Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series introduces QIPCO British Champions Day 2012:
Last year’s inaugural £3 million QIPCO British Champions Day, Britain’s richest raceday and the season’s spectacular new climax, exceeded our expectations.
Six of the world’s top 11 active racehorses took part, something which no other raceday in the world could match in 2011, and it attracted a modern day record crowd for an autumn Flat racing fixture in the UK of 26,749 racegoers. If proof were needed that there is a place in our racing calendar for this major new raceday, it was provided in no uncertain terms.
This year has already seen a significant step forward, with a 20% bigger crowd guaranteed after all tickets sold out more than three weeks in advance – under 18’s can still come in free if accompanied by a ticket-holding adult. 32,000 racegoers will be present at Ascot to watch the five championship races which provide the climax to the 35-race QIPCO British Champions Series, whilst the TV pictures will be shown in almost 100 countries across the world as well as on BBC1, At The Races and Racing UK here, ensuring a huge global audience.
In last year’s QIPCO British Champions Series, 12 of the world’s top 16 horses in the 2011 World Thoroughbred Rankings took part and this year is unlikely to be far behind. Of the 19 horses that had posted 124+ international ratings in the world up to 16 September this year, 11 have so far contested Series races with QIPCO British Champions Day still to come.
We have been privileged to witness some scintillating races – the world’s best, Frankel, has led the way in sensational style adding another four Series victories to his four last year, with jaw- dropping performances in the Queen Anne Stakes and Juddmonte International; at Royal Ascot Colour Vision landed a memorable Gold Cup, ex-Australian star, So You Think, signed off in style in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, while current Australian superstar, Black Caviar, won a nail-biting Diamond Jubilee; Europe’s top filly, Danedream, just got the better of the Coral- Eclipse winner, Nathaniel, in the Betfair King George; and Camelot proved he was king of Europe’s three-year-old colts when displaying the speed to win the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and the stamina to blitz his rivals in the Investec Derby, before finding the elusive Triple Crown a step too far in the Ladbrokes St Leger. And that is to name just a few…
Now Frankel is set to lead a host of stars to QIPCO British Champions Day for the spectacular finale that is owned by British racing and hosted by Ascot.
Very special thanks to the owners and trainers who have supported the Series and who are bringing their stars for the big day on 20 October and to you, the media, for the fantastic coverage that you have again afforded it.
Above all, I would like to thank QIPCO Holding for helping to make it all possible. Having signed up to the Series and the Day for an initial two years, they have extended their sponsorship for a further five in a deal which enables a £4m QIPCO British Champions Day within the term of the contract. The Series and Day are set to go from strength to strength – exciting times lie ahead.
We hope you will enjoy a fantastic day at Ascot on Saturday 20 October when we will be looking to provide a shop window for all that is special about British Flat racing.
The project to transform and modernise horseracing in the UK began in autumn 2008 with in- depth consultation and research which led to the formation of Racing for Change. It represents all the key interests in British Racing, including the racecourses, owners, trainers, jockeys and breeders, all of whom are stakeholders in the QIPCO British Champions Series.
The go-ahead for the creation of British Champions Day was given by the European Pattern Committee in late September 2010. That left just seven months until the first Series race and in that time a major title sponsor was secured in QIPCO Holding, which has this year extended the original two-year deal for another five years; the rights to televise QIPCO British Champions Day were sold, initially to the BBC for two years and now to Channel 4 who will cover all 35 Series races live from 2013; executives were recruited to develop, promote and stage-manage the Series; a Series identity was created and a website was launched.
In addition to QIPCO’s sponsorship, a substantial long-term investment by the shareholders – The Jockey Club, Ascot, York, Goodwood, Newbury and Arena, with Racing Enterprises Limited – has enabled this season-long event.
Chris McFadden, Chairman of British Champions Series, said: “We’re in it for the long-term, aiming to maintain Britain’s status as the world-leading racing nation, promote top class racing in the UK and develop the sport’s commercial rights’ values.”
In its first two years, the Series has witnessed one of the greatest racehorses of all time stake his claim to immortality, with Frankel winning eight Series races and now on target for number nine, which is likely to be the last of his unbeaten career, on QIPCO British Champions Day.