With under a month of the flat season remaining, many would presume most of the best action is now behind us. However, there are still ten Group One’s to get stuck into, including the Dewhurst and the finals at British Champions Day.
Half of the remaining top banded races are held at Newmarket over the next couple of weeks. This Saturday features the Cheveley Park Stakes and the Middle Park Stakes, which will bring together the UK and Ireland’s best 2yo’s. The Cheveley Park is run over 6f for the fillies, and the Middle Park is over the same distance for the colts. A week later, we return to HQ for the Sun Chariot Stakes, ran over a mile for 3yo fillies.
Next, the 2yo’s usually conclude their juvenile campaign in either the Dewhurst (7f colts) or the Fillies mile – self-explanatory. These races are a good indication of the horses that will headline the classics the following season when they are 3yo’s.
Last year Laurens won the Fillies Mile and has since gone on to win further Group ones in England, France and Ireland. Other notable recent winners include Rhododendron and Minding, both trained by Ballydoyle master Aiden O Brien. In 2016, the Dewhurst produced the 2000 Guineas winner – Churchill the following year, and helped produced one of the world’s best in Frankel in 2010 [also won the Guineas seven months later].
The flat season concludes at British Champions Day at Ascot in October. It is the culmination of the British Champion Series and features the finals of the five divisions of the series. It is the richest day in British racing, with more than £4 million in prize money across the six-race card.
Last year we saw Order of St George announced as the top stayer, Europe’s top miler Ribchester could only manage second in the QEII and Cracksman bolted up to win the Champion Stakes. The unbeaten Colt, Frankel, won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at the 2011 meeting, and a year later completed his racing career stepping up with victory in the Champion Stakes at the 2012 meeting. A crowd of 32,000 was a modern-day autumn flat racing record in the UK.
The last Group One of the season takes place at Doncaster, and is a chance for those that missed Newmarket, or want to further solidify their claims for their classic campaign in the Racing Post Trophy. Last year produced this year’s Guineas winner in first place (Saxon Warrior) and the Irish Champion/Eclipse/Juddmonte winner in second (Roaring Lion). Rivet, Camelot and Kingston Hill are other notable winners of this mile event.