Thursday, 27 October 2011

Ascot Awarded Top Marks in the Enjoy England Quality Assured Scheme

Ascot Racecourse has again been awarded Quality Assured status by Enjoy England, but with an even better score. The accolade assesses the level of customer care and service at visitor attractions across the country from arboreta to zoos. By displaying the easily recognised Enjoy England Quality Rose at the Berkshire track, racegoers can be confident their experience will be of the highest quality.

The Enjoy England Quality Rose was created to reassure customers before they visit their chosen attraction. The criteria is judged by an independent assessor on an annual basis and Enjoy England can then ensure that the standards experienced are as high as possible and the venue is worthy of carrying this auspicious mark. Customers can relax, book with confidence and get on with the real business of having a fantastic day out. The Quality Rose is the mark of England’s official, nationwide quality assessment scheme and is an independent, reliable, impartial assessment of quality covering just about every type of place you might want to stay or visit.

VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, James Berresford said: ‘The team at Ascot Racecourse deserve to be congratulated for achieving such a high score in their Quality Assessment report. As one of the premier racecourses in England, Ascot is leading the industry in delivering excellent standards of customer service and a high quality racing experience to seasoned racegoers and newcomers alike.’

John Blake, Head of Sales and Marketing at the Berkshire track enthused: ‘We are delighted to have been awarded the Quality Rose by Enjoy England. This recognition underpins our status as a first class national tourism attraction. It is especially exciting as it rounds off a wonderful year with Royal Ascot being awarded Gold in the Enjoy England Awards in April,’

Ascot is committed to providing a value-for-money and fun day out for all customers with Royal Ascot, live music, food, wine and beer festivals, family days and world class racing action.

For further information, please contact:
John Blake, Head of Sales & Marketing, Ascot Racecourse, 01344 878512, 07917 521429,,  

Monday, 24 October 2011

Ascot Racecourse’s Jumps Season Starts With a Bang And a Bump In The Night!

On Saturday 29th October, the 2011/12 Jumps season starts with a bang as Ascot Racecourse once again hosts the United House Group Day and Firework Spectacular, but this year the Family Raceday, has a distinctly spooky feel. The feature race on the day is the £100,000 United House Gold Cup Chase over three miles.

Away from the excitement on the track there will be a host of rides on the Plaza Lawns including where you can experience the thrill of the Superbowl and the Super Star, Gasp on Oxygen or join in with the spooky Halloween theme as you wander round the House of Horrors and of course a number of fun rides for younger racegoers.

There will also be entertainment from Uncle Doom and his Organ of Gloom, Baron Von Grindle has risen from the dead and the resident Ascot Witch will all be on hand as well as some horror make-up, all of which is provided free of charge. Children are also welcome to wear fancy dress throughout the raceday.

Following racing, with toffee apples and candy floss at the ready, Ascot presents a Charity Firework Display in association with the Ascot Round Table, so wrap up warm and prepare for a spectacular show!

Amanda Sharp, a local resident said:

“We had such a great time at Ascot last year we’ve decided to come back again. The adults get to watch some exciting racing action whilst the kids have some fun on the fairground rides and to top it all off we can eat our toffee apples watching the spectacular firework display after racing”

All entertainment is free of charge and accompanied children aged 17 and under go racing for free. Adult tickets start from just £17 per person and can be purchased at or by calling 0870 727 1234. Generous group and advance discounts apply.

For further information:
John Blake, Head of Sales and Marketing, Ascot Racecourse; 01344 878512 / 07917 521429
 Vicky Paton, Marketing Manager, Ascot Racecourse, 01344 878 523

Monday, 17 October 2011

British Champions Series to Apply For Race Upgrades

British Champions Series will be applying to upgrade the Group 2 QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes, won in fine style yesterday by dual Oaks heroine Dancing Rain, to Group 1 status next month.

Having surpassed the required average rating of 110 for a fillies’ and mares’ race for three consecutive years, the previous two when it was run as the Pride Stakes at Newmarket, the mile-and-a-half contest now meets the criteria to be considered by the European Pattern Committee for elevation to the top level.

An application is also likely to be made to upgrade the Group 2 QIPCO British Champions Sprint, won by the brilliant Deacon Blues, to Group 1 status as well.

“Yesterday exceeded our wildest expectations for the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day with such high class fields, absolute top class winners and a record autumn Flat crowd for the modern era,” said British Champions Series Chief Executive, Rod Street.

“There is a great deal for us to review over the coming weeks, but one obvious thing we would like to improve is the official status of the two Group 2 races and one Group 3 on the card.

“Clearly we would like to have five Group 1s and after yesterday I don’t think anyone could say that the day does not merit that.

