Sport Horse Racing

Friday 14 December 2018

Highland Reel leads O'Brien's bid for Champion Stakes spoils

O’Brien continues his quest to break Bobby Frankel’s record of top-level wins in a season when Johannes Vermeer contests the Caulfield Cup in Australia tomorrow. Photo: Kieran Harnett
O’Brien continues his quest to break Bobby Frankel’s record of top-level wins in a season when Johannes Vermeer contests the Caulfield Cup in Australia tomorrow. Photo: Kieran Harnett

Nick Robson

Aidan O'Brien will make a two-pronged assault on the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot tomorrow.

Six-time Group One winner Highland Reel will lead the Irish challenge and will be joined by stable companion Cliffs Of Moher and Ken Condon's grey Success Days.

Cracksman looks set to go off favourite for trainer John Gosden following the defection of Juddmonte International hero Ulysses, with Michael Stoute relying on Irish Champion Stakes runner-up Poet's Word.

Barney Roy, trained by Richard Hannon for Godolphin, was runner-up to Churchill in the 2,000 Guineas before gaining his revenge in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Excelebration colt has since been beaten by Ulysses in the Eclipse and the International, but nevertheless holds strong claims.

French challengers Brametot and Recoletos, David Simcock's Desert Encounter and the Gosden-trained outsider Maverick Wave complete the line-up.

O'Brien, meanwhile, continues his quest to break Bobby Frankel's record of top-level wins in a season when Johannes Vermeer contests the Caulfield Cup in Australia tomorrow.

Wicklow Brave, which is back in Australia after finishing down the field in the Melbourne Cup last year, also runs.

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