Champions Day – A Short History

Champions Day – A Short History

On Saturday at Ascot we have undoubtedly the best card of the flat season in the shape of Qipco Champions Day. A six race-card including four Groups Ones, a Group Two and a top-class handicap, punters are most certainly getting their money's worth. Not only that, it is by far and away the richest day in flat racing with over £4 million on offer in prize money.

It was first introduced in 2011 and is the finale of the five divisions of the series. Those five divisions are the Long Distance Cup, Sprint Stakes, Fillies and Mares Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and finally the £1.3 million Champion Stakes.

The above mentioned races had historically taken place at both Ascot and Newmarket, some under different names. However they are now all held at Ascot with some rebranding.

The introduction of Champions Day coincided with the career of superstar horse, Frankel. He won the QE2 as a three-year-old before returning as a four-year-old to make undoubtedly the most poignant memory in the short history of Champions Day.

With an unwell Henry Cecil watching on, Frankel attempted to win the Champions Stakes and cap an unbeaten 14-run career. The crowd was a record for an Autumn flat meeting and it was a sea of Frankel colours as punters flocked to watch history be made. It started worryingly, Frankel dwelt in the stalls, however class prevailed and he breezed past Cirrus Des Aigles to the crowds delight as an emotional Cecil wept tears.

As is the nature of the meeting there has obviously been many other terrific displays. Order Of St George capped a great season winning the Long Distance Cup last year. French raider Almanzor won the Champions Stakes in 2016 whilst other notable horses such as Simple Verse, Excelebration and Cirrus Des Aigles have all experienced victory at what has fast become an iconic meeting.

However, no one is likely to outdo what was done on that famous day back in October 2012 in front of 32,000 people. A John Gosden four-timer would go someway to doing so however.