“Whilst it may be difficult to achieve, yesterday’s ratings will have ensured that we made some great strides towards our goal and, as well as applying to upgrade the Fillies and Mares, we also hope that the Sprint might qualify for fast-track elevation given that it does not conflict with the five furlong Prix de l’Abbaye on Arc weekend.

“Different horses tend to run over five and six furlongs and there is considerable logic in having a late season Group 1 sprint over six furlongs as well as five.

“The Group 3 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup is much more difficult given the presence of the Group 1 Prix Royal Oak at Longchamp next weekend, but we would be delighted if it could achieve Group 2 status in the near future.

“Having had what are arguably the top two stayers in the world finish first and second yesterday, the same one-two from the Group 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, we will have comfortably achieved the requisite rating for the race this year.”

“We are very grateful to the European Pattern Committee to have supported the vision that made yesterday possible and we look forward to working with them to strengthen further the overall autumn European Pattern.”


Alistair Haggis, British Champions Series: 07761 896 500;
QIPCO British Champions Series – the world’s finest Flat racing

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

At The Races to Produce First Ever 3D Horseracing Feature for the QIPCO British Champions Day

At The Races, the dedicated racing channel available in 13 million Sky and Virgin homes, will produce and edit a groundbreaking 3D feature programme to mark the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot this Saturday. It will be the first time British horseracing has been filmed in 3D. The feature is a co-production between ATR, QIPCO and the British Champions Series.

The 24 minute film will be used as a centrepiece at a press and industry event to launch the 2012 QIPCO British Champions Series next year and ATR is also in talks with 3D distributors, service providers and hardware manufacturers worldwide about rights to use the feature.

ATR will use 3D specialist production partner, CAN Communicate, to shoot at Ascot on six 3D cameras. Each 3D camera will actually be made up of two cameras set up to capture action from different angles. Two sets of footage will then be displayed to the viewer simultaneously allowing the brain to determine depth and perspective. Bespoke rigs on the ATR production will allow for smooth zooming, something difficult to achieve in 3D broadcast. State of the art post production systems will generate maximum impact and feature-film quality.

ATR, QIPCO and the British Champions Series are also delighted to announce that legendary racing broadcaster, Sir Peter O’Sullevan, will record the voiceover for the film.

Matthew Imi, Chief Executive of At The Races said, "We believe that racing is ideally suited to 3D broadcast. We want to use the latest technology to capture the colour, impact and excitement of this exceptional day and really create something that can help promote QIPCO British Champions Day, Ascot Racecourse and British racing more generally around the world. We are extremely grateful to Sheikh Fahad for QIPCO’s support of the project and also to the British Champions Series for its involvement. It is also, of course, a real honour to be working with Sir Peter O’Sullevan.”

Sheikh Fahad Al Thani said, “We are proud to extend our association with British racing through this film which should encapsulate the most thrilling raceday ever staged in the UK as well as the richest. We want to be associated with excellence and innovation and British Champions Day is shaping up well to deliver that.”

Rod Street, Chief Executive of the British Champions Series, said, "We are delighted ATR has taken this initiative and equally happy to support it. It's a great way to help celebrate what's already been a hugely successful first QIPCO British Champions Series and will launch us into next year with a showcase of what we're sure will be a real spectacle on QIPCO British Champions Day itself."

- ENDS -
For more information please contact:

Matthew Imi
Chief Executive, At The Races
Tel: 0207 420 3203

James Singer
Marketing Director, At The Races
Tel: 0207 420 3218

Queally and Dettori Battle it out for Jockey of the Series Title

DAFA set to benefit if either emerges triumphant

Direct Aid For Africa (DAFA) is set to benefit to the tune of at least £12,500 if either Tom Queally or Frankie Dettori is crowned top jockey in the QIPCO British Champions Series after the final five races are run on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot this Saturday, 15 October.

The Jockey of the Series will be presented with a specially crafted trophy and a cheque for £25,000 for the charity or charities of his choice after the final race, the QIPCO Champion Stakes, has been run.

Both are currently locked together on five victories apiece after the 30 races run so far, with Queally’s biggest contributor, Frankel (who has supplied him with three wins), looking his best chance to add to that tally in Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO. He also has the probable favourite, Vita Nova, in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes and star mare Midday in the QIPCO Champion Stakes.

Likewise Dettori’s biggest contributor, Opinion Poll (who has supplied him with two wins and a second place), appears to be his best chance to enhance his total in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup which opens the QIPCO British Champions Day race programme. Dettori is also likely to partner the highly-regarded Dubai Prince in the QIPCO Champion Stakes and Meeznah in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes.

