British Champions Day 2020: Crowning the Finest Flat Racing Stars Around

Published 2020/09/14

British Champions Day 2020: Crowning the Finest Flat Racing Stars Around

There is a mix of emotions every year when the British Champions Day comes around.

On the one hand, we know that the Ascot meeting heralds the end of the flat season – always a sad occasion for the purists.

But then, on the other, we know that we have one final opportunity to see the very best horses go head to head one final time.

And the 2020 British Champions Day looks set to be a cracker, with a number of big names contesting the five specialist ‘discipline’ races and the sixth Balmoral Handicap, which features a considerable £250,000 prize fund.

As ever, bettors will be looking for value ahead of the October 17 festival, and today's horse racing results at Paddy Power will act as a starting point to find those horses heading into Ascot in fine form.

Other considerations, including many of those listed below, will also need to be factored into any betting shortlists.

As such, here’s a quick overview of the five main races that form the British Champions Day 2020 card.

Champions Sprint Stakes

In some respects, it will be a return to an unhappy hunting ground for Dream of Dreams, the bookmakers’ favourite for the Champions Sprint Stakes.

Sir Michael Stoute’s charge was headed off by Hello Youmzain in the Jubilee Stakes at Ascot earlier this year – the second time in consecutive seasons that he has lost the Group 1 affair by a head.

Two morale-boosting victories in the Hungerford Stakes and the Sprint Cup Stakes have followed, but this is a horse who prefers the softer ground, so keep an eye on the weather before parting with your hard-earned money on the six-year-old.

Space Blues is an interesting proposition – he won the Lennox Stakes to go with a pair of high-profile wins in France, while Golden Horde, despite a middling campaign, won the Commonwealth Cup on this track and in fine order.

Long Distance Cup

There could be a fascinating showdown here between two horses from John Gosden’s fabled yard.

Stradivarius will probably need no introduction – the expert stayer has continued in fine fettle in 2020 with victories in the Ascot Gold Cup (his third in a row) and the Goodwood Cup, while Enbihaar was a handy winner of the Lonsdale Cup.

Otherwise, it’s hard to see any other horse entering the equation, although Nayef Road has a habit of making his presence felt in these first-class encounters.

Fillies and Mares Stakes

It’s almost a given that Aidan O’Brien will be a factor at the British Champions Day, and Magical is amongst his finest hopes for honours.

After winning the Champion Stakes here 12 months ago, she will set her sights on the fillies’ race, and even accounting for her second place in the Juddmonte International Stakes, you just know her Irish handler will have her perfectly prepared for this run.

Can Even So or Fancy Blue take down Magical?

The former has enjoyed a couple of eye-catching wins in Ireland but is yet to run on UK soil, while the latter has won both the Nassau Stakes and the Prix Diane this term.

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Even in the ante-post market, Palace Pier is as short as 10/11 and that price appears fair enough.

The three-year-old has dominated over one mile this term, with victory over Pinatubo in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Ascot a fairly obvious headline act.

But Persian King is a campaigner over in France that many fancy for big things to come, while Pinatubo has now lost to both horses at the head of the market this season. British Champion Stakes And then it’s time for the big one: the £1.3 million Champion Stakes.

Is Mishriff the best campaigner in the field?

The favourite was a strong winner at Deauville with Frankie Dettori on board back in August, but there are many who believe Ghaiyyath – the Coronation Cup, Juddmonte International Stakes and Coral-Eclipse champion – just has the edge.

Either way, the Champion Stakes – and the whole meeting for that matter – look set to be an outstanding way to end the flat campaign.