LONG DISTANCE CUP (GROUP 2)
Total prize money £350,000
Prize money breakdown: 1st: £198,485 – 2nd: £75,250 3rd: £37,660 – 4th: £18,760 – 5th: £9,415 – 6th: £4,725 •
Conditions: 2m, 3YO+
Last Year’s Winner:
Jockey: Frankie Dettori • Trainer: John Gosden • Owner: George Strawbridge • Breeder: George Strawbridge Jr
A first QIPCO British Champions Day success for champion trainer John Gosden – and, incredibly, for Frankie Dettori too – as 6/1 chance Flying Officer burst into a commanding advantage two furlongs out. He had enough left in the tank to hold off the late challenge of luckless Yorkshire raider Clever Cookie, who endured a nightmare passage, by a length. Dettori described the successful horse afterwards as “a real big unit”.
2016 Series Winners in the Long Distance Division:
The Betway Yorkshire Cup (1m and 6f, 4yo+), York, 13th May – Clever Cookie
The Gold Cup in Honour of The Queen’s 90th Birthday (2m and 4f, 4yo+), Ascot, 16th June – Order Of St George
The Qatar Goodwood Cup (2m, 3yo+), Goodwood, 28th July – Big Orange
The Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup (2m, 3yo+), York, 19th August – Quest For More
The Doncaster Cup (2m and 2f, 3yo+), Doncaster, 9th September – Sheikhzayedroad
The Ladbrokes St Leger Stakes (1m and 6f, 3yo), Doncaster, 12th September – Harbour Law
QIPCO British Champions Series Long Distance Cup, (2m, 3yo+), Ascot, 15th October –
October 2016: FAME GAME FOR ORDER OF ST GEORGE IN LONG DISTANCE CUP
In 2011, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Fame And Glory started a short-priced favourite for the Gold Cup and won by three lengths before going on to land the Group 2 £350,000 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup. Could history be about to repeat itself with Order Of St George?
Like Fame And Glory, he is trained by O’Brien and justified short-priced favouritism in the Gold Cup and has most recently followed that up with an excellent third in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last time out.
Provided Order Of St George has fully recovered from his exertions in France 12 days ago he will be hard to beat, but he will have to be somewhere near his best to overcome a field which includes Simple Verse, winner of the Ladbrokes St Leger and QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes last year. She got back to winning ways at Doncaster last time.
Forgotten Rules, the 2014 winner, tries to regain his crown for Champions Day’s most prolific trainer, Dermot Weld (four winners), while other notable runners are Quest For More, the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup and Prix du Cadran winner, plus Sheikhzayedroad, who beat Quest For More by a nose in the 250th Doncaster Cup after excellent placed efforts at Royal Ascot and Goodwood.
Roger Charlton, trainer of Quest For More, said: “He’s come out of his win in France in very good form and this will be his last race before we look at Dubai in the spring. The plan was to drop in and come late last time – change the bowling. He’s been very consistent in his last three races and Timeform have him running to within 1lb each time. It’s going to be a tough race to win with the Arc third, Order Of St George, in there but life is life, you take on the best and this is what Championship races should be. Quest For More is a game horse and there is a good prize money, so we will give it a go.”
David Simcock, trainer of Sheikhzayedroad said: “I’ve been delighted with him since his last run. He’s a very straightforward horse to train, he’s very clean-winded. He’s been very consistent but the whole race revolves around Order Of St George, if he turns up he’ll take a lot of beating. He had a hard race in the Arc but Aidan and his team are very good at backing their horses up.”
History of the Race
Established in 1873 as the Jockey Club Cup, this race was run at Newmarket until 2011, when it was moved to Ascot and renamed the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup.
With two demanding miles (3,200 metres) of Ascot’s famous turf to negotiate, it provides a thorough test of stamina for Flat racing’s top stayers as they contest the final major long-distance race of the British season.
The seven races in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance category vary in distance from the extended mile and six furlongs (2,920 metres) of Doncaster’s Ladbrokes St Leger to the two and a half miles (4,000 metres) of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. The intermediate two-mile trip of the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup therefore provides the perfect distance for the category finale.
At £350,000, second only in value amongst Europe’s staying races to the Gold Cup itself, the race had been dominated by Irish challengers in its first four years at Ascot before Frankie Dettori and John Gosden each claimed a first victory at QIPCO British Champions Day last year in the race with Flying Officer.