Queally currently edges the battle on the strength of his three second places to Dettori’s two, but a victory or second place for likely favourite Opinion Poll would take Dettori into the lead.

If successful, Queally would donate £15,000 to DAFA (Direct Aid For Africa), a charity founded by Newmarket trainer Barney Curley in 1996 to improve the lives of people in the Third World through a range of projects focusing on health care, education and self-help, £5,000 to the Jack And Jill Foundation, which provides care and support for children with severe neurological development issues in his native Ireland, and £5,000 for Save Historic Newmarket, which was formed in 2008 in order to protect and preserve the unique identity of the home of British horseracing.

Dettori would give £12,500 to DAFA and £12,500 to the Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy, which helps young people with special needs to relate more successfully to others and have greater and more appropriate control over their own lives through an interaction with horses.

William Buick has four wins to his name and will be hoping to add to that with Gertrude Bell in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes and Nathaniel in the QIPCO Champion Stakes, but he has just the one second place and will therefore need two victories without reply from Queally or Dettori to take the inaugural title.


JOCKEY WINS 2nds 3rds
1 Tom Queally 5 3 0
2 Frankie Dettori 5 2 2
3 William Buick 4 1 1
4 Richard Hughes 2 2 2
5 Hayley Turner 2 0 0

In the event of a tie for the number of winners, the number of seconds and thirds (and, if necessary, lower placings) will be taken into account


With six victories to his name, Sir Henry Cecil leads Mahmood Al Zarooni by one winner in the Trainer of the Series table, but with one more second place to his name as well and Frankel, Vita Nova, Twice Over and Midday running for him on QIPCO British Champions Day, he looks nailed on for the inaugural title.

As with the Jockey of the Series, the trainer will receive a special trophy and a cheque for £25,000 for the charity or charities of his choice.

Al Zarooni is set to be represented in two races – with Opinion Poll in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup and Dubai Prince and Casamento in the QIPCO Champion Stakes – and would need to win them both without reply from Cecil to top the table.


TRAINER WINS 2nds 3rds
1 Sir Henry Cecil 6 3 1
2 Mahmood Al Zarooni 5 2 0
3 Aidan O’Brien 3 5 3
4 John Gosden 3 1 2
5 Richard Hannon 2 3 0
6 David Simcock 2 0 1

In the event of a tie for the number of winners, the number of seconds and thirds (and, if necessary, lower placings) will be taken into account


Alistair Haggis, British Champions Series: 07761 896 500;

QIPCO British Champions Series – the world’s finest Flat racing

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Botti Hoping for Third Time Lucky as Excelebration Takes on Frankel

Excelebration will be racing against Frankel for the third time in the £1-million Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Sponsored by QIPCO at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day, Saturday, October 15.

He finished second, beaten four lengths, to Frankel in the Greenham Stakes over seven furlongs at Newbury on April 16 and third to Frankel, beaten two and a quarter lengths, in the mile St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 14.

Excelebration has won his other three races this year - the Mehl Mulhens-Rennen (the German 2,000 Guineas - Cologne - Group Two - May 22 - a mile), the CGA Hungerford Stakes (Newbury - Group Two - August 13 - seven furlongs) and the Qatar Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (Group One - September 11 - a mile)

Marco Botti said: “I have to say we are very pleased with the horse - he looks in good order since he came back from France. He had his final piece of work on Saturday and everything went well. He looks healthy and is ready to run

“We are hoping to close the gap with Frankel - whether we will be good enough to beat him, who knows. I am aware it is a difficult task, but that’s racing. In another era without Frankel, we could have been the best miler in Europe. It is still nice to have the chance to take on the best horse in the world. For a young trainer, it is very important to have a good horse that can be part of a big meeting.

“I have heard good things about Frankel. He has had a break since Goodwood and is going to be difficult to beat. If Sir Henry Cecil says Frankel is the best horse he has had, then it’s scary! I can’t see any weaknesses in Frankel and it will be no disgrace to finish second to him again.

“It was a good run in the Greenham Stakes, considering our horse was lacking experience and having his first run of the year. We knew Frankel would beat us, but we just wanted to test our horse.

“The St James’s Palace was a little bit of a rough race and he was beaten two lengths. Our horse has improved a lot since Ascot - he is physically stronger and has grown a bit too.

“I wouldn’t say he was unlucky at Royal Ascot but the race just didn’t pan out for him. He lost ground leaving the stalls and got hampered. He had to chase Frankel and had no chance to find his stride. That was the only time he has every hung. I don’t think we would have won, but I think we could have finished closer to Frankel.

