By Racinguk.com staff
All roads lead to Ascot this week and the seventh QIPCO British Champions Day. There will be £4.3 million prize money on offer and you can watch all the action there live on Racing UK. It is one of 15 meetings on the channel this week.
Cracksman heads the list of possible contenders for what is another thrilling Qipco Champions Day at Ascot. With the date now firmly established in the calendar, the seasonal finale is always one of the hottest tickets in town and John Gosden's runner could be the star of the show in the main event, the Champion Stakes.
There really is something for everyone though, with the rematch between Gold Cup first and second, Big Orange and Order Of St George, a particular highlight in the Long Distance Cup. Even the Balmoral Handicap boasts £155,625 to the winner. A day not to be missed.
Aidan O'Brien has enjoyed another stunning season and has every chance of writing the headlines at Ascot. With the likes of Churchill in the QEII, Caravaggio in the Sprint division, Hydrangea among the leading players in the Fillies & Mares event and Winter and Highland Reel in the Champion Stakes itself, the Ballydoyle handler has untold riches with which to do battle.
DE SOUSA BACK ON TOP:
Silvestre de Sousa had to concede his champion jockey crown to Jim Crowley last year, but another five months or so of hard work has seen him regain his title and he will receive his prize at Ascot on Saturday. Aidan O'Brien has obviously swept all before him this term so it is no surprise to see him be named the leading trainer, while David Egan and Kieran Shoemark have enjoyed a ding-dong battle for the apprentice title.
WETHERBY BACK IN ACTION:
Wetherby welcomes in the new jump season with its annual Spinal Research Northern Raceday on Wednesday. The fixture also marks the opening of the racecourse’s grandstand redevelopment. Construction started during the summer of 2016 and was completed on time earlier this year at a cost of £3.5 million. Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, will be on hand to open the Millennium West grandstand.
STARS ON SHOW:
Minella Rocco has been pencilled in for Thursday's Irish Daily Star Chase, the feature event of Punchestown's two-day season opener. Jonjo O'Neill's charge found only Sizing John too good in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March and this three-mile-one-furlong heat has been identified as an ideal starting point this term. Festival hero War Of Attrition was a three-time winner of the race while Don Cossack is another Cheltenham hero to have tasted victory in the Grade Three event.
ANOTHER AIDAN ACE?:
Sunday's Group Three Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown marks the penultimate Flat action of the season at the Dublin track and the seven-furlong heat has a very rich history. Aidan O'Brien has won the race a record 10 times, most notably with Footstepsinthesand (2004). The Ballydoyle handler is sure to have another contender or two this time around with the Listed Trigo Stakes providing admirable support.
THIS WEEK'S FIXTURES (FLAT in capitals):
Monday: MUSSELBURGH (RUK), WINDSOR, YARMOUTH
Tuesday: Hereford, Huntingdon (RUK), KEMPTON (RUK), LEICESTER (RUK)
Wednesday: BATH, KEMPTON (RUK), NOTTINGHAM (RUK), Wetherby (RUK)
Thursday: BRIGHTON, Carlisle (RUK), NEWCASTLE, Uttoxeter
Friday: Fakenham, HAYDOCK (RUK), NEWCASTLE, REDCAR (RUK), Wincanton (RUK)
Saturday: ASCOT (RUK), CATTERICK (RUK), Ffos Las, Market Rasen (RUK), Stratford, WOLVERHAMPTON
Sunday: Kempton (RUK), SOUTHWELL