British Champions Day, Saturday 19th October – Ascot 4pm 1m 2f (1m 1f 212y) QIPCO Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1) (Class 1) (3yo+)

The Champion Stakes is a very well established event in the British racing calendar. Established in 1877 and originally run at Newmarket, by the end of the 19th Century five Classic winners had won the race. It has been run as a Group 1 event since the reorganisation of Flat racing in 1971 and is littered with famous winners including Ormonde in 1886, Pretty Polly in 1905, Polymelus the following year and more recently Sir Ivor, Brigadier Gerard and culminating in Frankel’s last win in his last race in 2012.

The race is open to horses aged three year old plus and in the 49 renewals since 1970 has only been won eight times by a horse over the age of four, although in the last 10 years it has been won by five year old horses on four occasions.

The race has been won by the favourite five times in the last 12 renewals with eight of the last 12 winners being found in the first three in the betting. Winners priced as high as 14/1 have also won the event during the period under consideration.

Eight of the last 12 winners won on their previous start so current winning form is worth more than a second glance and eight of the last 12 winners ran within 42 days of the race. Six of the last 12 winners had run previously at Ascot and only two winners had previously won at the venue. Winning form over the race distance of 1 mile 2 furlongs is a very important factor when considering a runner, with 11 of the last 12 winners previously winning at least once over the trip.

Experienced horses do well in the event so look out for runners with at least nine previous career starts, as 11 of the last 12 winners had run a minimum of nine times prior to the race. Ten of the last 12 winners has also won at least six times before the race.

Look for horses who have run at least four times earlier in the season as 10 of the last 12 winners had run four times or more before the race and 10 of the 12 had at least two wins earlier in the campaign.

An Official Rating of 117 of higher has been required to win the race in 10 of the last 12 renewals and 11 of the last 12 winners had also previously won a Group 1 or Group 2 race.

Aidan O’Brien is yet to win the Champion Stakes and appears to have a good chance of breaking his duck with Magical. However, she has run every month since April and had a very hard race in the Arc last time out. There are also question marks about her form in the Heavy ground, but on her best form she has a very good chance.

However, the William Haggas trained Addeybb has very strong claims in the ground. The five year old chestnut gelding, who has tasted success on seven of his 13 starts, won the Group 3 Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock on his last start in Heavy ground, going clear in the final furlong to win by 2¼ lengths. Addeybb is a very smart performer and although he is yet to win at Group 1 level, the going tomorrow could tip the balance in his favour.

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