“This will be the third time we meet Frankel - hopefully it will be third time lucky!
“He is very correct and a tough and courageous horse - he always gives his best. He has a great attitude and he is so switched off in his work. Also on the day of the race, he is relaxed - he just walks around the paddock so that is good.
“When he won the German Guineas in Cologne, the ground went a bit soft and it was heavy last time out which was too soft. Jamie Spencer came back and said he got away with it but hopefully we won’t find that ground at Ascot.
“Frankel will have a pacemaker and so there should be a good, even pace which should suit everyone. The straight course should also help Excelebration and l am happy with the weather forecast as he wants good ground.

“He did not cost a lot at the sales - we were lucky to get him. He is a lovely horse and now we need a bit of luck on Saturday.
“It is great to have a horse like Excelebration to run against Frankel and hopefully we’ll run a good race. It is exciting and I am really looking forward to the race. Every trainer hopes for good horses that can go for good races. It is very exciting for the yard.
“We haven’t decided what we will do after Ascot. He could maybe go to Hong Kong but the Breeders’ Cup looks very unlikely as it would come too soon.
“I need to talk to the owners about whether he stays in training next year. I would love to have him back next year as he improved physically throughout the season and in my opinion should make up into a better four-year-old.”

The going at Ascot this morning (Monday 10th October) changed to

Good to Firm, Good in places

from Good.

The GoingStick Readings at 9.30am

Straight: 10

Round 9.9

Weather Forecast

An odd light shower is possible today and tomorrow, with blustery winds until Wednesday - the weather is forecast to be mainly dry during the week.


Four millimetres are being applied to the straight by boom currently and four millimetres will be put on the round course tonight.

Chris Stickels, Clerk of the Course at Ascot, said at noon: “The strong breeze has dried up the course in the last 24 hours and this has prompted today’s watering.
“I don’t want to be putting on a lot of water on the course at this time of year but we will monitor the situation through the week as the forecast is for mainly dry weather.

“I am looking to offer ground which is a combination of good and good to firm on Saturday.”


3 b c Exceed And Excel (AUS) - Sun Shower (IRE) (Indian Ridge)
Form: 411-21311 Owner: Manfredini, Tabor, Smith & Magnier
Trainer: Marco Botti Breeder: Owenstown Stud Jockey: Jamie Spencer


Excelebration has lived up to his name and that of his sire, Exceed And Excel, with some brilliant performances on the track that make him one of the bargain buys of the century. Bred by Owenstown Stud, the colt was offered for sale at Goffs in November, 2008 and was knocked down to John Walsh Bloodstock for only 15,000 euros. Put through the sales ring once again at the Doncaster St Leger Yearling Sale in August, 2009, trainer Marco Botti secured Excelebration for a relatively modest £20,000. The colt made his debut for Botti and owner Giuliano Manfredini in May, 2010, finishing fourth in a Nottingham six-furlong maiden. He won his remaining two starts as a juvenile, seeing off the smart Belgian Bill at Doncaster in June and then easily landing a conditions race over the same trip at Newmarket in July. Excelebration did not reappear until his three-year-old bow in April, 2011, when he was set a seemingly impossible task against the mighty Frankel in the Group Three Greenham Stakes at Newbury. Botti’s charge ran with credit, finishing four lengths second to the subsequent QIPCO 2,000 Guineas hero. The fast improving colt was sent to Cologne for his next outing on May 22, when he toyed with his rivals in soft going to land the Group Two German 2,000 Guineas over a mile by a comfortable seven lengths under Adam Kirby. Next up was Royal Ascot and a rematch with Frankel in the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes. Excelebration was once again vanquished but reduced the margin of defeat to two and a quarter lengths as he finished third in the mile showpiece. Excelebration enjoyed a high summer rest before returning with a smooth six-length victory in the Group Two Hungerford Stakes on August 13. Excelebration’s impressive performance in that Newbury seven-furlong contest prompted Coolmore’s Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Sue Magnier to purchase a controlling interest in the colt, at a cost thought to be in excess of £1.5 million. The deal allows Excelebration to race in Manfredini’s colours until the end of 2011, at which point a decision will be made as to whether he races on at four or retires to stud. Excelebration rewarded that investment at Longchamp on September 11 with a first Group One victory in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp over a mile on heavy going under Jamie Spencer. It was announced in early October that Coolmore had purchased the colt’s dam, Sun Shower, from Hazara Stud in India. Sun Shower is out of Miss Kemble, a half-sister to Group One Irish Oaks winner Princess Pati.

