The Champion Stakes is run over 1 mile 2 furlongs for horses aged 3YO+. It is the category finale for the Middle Distance races in the British Champions Series, which include:
MIDDLE DISTANCE RACES SCHEDULE
JUNE: 1m 4f Investec Coronation Cup, £400,000 at Epsom
JUNE: 1m 4f Investec Derby at Epsom, £1,500,000 at Epsom
JUNE: 1m 2f Prince of Wales’s Stakes, £750,000 at Royal Ascot
JULY: 1m 2f Coral-Eclipse Stakes, £500,000 at Sandown
JULY: 1m 4f King George VI And Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, £1,150,000 at Ascot
AUGUST: 1m 2f Juddmonte International Stakes, £1,000,000 at York
OCTOBER: 1m 2f QIPCO Champion Stakes, £1,300,000 at Ascot
HISTORY OF THE RACE
With £1.3 million in prize money, the QIPCO Champion Stakes over 1 mile 2 furlongs (2,000 metres) is the most valuable ten-furlong race in Europe. Following on from iconic races like the Investec Derby and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes sponsored by QIPCO, this is the final, pulsating showdown in the British Champions Series Middle Distance division.
The race brought a great heritage with it from Newmarket, where it had been run from its inception in 1877 until 2010. But the dramatic injection in prize money that accompanied its move to become the glittering highlight of the new QIPCO British Champions Day has changed its status completely.
Each of the five renewals in the race’s new surroundings have produced top-quality fields and thrilling finishes. The first set the bar high, with French raider Cirrus Des Aigles getting the better of Aussie superstar So You Think with two champion mares, Snow Fairy and Midday, further behind. For quality and drama few races could ever match the 2012 running, when Frankel completed his career unbeaten despite unsuitable ground and a very slow start from the stalls.
2013 saw Farhh prevail in a three-way battle, while in 2014 we were treated to a spine-tingling duel between Al Kazeem and Noble Mission, who ultimately came out on top for Lady Cecil. In 2015, QIPCO British Champions Day dream team Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen (who have each enjoyed four winners on the day over the past five years) pounced late to land the spoils with Fascinating Rock.
PAST WINNERS OF THE CHAMPION STAKES
Year – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
2011 – Cirrus des Aigles (pictured) – Christophe Soumillon – Mrs Corinne Barande-Barbe
2012 – Frankel – Tom Queally – Sir Henry Cecil
2013 – Farhh – Silvestre de Sousa – Saeed bin Suroor
2014 – Noble Mission – James Doyle – Lady Jane Cecil
2015 – Fascinating Rock – Pat Smullen – Dermot Weld
2016 – Almanzor – Christophe Soumillon – Jean-Claude Rouget