Sunday 25 February 2018

So You Think heads high-quality field for Champion Stakes

Thomas Kelly

Aidan O'Brien's So You Think heads an all-star cast of 17 high-class horses entered for the Qipco Champion Stakes, which will be run at Ascot for the first time on Saturday.

So You Think is now back in the picture after positive comments from the Ballydoyle handler at the weekend and he could attempt to bounce back from his fourth place in the Arc.

O'Brien has also left in Await The Dawn, which returned from his defeat at York a sick horse, while Windsor Palace is another possible.

John Gosden's King George winner Nathaniel remains in the mix but Gosden will be anxiously watching the skies for rain all week.

Henry Cecil finally won the Juddmonte International for the sponsor, Khalid Abdullah, with Twice Over, and the six-year-old will be attempting to win the Champion Stakes for a third time.

Joining him will be Midday, second at York but winner of a third Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

Godolphin could be represented by Casamento and Dubai Prince, which were both promising juveniles last year but have had interrupted campaigns this term.

However, last year's Racing Post Trophy winner Casamento won in France last time and that form was boosted by Bubble Chic at Newmarket on Saturday.

Dubai Prince has been brought along slowly but Dermot Weld's former inmate maintained his unbeaten record at Newbury, while Poet's Voice is another which could run for Godolphin.

Gold Cup hero Fame And Glory features among 13 possibles in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Saturday.

O'Brien's five-year-old ran out an impressive winner of the Royal Ascot feature back in June, but he has since let down odds-on backers twice -- the latest disappointment coming in the Irish St Leger.

The Ballydoyle supremo also has Regent Street in the Group Three race, while Godolphin could be represented by Opinion Poll, Cavalryman and Darley Sun.

Two Irish raiders -- Banimpire for Jim Bolger and Bible Belt for Jessica Harrington -- are among the 14 acceptors for the Group Two Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

Michael Stoute's Crystal Capella and William Haggas' English Oaks winner Dancing Rain will be among the leading fancies.

Irish Independent

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