Race Record: Starts: 8; Wins: 5; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £402,197

Marco Botti

Hailing from one of Italy’s most successful racing families, Marco Botti was born on December 23, 1976. Alduino Botti, Marco’s father, formed a formidable partnership with his cousin, Giuseppe Botti, with the pair being crowned champion trainer in Italy on numerous occasions. As well as riding 48 winners as an amateur in his homeland, Botti worked as assistant trainer to his father and gained further experience under Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor, fellow Newmarket trainers Ed Dunlop and Luca Cumani, and Bill Mott in the USA. In 2006 he took out a licence to train from Green Ridge Stables in Newmarket and notched his first winner when the Giuliano Manfredini-owned Ceremonial Jade won a Beverley maiden on June 27 of that year. His first season also produced an initial Pattern race winner as the filly Sesmen won the Group Three Prestige Stakes at Goodwood, while in 2007, his stable star was another juvenile filly, the Group Three Oh So Sharp Stakes heroine Raymi Coya, who was owned by Peruvian football star Claudio Pizarro. In 2009, Botti enjoyed a first top level success when Gitano Hernando annexed the Grade One Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita, California. This year has seen Botti add a first European Group One and an initial European Classic to his CV thanks to Excelebration, whose tally in 2011 includes the Group One Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, Group Two German 2,000 Guineas and Group Two CGA Hungerford Stakes. Also this year, Fanunalter took the Group Three Investec Diomed Stakes at Epsom on Derby day. Botti’s best season numerically came in 2008 when he saddled 45 winners. He is married to Lucia, a former jockey, and the couple has two children.

No previous runners in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Sponsored by QIPCO

Cecil, Crisford, Fanshawe and Gosden Talk About Their Hopes for QIPCO British Champions Day

Trainers Sir Henry Cecil, James Fanshawe and John Gosden, plus Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford, were all present today at a press conference at the National Stud in Newmarket to talk about their hopes for the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day.

QIPCO British Champions Day, run at Ascot this Saturday, October 15, is the richest raceday ever to take place in Britain, with £3 million in prize money.

Please find below quotes on a race by race basis from those present today.

1.50pm £200,000 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup, Group Three, Two Miles

John Gosden: “People enjoy watching these long races. It sets up the day nicely. We don’t want the first race to be a sprint that is over in a flash.

“The entries look to have good strength in depth. We run Nehaam and it would be lovely if he could get a place. He has won at Ascot before and is a grand horse. He is in good nick.”

Simon Crisford: "Opinion Poll is in tremendous form and has been very, very consistent throughout the whole year, including when he was racing in Dubai.

"He is thoroughly honest and we are very happy with him. Looking at the entries, I would say he could win the race.

"He appreciates a little bit of cut in the ground but ironically some of his best form this year has been on a quick surface. So I don't think the ground is going to be too much of an issue.

"Cavalryman and Darley Sun are possible runners too. Cavalryman has been running over a mile and a half but he hasn't been winning against very high quality middle distance horses.

"So possibly we will give him a chance over a longer trip."

2.25pm £250,000 QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes, Group Two, Six Furlongs

James Fanshawe: “We are very lucky to be going there into the race with two horses who have both won at Ascot.

“Everyone is talking about Deacon Blues but don’t forget Society Rock - he has won two out of three at Ascot and the only time he got beat there was by Starspangledbanner in the Golden Jubilee last year.

“Deacon Blues is improving and has been very impressive in his last four races. He would just like a bit of ease in the ground. If the ground did come up fast, we would have to review our decision about whether he runs. I was at Ascot’s last meeting and the going on the first day was beautiful, so if it is like that again we would be happy.

“The plan is for Johnny Murtagh to ride Deacon Blues and Pat Cosgrave will partner Society Rock.”

3.00pm £250,000 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, Group Two, One Mile & Four Furlongs

Henry Cecil: “Hopefully, we will run Vita Nova.

“She had a slight hiccup - she either got cast in her box or knocked herself but she has had tests and been x-rayed and seems to have come right. She had been working well before that.

“She will have her final piece of work tomorrow. She is an improving filly and hopefully there is more to come.

“She looks terrific and if everything goes well, we will let her take her chance. As long as there is no jar in the ground, she should be fine.”

John Gosden: “After Henry helped us (Gertrude Bell) win the Lancashire Oaks (referring to when Vita Nova’s saddle slipped) we planned to go for the Prix Vermeille but she had a poor blood count.

“She will retire after Saturday’s race and will visit Oasis Dream. She was the first horse bred by my wife (Rachel Hood) - I said she should give up now!”

3.35pm £1,000,000 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO, Group One, One Mile

Sir Henry Cecil: “I think I’ve read more about him (Frankel) than I’ve ever said - what more is there to say?

“He was not easy early on but has grown up a lot and has improved physically. He has been going really well.

“It looks like there are one of two good horses in the race and no race is a formality. There is no such thing as a ‘good thing’ but I am very happy with him.

