QUEEN ELIZABETH II STAKES SPONSORED BY QIPCO (GROUP 1)
Total prize money £1,100,000
Prize money breakdown: 1st: £623,810; 2nd: £236,500; 3rd: £118,360; 4th: £58960; 5th: £29,590; 6th: £14,850
Conditions: 1m 3YO+
Last Year’s Winner:
Jockey: Maxime Guyon • Trainer: Freddy Head • Owner: Wertheimer & Frere • Breeder: Wertheimer & Frere
A third French-trained winner in the short history of QIPCO British Champions Day as Freddy Head’s superstar miler routed his rivals in ideal conditions. Jockey Maxime Guyon knew he had the race in safe keeping from some way out, although the fast-finishing Belardo was making late gains in second close to home. Head hailed his winner as “a brilliant horse, who is easy to train and does whatever you ask him to”.
2016 Series Winners in the Mile Division:
QIPCO 2000 Guineas (1m, 3YO), Rowley Mile, Newmarket, 30th April – Galileo Gold
The Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (1m, 4YO+), Newbury, 14th May – Belardo
Queen Anne Stakes (1m, 4YO +), Ascot, 14th June – Tepin
The St James’s Palace Stakes (1m, 3YO colts), Ascot, 16th June – Galileo Gold
The Qatar Sussex Stakes (1m, 3YO +), Goodwood, 27th July – The Gurkha
Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes (1m, 3YO+), Rowley Mile, Newmarket, 1st October – Alice Springs
British Champions Series Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Sponsored by QIPCO (1m, 3YO+) Ascot, 15th October –
October 2016: FOUR CLASSIC WINNERS TO CLASH IN QUEEN ELIZABETH II STAKES
Four Classic winners will cross swords in the £1.16 million QIPCO-sponsored Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, which is run over Ascot’s straight mile but such is the strength and depth in the field that none of the quartet are guaranteed to start favourite.
The long-time ante-post market leader has been the Richard Fahey-trained Ribchester, who is thriving on his racing. Third in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, he then routed his rivals in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot before finishing an unlucky-in-running third in the Qatar Sussex Stakes (beaten a head and a short head). He went some way to proving that when winning the Jacques le Marois at Deauville on his latest start.
Six-time Group 1 winner Minding, whose victories this year include the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and Investec Oaks, will revert to a mile for the first time since being beaten a head by Jet Setting in the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas on 22nd May. Galileo Gold, winner of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes, is also in the mix, along with Awtaad, who beat him in the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas.
The other entries include Lightning Spear, smooth winner of the Doom Bar Celebration Mile at Goodwood and Hit It A Bomb, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year.
Richard Fahey, the trainer of Ribchester, said: “It is a worry that he’s been the go for a while but his whole demeanour says that he’s not over the top. He’s the classiest horse I’ve trained. He’s got so much speed and he never blows – even after his races.
“His French run is the best form and there no hard-luck stories. Maybe Galileo Gold ran a little bit flat but I thought after Goodwood [the Sussex Stakes] we would bridge the gap with him. I feel he has improved again since then too.
“I’m a big fan of Minding. She’s exceptional over every distance but I’m happy with my guy.”
Kevin Buckley, UK Representative for Coolmore Stud, said: “Minding will appreciate the little break that she’s had since the Irish Champion and she’s very versatile when it comes to distance.”
Ed Walker, trainer of Stormy Antarctic said: “In the Marois we were guilty of worrying about one horse, Galileo Gold, too much. We felt that he was the one to beat. He over-raced and the pace was just too strong up front and it teed it up for the finishers. We were caught up on the fast pace and paid the price at the end. However, I don’t think that you can finish second in two Group 1’s and both of them be a fluke, he’s definitely good enough but hasn’t had a huge amount of luck so far this season. He’s in cracking form and goes into the race fresh and we know that he runs very well fresh so we’re really up for it. Any rain would be welcome.”
History of the Race
Long recognised as Europe’s mile championship, 1,600 metre races come no bigger than this anywhere on the international stage. Carrying a cool £1.1 million in prizemoney, the race has entered a different stratosphere in financial terms, boosted from £250,000 in 2010 when it was run at Ascot’s late September meeting. It is now by far the richest mile race in Europe and one of the most valuable anywhere in the world. Named in honour of The Queen in 1955, the race has a roll of honour packed full of stars, including Brigadier Gerard (1971 & 1972), Known Fact (1980), Dubai Millennium (1999) and the awesome Frankel, who took the contest in 2011 in effortless fashion.
After a dozen straight home wins leading up to 2005, the winner’s trophy has been exported four times in the last nine years, most recently to France following Charm Spirit’s 2014 success and Solow’s last year.
The race also holds special memories for Frankie Dettori. It provided him with his first-ever Group 1 victory thanks to Markofdistinction in 1990 and six years later Mark Of Esteem was the third leg of his ‘Magnificent Seven’ when he won all seven races on that famous (or infamous if you were a bookmaker) Ascot card.