2016 m. spalio 16 d., sekmadienis

Qipco Champions Day 2016, better than Arc?

Team of Racemakers 2016

This year's Champions Day at Ascot was as early as 9 a.m. start in the racecourse for me and other racemakers. Basically, racemakers are the people who helps people to find places in the racecourse, identify possible winner in the paddock, lay bets or just to get racegoers more involved in racing and answer the questions. This job is volunteering role, but it is rewarding when you want to add this on your CV or just for making connections. Trying racemaker’s role for the first time I found it very enjoyable, as I kept myself busy welcoming people coming to the racecourse, having a chat with some foreign people who are visiting Ascot for the first time, but been involved in racing for a few years. Additionally, I never used twitter that much on one day! I hope this will turn out somehow useful.
Mme Corine de Barbe. @Michael R Smithson photo

Raceday started with parade of Corrine de Barbe beloved gelding Cirrus Des Aigles parade with his main jockey on top Cristophe Soumillon. It is amazing how much money this racehorse has made in his racing career (over 6mln pounds), especially knowing what his stallion is used for National Hunt purpose. The more amazing is how much this horse is loved by his trainer Corine, groom and even jockey Cristophe Soumillon as each week one of them is uploading a new video with his horse enjoying his retirement in paddock with other horse or simply riding him out in the seaside. I wish that every racehorse would get as much love as Cirrus is having after doing the job they are created for. After this parade, Olympic and para-Olympic medal winners had their parade in the parade ring. Stobart Jockeys championship winners were not forgotten and Josephine Gordon had her mementoes given in front of the stands as British Champion Apprentice and Jim Crowley was greeted as a Champion jockey. After amazing opening ceremony, weather became much more welcoming with much more sunshine and only very light breeze, horses for the first race been led up in the paddock.  
Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2)
Sheikzayadroad. Foto@Michael R Smithson

David Simcock’s trained 7 years old gelding showed his class here, while 4/6 Fav Order of St George finished just fourth behind the post. This just showed, that only 13 days of rest and travelling back and forth to France was clearly not enough rest to win the 2miles long race on the good ground in Ascot. It is shame that Simple Verse could not prove that she is better than boys and finished only third. In my opinion, jockey was not the best choice here. Andrea Atzeni done a good job on her by winning last year’s St Leger in Doncaster and Fillies Stakes in Ascot and I am surprised why he was not recruited for the job as he was not booked for any other ride in this race.

Qipco British Champions Series Sprint Stakes (Group 1)
The Tin Man 

Tom Queally would not stayed to win all the races with Frankel if he wouldn’t been good enough. Here he showed his class on James Fanshawe trained gelding The Tin Man (odds 13/2). Victory of this 4 year old gelding was very important for Newsells Park stud, as he is out of their stallion Equiano. My nap Signs of Blessing finished only fourth, as he looked very close to the victory if the finish post would have been about 50 yards closer than it was. Shame of John Gosden’s only once beaten colt Shalaa, as he looked magnificent on the day, but probably field this time was too strong for him. Quiet Reflection and Mecca’s Angel did not showed impressive result either, but definitely helped to create the strong field of sprinters. Nevertheless, finish looked impressive!

Qipco British Champion Series Fillies and Mares Stakes (Group 1)

Race over 2000meters been held for 3 year old and older fillies in the thirteen runners field. I was lucky enough to be walking around with Harriet Fuller who is writing for The Sun magazine racing section and we had a great look to horses while standing in the pre-parade ring. I always admired John Gosden as a trainer and always been great believer in horses trained by him. I was very lucky to stand in pre parade ring yesterday, when he walked with owners after saddling a mare and one if the owners just said ‘ I just want her to come back home safe and sound. This all we need today.’ I took this as good omen, but have not lay it as it usually brings bad luck and horses I lay bets on does not win. Well, 4 year old Dubawi daughter Journey, ridden by Frankie Dettori came back home safe and sound, I would say really safe as she finished few lengths in front of other contenders. And yes, crowd loves Frankie Dettori, and they do love his flying dismount more, so most of the people were rushing to the parade ring just so see and how he jumps off the horse!  I was impressed by Journey, but also felt a bit sorry for Dermot Weld trained Zhukova as she looked quite impressive before the start, but only managed to finish 7th.

Journey and Frankie Dettori
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Sponsored by Qipco) (Group 1)

Minding beats Ribchester

Only fourth race brings racing glory to O’Brien and Ryan Moore. 7/4 Favourite Minding brings victory quite easily, when William Buick ridden Ribchester comes second. Godolphin must felt a bit bitter, as win of Ribchester would have been easy victory of Champion owner of the year. Now, it will take a bit of time again to find out who will be Owner of the Year. However, Minding is just completely classy horse which deserved this victory. Finishing third to Almanzor in Irish Champions Stakes a month ago showed how good she is, and winning Queen Elizabeth just brought extra cherry on the cake or in other words her impressive racing career.
Qipco Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1)

What a racecard here. It just looked amazing, and probably more impressive than Arc’s card thirteen days ago. Irish Derby winner Jack Hobbs, who sustained pelvic injury and was not racing for a while, did look impressive on the day. Found, Arc winner and filly who was not afraid to beat Golden Horn last year. And of course, French raider Almanzor, three year old colt out of only 18 progenies given stallion Wootton Bassett. Leaving the fact, that this stallion is not very popular, Almanzor must have looked pretty good in 2014 Arqana Sales as he was bought for 100,000euros. Luckily, he was absolutely worth every penny of it as his racing career is quite impressive and he ends 2016 season by easily beating Found and Jack Hobbs here on Champions Day in Ascot. It was great to see this amazing horse winning the biggest prize of the day under brilliant ride of Cristophe Soumillon. Also, it was great to see his wife taking the kids and taking them to walk back with Almanzor to the winning enclosures.
Balmoral Handicap (Sponsored By Qipco)

This stunning raceday has finished with 12/1 outsider Yuften winning Balmoral handicap under the ride of Andrea Atzeni. Remarkable came second and Firmament was third. Finish was very close and took a lot of shouting from fairly drunk crowd.

Meeting ended with Afterparty inside the main building, with Sara Cox and Sigala appearance. All in all, all the racemakers had a great day and I am sure I will be working as a racemaker again sometime soon!

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