“I also run Bullet Train (the likely pacemaker). It could help me and it could also help everyone else too. Frankel could take up the running at a certain time but we haven’t decided one, two or three things yet.

“I don’t want it to be a crawl and then turn into a sprint. It will depend on how the race is run as to whether it plays to Frankel’s speed or stamina.

“Bullet Train should make it a true run race. He will not go off like hell in front but is there is we need him.

“Frankel is still an improving horse. Hopefully it will be a nicely run race and he will do what we expect.

“It is important for racing have real champions. Sea The Stars, Arkle, Mill Reef and Desert Orchid - you don’t have to be an enthusiast to have heard of them.

“I hope Frankel can be a champion. I still think he will be a better horse next year.

“I think whether he runs on a straight course or round a bend doesn’t matter. Although at least one bend usually helps, I don’t think it’s a material factor.

“Lets let the horse do the talking.

“I respect Excelebration and Immortal Verse. Marco’s horse (Excelebration) has improved and looks like he adored the soft ground when he won in France.

“I think Immortal Verse won nicely last time, when she beat Goldikova. I have some line on her through Timepiece. Goldikova is a brilliant mare but whether she is as quite as good as she was, I am not sure. So, I have assessed where we stand with the French fillies - but I am not telling you my thoughts!”

Simon Crisford: "Poet's Voice also has an entry in the QIPCO Champion Stakes and he has been a little bit disappointing this year as against the form he showed last season.

"But with each race this season he seems to have improved. He is doing well at the moment and now we have got to weigh which is the best race for him.

"I think we will leave the decision as late as possible. Poet's Voice does seem to be coming back to something nearing his best while Rio De La Plata has run well all year."

4.10pm, £1.3 million QIPCO Champion Stakes, Group One, One Mile & Two Furlongs

John Gosden: “The ground was beautiful at Ascot’s last meeting and it would be great if it could prepared like that again on Saturday.

“Although Nathaniel is stepping down in distance, that is not a great concern to me as when he won the King George there was no pace early and it turned into a mile and a quarter race.

“I think Saturday’s race is going to be very much a draw race. I think it will be critical where you are drawn. If you are on the outside, you will be severely compromised. It could get messy going into Swinley Bottom and it won’t be smooth for the jockeys.

“It looks a strong field with great strength in depth - a race to be celebrated.”

Sir Henry Cecil: “I plan to run Twice Over and Midday.

“Both horses are very well and I am delighted with them.

“They have been trained for the race. This is always the best time of the year for Twice Over and he is better than ever - he is jumping out of his skin. Midday is also better in the second half of the seson.

“Both horses are entitled to run and they could both beat each other.

“Midday can get lazy when she is in front. At York, she got left in front early when the O’Brien horse dropped back.

“Both are really coming to themselves and are not there to make up the field.

“I wouldn’t want to pick any other horse in the field. I have my two horses and they are my friends.”

Simon Crisford:"Casamento is rated 7lb higher than Dubai Prince who is on 110 and will need to run to 125+ to win the race.

"But Dubai Prince is the one horse we have within Godolphin whom we have definitely not seen the best of yet.

"He is a quality colt and he is not going to bounce from his victory at Newbury after a long layoff because that was an easy win for him. He is definitely progressing the way we want him to progress.

"It is impossible to judge his form so far and we don't know how good he is. He hasn't claimed any proper scalps yet but he is exciting us and he belongs in that race alongside very good horses. Whether he is good enough to win, we will find out.

"Casamento is really solid, tough, nice horse. He won the Racing Post Trophy last year. It has taken him a few races ro get back to his best but he is workmanlike colt who does not exude huge quality in terms of acceleration. He needs to be wound up a long way from the finish but he comes into this race after a decent victory in France and we would expect him to run well.

"And obviously Poet's Voice could join those two as a third runner. Sheikh Mohammed will decide on the riding plans closer to the race."


John Gosden

“We know the Flat season cannot start until Cheltenham and Aintree are over and then we get the Craven meeting.

“However, we have never had an end of season championship in Britain although the French rather surreptitiously have tried to make the Arc meeting the European Breeders’ Cup.

“It was not satisfactory the way the season ended in Britain and the QIPCO British Champions Series is just what we needed.

“I am not sure the timing is perfect, but it’s a great concept. It offers a tremendous day’s racing and is something we need.

“Personally, I think the best date for QIPCO British Champions Day would be at the end of the summer festivals, in the first two weeks of September, which would also attract the last of the summer holiday crowd. You would obviously have to get the necessary changes from the Pattern committee - which is hard unless you are French!

