British Champions Day 2016 was hailed as another great success. In its sixth year the big names kept coming and the prize money kept on rising!
Staged for the first time in 2011 QIPCO British Champions Day is the richest raceday in the British Racing Calendar with a record breaking £4.4 million in prize money on offer, across the five championship categories.
As well as being the Finale of the British Champions Series, the day hosted the presentations for the Stobart Jockeys’ Championship, and the Champion Owner’s title.
CROWLEY CROWNED CHAMPION JOCKEY
The battle for the Stobart Jockeys’ Championship began at Newmarket’s 2,000 Guineas and ended on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot.
Silvestre De Sousa triumphed in 2015 and in 2016 he made a bold bid to retain his crown – only for Jim Crowley to prove stronger.
Dismissed as a 33-1 chance at the start of the year, the 38-year-old ruled with 148 winners, 16 more than De Sousa. A distant third was Andrea Atzeni, who finished with 88.
Crowley and De Sousa were locked together at one time in the summer and the pendulum briefly swung one way and the other, but the game changed in September when the former broke down long-established barriers and rode a record-breaking 46 winners.
That was the decisive turning point and meant the last couple of weeks of the campaign were little more than an extended lap of honour for him.
FIVE MAGIC MOMENTS IN THE 2016 QIPCO BRITISH CHAMPIONS SERIES
TEN OUT TEN FOR GODOLPHIN IN CHAMPION OWNERS’ BATTLE
Unlike the respective jockeys’ championships, the owners’ version is decided by prize money won rather than number of winners accumulated between the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas and QIPCO British Champions Day.
It would not have mattered if either criteria were used in 2016 because Godolphin chalked up more winners and prize money than any of their rivals.
Sheikh Mohammed’s operation finished with 119 winners, including Hawkbill in the Coral-Eclipse, and a prize-money haul of £4,213,524. It enabled the boys in blue to emerge on top for the tenth time since 1996, although the race went to the final day of the season.
In his own name, Sheikh Mohammed took the honours nine times, so it is a prize he is accustomed to winning.
FIVE OF THE BEST FINISHES IN THE 2016 QIPCO BRITISH CHAMPIONS SERIES