It is five years since Frankel brought the curtain down on an unforgettable career with victory over French star Cirrus Des Aigles in the 2012 QIPCO Champion Stakes.
The son of Galileo, trained brilliantly by the late Sir Henry Cecil for owner/breeder Khalid Abdullah, retired unbeaten with a Timeform rating of 146, the highest ever awarded by the organisation. His 14-race winning streak included 10 Group One triumphs, four of which came at Ascot – the 2011 St James’s Palace Stakes, the 2011 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, the 2012 Queen Anne Stakes and 2012 QIPCO Champion Stakes.
QIPCO British Champions Day plays host to Frankel’s progeny for the first time this year as Cracksman, like his sire, bids to justify favouritism in the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
Frankel is yet to sire a G1 winner in Europe, although his daughter Soul Stirring is a two-time scorer at the top level in Japan. Cracksman has won two G2 races and finished second and third in G1 company.
Frankel’s chief rival Excelebration, who was second to the great horse four times during his career, proved himself a champion in his own right with a devastating display in 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO).
He provides one of Cracksman’s main opponents today in Barney Roy, winner of the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot earlier this year.
21 GROUP 1 WINNERS IN ACTION ON QIPCO BRITISH CHAMPIONS DAY
The QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup (£464,500)
Big Orange (1) Gold Cup (2017)
Order Of St George (3) Gold Cup (2016), Irish St Leger (2015 and 2017)
Sheikhzayedroad (1) Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (2014)
Stradivarius (1): Goodwood Cup (2017)
The QIPCO British Champions Sprint (£600,000)
Brando (1) Prix Maurice de Gheest (2017)
The Tin Man (2) Diamond Jubilee Stakes (2017), British Champions Sprint (2016)
Caravaggio (2) Commonwealth Cup (2017), Phoenix Stakes (2016)
Harry Angel (2) July Cup (2017), Haydock Sprint Cup (2017)
Quiet Reflection (2) Commonwealth Cup (2016), Haydock Sprint Cup (2016)
The QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (£627,500)
Bateel (1) Prix Vermeille (2017)
Journey (1) British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (2016)
Left Hand (1) Prix Vermeille (2016)
Hydrangea (1) Matron Stakes (2017)
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) (£1.1 million)
Here Comes When (1) Sussex Stakes (2017)
Ribchester (4) Lockinge Stakes (2017), Queen Anne Stakes (2017), Prix du Moulin (2017), Jacques Le Marois (2016)
Al Wukair (1) Jacques Le Marois (2017)
Churchill (4) 2000 Guineas (2017), Irish 2000 Guineas (2017), National Stakes (2016), Dewhurst (2016)
Thunder Snow (2) Prix Jean Prat (2017), Criterium International (2016)
QIPCO Champion Stakes (£1.3 million)
Highland Reel (6) Coronation Cup (2017), Prince of Wales’s Stakes (2017), King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2016), Breeders’ Cup Turf (2016), Secretariat Stakes (2015), Hong Kong Vase (2015)
Barney Roy (1) St James’s Palace Stakes (2017)
Brametot (2) Poule d’Essai des Poulains (2017), Prix du Jockey Club (2017)
ROD STREET – “IT’S GOING TO BE A FANTASTIC DAY”
Rod Street, Chief Executive of Great British Racing Limited and British Champions Series, said at Ascot this morning: “We can’t wait for the day to begin in earnest and are looking forward to a brilliant day of sporting action.
“There are star names across the card and thrilling contests in prospect as some of the most exciting horses in training compete for the record £4.342 million in prize money on offer.
“The day is also excitingly poised to see whether Aidan O’Brien can equal the World Record for the most Group 1s in a year and he has a team of 11 hoping to clinch that for him today.
“We are looking forward to crowning the Stobart Champion Flat Jockey, Silvestre de Sousa, together with Champion Owners Godolphin whose year could be set to get even better this afternoon with Harry Angel, Barney Roy and Ribchester some of the standout names.
“Away from the racing, there is plenty of other activity at Ascot and we are extremely grateful to QIPCO for their continued support which allows us to put on such a great day of sport.
“We are also grateful to the trainers and owners who have horses running today and wish everyone the best of luck – it’s going to be a fantastic day!”