“The weather has been kind to us this year - the indian summer is holding up nicely. It’s a great bookend to the season to be able to see Henry’s horse (Frankel).”

Sir Henry Cecil

“It’s a great achievement to have the day. It was badly needed.

“We have the best turf horses here in Europe . They obviously have good horses in America, but they are dirt horses.

“With top-class horses, they need to be brought to a peak five or six times a year and up until now there was nothing to go for at the end of the end of the season except the Breeders’ Cup but it’s very hard to go there.

“For example, Twice Over would have to go for a dirt race at the Breeders’ Cup and has never run on dirt before.”

James Fanshawe

“We have been lucky with the weather this year because in October the ground could go soft, which could distort the results for championship races.

“I would definitely bring the date forward.

“The support of Sheikh Al Thani has been phenomenal.”
Simon Crisford

"QIPCO British Champions Day is very important as Britain has not had a day like this at any time in the past.

"It was quite clear that the summer festivals all work well but at this time of year there was a serious need for a huge day.

"As a consequence, we have been very supportive since day one and we have definitely been targeting these races."

Monday, 10 October 2011

Working Holiday of a Lifetime for the QIPCO Future Stars Winner

A working holiday in the USA courtesy of the sponsors, QIPCO Holding, will be the special prize for the winner of the richest race for apprentice jockeys in this country, the £25,000 QIPCO Future Stars Apprentices’ Handicap which closes the QIPCO British Champions Day card at Ascot on Saturday (15 October).

The timing and destination of the working holiday will be agreed in conjunction with the successful jockey, but it is likely that they will be based in California with one of the trainers used by QIPCO Director Sheikh Fahad's racing operation, Pearl Bloodstock, which has horses with Simon Callaghan and Ben Cecil.

At 2.45pm on Saturday, some of the apprentices will give a special masterclass in race riding on the two equicisers that the public can try out in the Interactive Racing Zone, where racegoers can also meet the retired racehorse, Monsignor, have a go on Nintendo Wii’s “Championship Jockey” or have a crack at a race commentary in the Commentary Karaoke booth.

Sheikh Fahad's representative, David Redvers, said: “Where possible, Sheikh Fahad and his brothers wanted to give added and lasting value to the winners on QIPCO British Champions Day.

“For the winner of the Fillies & Mares race there is the free nomination to Makfi and for the winning rider of the apprentice race we came up with the idea of a working holiday in the USA.

“If you speak to the likes of Frankie Dettori, Kieren Fallon or Hayley Turner, they will point to their experiences in America as being critical to their development into top class riders.”

Kevin Darley, Chief Executive of the Professional Jockeys’ Association, commented: “It’s fantastic that QIPCO Holding are willing to support our stars of the future by providing them with a platform to shine on such a prestigious day.”

Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series Ltd, said: “Staging the country’s most valuable apprentices’ race to close the card will give the future stars of our sport the chance to share some of the limelight on QIPCO British Champions Day, whilst allowing the professional jockeys to meet all media commitments at the end of this ground-breaking new day.”


Alistair Haggis, British Champions Series: 07761 896 500;
QIPCO British Champions Series – the world’s finest Flat racing

Ascot Ale's Coconut Crocodile Wins Ascot's Beer of the Festival

5th CAMRA Ascot Racecourse Beer Festival: Friday 30th September and Saturday 1st October 2011

Coconut Crocodile from Ascot Ales, a speciality golden ale infused with coconut to leave a citrus and grapefruit finish and brewed specifically for the 2011 Ascot Racecourse Beer Festival, beat off 210 other real ales to scoop the Beer of the Festival award as voted for by racegoers.

Ascot Ales in Camberley is the brainchild of husband and wife team Chris and Suzanne Gill. ‘The Beer of the Festival award is keenly contested and I am delighted that our local brewery has bagged the top honours at this year’s Beer Festival. This award is testament to the incredible effort that Chris and Suzanne put into making their brewery such a success’, said John Blake, Head of Sales and Marketing at Ascot Racecourse.

Chris Gill, Managing Director and Head Brewer at Ascot Ales, said he was absolutely delighted that Coconut Crocodile won the Beer of the Festival Award at Ascot Racecourse. ‘I’m very proud to have won this award, which is voted for by the public, it’s a real honour. I love using lots of hops in my beers and enjoy experimenting with different ingredients, in this case coconut!’

‘Many drinkers at the festival were singing the praises of Coconut Crocodile, so it is no surprise to me that it has scooped this honour. It is a distinctive, unusual and excellent beer, and I am very pleased Chris and Suzanne have won this award at their "home" festival’, added Nick Boley, Berkshire South-East CAMRA branch chair.

