The battle to be this year’s Champion Owner is likely to be a fascinating subplot on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 15th October, 2016.
With just over a week of the Championship left, Godolphin are leading the way, but the triumvirate of Derrick Smith, Mrs John Magnier and Michael Tabor remain firmly in contention.
Godolphin are seeking to retain the owners’ title and win it for an eleventh time since 1996, but whether they, or their rivals prevail will hinge on how their challengers get on in valuable races at the Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket over the next two days plus, QIPCO British Champions Day, Britain’s richest raceday when prize money totalling £4.2 million will be up for grabs.
Sheikh Mohammed’s operation have accumulated £3,725,590 since the Championship began on QIPCO 2000 Guineas day at Newmarket on April 30 with Hawkbill, who is entered in the QIPCO Champion Stakes and won a thrilling renewal of the Coral-Eclipse as their leading earner.
Meanwhile, Smith, Magnier and Tabor have banked £3,254,280 via horses carrying their distinctive purple and white silks, including Minding, winner of three QIPCO British Champions Series races over the summer who has multiple entries on QIPCO British Champions Day and Highland Reel, winner of the QIPCO King George.
Godolphin will be looking to extend their advantage at Headquarters this weekend through Sobetsu, in the £533,750 Dubai Fillies’ Mile, and Blue Point, who is among a final field of seven for tomorrow’s £500,000 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes. Smith, Magnier and Tabor will be hoping Hydrangea, who will be having her first run in Britain, can bloom in the Fillies’ Mile.
The famous blue colours of Godolphin have a number of potential runners on QIPCO British Champions Day, including Ribchester, ante-post favourite for the £1.1 million QIPCO-sponsored Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
However, their pursuers could have three aces up their sleeve on the final day of the campaign in Minding, Seventh Heaven and Highland Reel, who between them have already scooped five QIPCO British Champions Series races this term.
Al Shaqab Racing (£1,792,387) and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum (£1,555,670) are having their own separate battle for third.