Pearl (IRE), Sparkle Roll (FR), Star Catcher (GB), Sun Maiden (GB), Tarnawa (IRE), Trethias (GB), Who’s Steph (IRE), Worth Waiting (GB)