Sir Henry Cecil’s chances of landing his 11th trainers’ title and his first since 1993 will hinge entirely on QIPCO British Champions Day, the richest day in British racing history, at Ascot on Saturday, 15 October 2011.
He currently lies in fourth place in the table, about £850,000 behind the leader, Richard Hannon, but his four heavyweight Ascot contenders – Frankel, Twice Over, Midday and Vita Nova – could carry off £1,725,605 if they were to achieve their best possible placings, more than half the day’s £3-million total prize fund.
Despite strong opposition in the shape of French raider Immortal Verse and perhaps the fast-improving Excelebration in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO, the mighty Frankel must have a tremendous chance of extending his unbeaten record to nine races and lifting the first prize of £567,100.
Twice Over and Midday, first and second in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York last month, are both likely to run in the QIPCO Champion Stakes. Twice Over is chasing a record-equalling third successive Champion Stakes victory, having won the last two runnings at the race’s old home, Newmarket.
With £737,230 for first place and £279,500 for the runner-up, a repeat of that York one-two would net the master of Warren Place a further £1,016,730 in the richest horserace ever to be run in Britain.
Before either of those races is run, the Darley Yorkshire Oaks runner-up, Vita Nova, who is blossoming into a high class, middle distance filly, would bring in another £141,775 if successful in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.
Another award could also be heading Cecil’s way at Ascot. He currently heads the QIPCO British Champions Series trainers’ leaderboard with six winners, one ahead of Mahmood Al Zarooni.
With one more second place and one more third place to his name than the Godolphin handler, Cecil is in a very strong position with just the five championship races on QIPCO British Champions Day to come. If he retains his lead, he will receive a specially crafted trophy and a cheque for £25,000 for the charity of his choice.