Cirrus Des Aigles, one of the most popular horses to have raced on QIPCO British Champions Day, is set to return to the scene of his most famous victory for this year’s season finale on Saturday 15th October, 2016.
The Corine Barande-Barbe trained gelding raced at four consecutive Champions Days, winning the inaugural Ascot-running of the QIPCO Champion Stakes in 2011. To mark this close association with Britain’s richest raceday, the now retired nine-year-old will lead a parade of champions in an Opening Ceremony to be staged ahead of racing at this year’s event.
Corine Barande-Barbe, who trained the horse to 22 victories before retiring him earlier this year said, “Cirrus Des Aigles and I are very happy to return to Ascot where we both have many wonderful memories. Winning the QIPCO Champion Stakes in 2011 was an amazing experience and he was runner up twice, going so close to beating Frankel in 2012. Cirrus is enjoying himself in his retirement but I am sure that he will be excited to be back at Ascot and will probably want to try to run in the Champion Stakes again, given half the chance!”
The second stage entries for Champions Day have been revealed with some of this season’s most exciting horses still on target for Britain’s richest raceday including milers Galileo Gold and Ribchester, who renew their rivalry and star fillies Minding, Quiet Reflection and Mecca’s Angel, whilst Almanzor takes on last year’s feature race winner, Fascinating Rock, in the £1.3million QIPCO Champion Stakes.
The Opening Ceremony is scheduled to begin at 12.20pm, ahead of the first race, the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup at 1.25pm. It will include a parade of medal-winning GB athletes from the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, led by Cirrus Des Aigles, as well as representatives of each of this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series winners. No stranger to performing in front of large audiences, soprano singer, Laura Wright will return to Ascot’s Parade Ring and sing live at the opening celebrations.
Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series said: “Cirrus Des Aigles is one of the most popular and exciting runners to have graced QIPCO British Champions Day and we are thrilled that both he and Corine will be back again this year. As the finale to the flat racing season and with four Group 1 races on the card, the day has always been about the top class thoroughbreds on show, and it is great that an equine hero is leading what will also be a celebration of the wider British sporting success that we have witnessed throughout the summer.”
Prior to the ceremony, retired racehorse, Summon Up Theblood, who secured a top 20 finish for Brazil with rider Carlos Parro in the individual eventing competition at the Rio Olympics will be also be on show. Parro and Summon Up Theblood will demonstrate the success of organisations such as the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre – this year’s official charity of QIPCO British Champions Day – in ensuring new careers and lifestyles for thoroughbreds once their time on the racecourse is over.
The only tickets now available for QIPCO British Champions Day, which this year will offer a record £4.2million of prize money, are Queen Anne Enclosure (Grandstand) tickets, with both the Winning Post and King Edward VII enclosures having sold out. Under 18’s go free and, following on from the success of last two years, 2,500 students will again be able to attend for FREE – for more information about student tickets head to the British Champions Series website.
For tickets to QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot racecourse on Saturday 15th October go to www.britishchampionsseries.com