Bumper crowds, helped by the glorious weather, attended the two day beer festival, which combines real ale with superb quality horseracing. On the track, the plaudits went to Pastoral Player, trained by Hughie Morrison and ridden by Darryll Holland, winner of the £150,000 totescoop6 Challenge Cup - the most valuable seven furlong handicap in Europe.

The 6th Ascot Racecourse CAMRA Beer Festival will be held on Friday 5th and Saturday 6thOctober 2012.


For further information:

John Blake, Head of Sales and Marketing, Ascot Racecourse; 01344 878512 / 07917 521429
  Chris Gill, Managing Director, Ascot Ales; 01276 686696 / 07931 884811
 For Beer Festival logo and images, please contact John Blake

Thursday, 6 October 2011

British Horseracing Hosts its Richest-Ever Day

The richest day in the history of British horse racing is set to captivate an audience of tens of thousands of people at Ascot Racecourse and millions more watching on television in 75 countries around the world.

With £3m in prize-money, QIPCO British Champions Day on Saturday 15 October is the culmination of the first-ever British Champions Series that began in April and comes to a climax in front of Her Majesty The Queen.

Tickets for the big occasion have sold quickly. All Premier Enclosure badges, as well as hospitality areas, have been sold. But there will be plenty of room on the day for visitors who buy Grandstand tickets at £26 each for adults. Accompanied children are admitted free of charge.

As well as the top class horse racing, an array of ‘Best of British’ entertainments is being laid on for visitors to the Berkshire racecourse.

Rod Street, chief executive of the British Champions Series, said: “QIPCO British Champions Day, the spectacular new climax to the season, is the culmination of the inaugural 35-race British Champions Series which has encompassed the very best of British Flat racing.

"We have been so fortunate to have horses like Frankel, Immortal Verse, Twice Over, Midday, Blue Bunting, Dancing Rain, Deacon Blues and Hoof It, Moonlight Cloud and Nathaniel targeting the big races.

“Sensational racing is in prospect and we hope everyone enjoys a very special day at Ascot Racecourse on Saturday 15 October and that it sets a benchmark for years to come - a world-class finale for British racing.”

On the racetrack, all eyes will be on the racehorse of the year Frankel who will appear in the £1m Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. He has won each of his three British Champions Series races to date, and now goes for a fourth.

The climax of the afternoon is the £1.3m QIPCO Champion Stakes at 4.10pm.

But before then, there will be plenty for people to see and do. Gates open at 11am so that visitors can sample the build-up to that races that start at 1.50pm and enjoy a series of ‘Best of British’ and interactive attractions.

  • Household Cavalry - two Household Cavalry riders and horses in their full regalia will lead the runners out on to the racetrack and accompany the victorious horses returning to the winner’s enclosure in each of the five championship races.
  • Legends autographs – five former champion jockeys in Britain – Lester Piggott, Joe Mercer, Willie Carson, Pat Eddery and Kevin Darley – will join Britain’s best ever female jockey, Hayley Turner, who won two Group 1 races this season, and multiple Irish champion jockey, Johnny Murtagh, to sign autographs for racegoers at 12.45pm.
  • Alternative horse power - a display of Triumph motorcycles (including a bespoke Daytona 675 Sports bike in British Champions Series colours) and vintage British cars.
  • Meet the racehorse – after first seeing Joey, the horse originally made famous in the critically acclaimed theatre production ‘War Horse’, visitors can meet and pat former Cheltenham Festival winner Monsignor during the afternoon.
  • Equicisors – two mechanical horses used for jockey training will offer visitors the chance to find out what it’s like to ride a racehorse.
  • Champion Jockey on PlayStation 3 – with the Move Motion Control System, racegoers can experience the thrill of what it feels like to be a real jockey in a race!
  • Commentary karaoke – those who fancy themselves as a race caller can give it a go on a commentary karaoke and take away a recording.
  • Book signing – Felix Francis, son of legendary author Dick Francis, will sign copies of his new book Gamble.
  • The Big Draw – ‘The Big Draw’ is happening across Britain this month and younger racegoers could win £100 in Toys R Us vouchers if they draw something to catch the eye of the judges. Free crayons and drawing paper given out.
  • Great British Brands – thousands of pounds worth of items from great British brands will be on display in the Grandstand, all of which racegoers will be able to win in “text-to-win” competitions during the afternoon.
Tickets: Grandstand Admission- £26 (with 10% advance booking discount £23.40); Premier Admission – SOLD OUT; children - under 18 years of age – free; Parking - free in car park 6; book at or on 0870 727 1234.

Further information from:

Nick Attenborough, Consumer PR Director, on 020 7152 0193 or 07714 146528 or

Share This