County Kerry, Ireland-born jockey Oisín Murphy was crowned Britain’s Champion Flat Jockey for the third year in a row on Saturday as Ascot hosted British Champions Day, with an array of Group 1 horses on view.
Twenty-six-year-old Murphy won 153 races in Britain this season, beating William Buick by just two winners, and became the third jockey, all of them Irish, to win three consecutive titles, following Richard Hughes (2012-2014) and Kieren Fallon (2001-2003).
French horse claims Champion Stakes
French raider Sealiway took the day’s top prize, the QIPCO Champion Stakes over 1 mile 2 furlongs.
The 12/1 shot defeated Dubai Honour (6/1) by three-quarters of a length with Mac Swiney (40/1) a further length and a half back in third.
For the winning rider Mickael Barzalona it was a first QIPCO British Champions Day success, with the delighted jockey admitting:
“It’s great to be back in the big time and be with this horse since the beginning. He deserved to prove his talent like he did today.”
Neither the Saudi Cup winner and 13/8 favourite Mishriff or Cazoo Derby and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes winner Adayar (5/2) managed to strike a blow in the Group 1 contest.
Baaeed stays unbeaten for Haggas
Baaeed maintained his unbeaten record for trainer William Haggas in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
The Shadwell-owned horse held off five-time Group 1 winner Palace Pier (6/4f), from the John Gosden yard, by a neck in a thrilling finish, with Gosden later admitting the runner-up was now likely to retire to stud.
The three-year-old Baaeed (2/1) was making it six wins from six career starts and gave jockey Jim Crowley a double on QIPCO British Champions Day following the win of Eshadaa in the Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.
In her final race before retirement, five-year-old mare Lady Bowthorpe (40/1) took third, beaten a length and a quarter.
William Haggas, speaking to the media post-race said of his winner, Baaeed:
“I thought he travelled very well and won. He’s very good, isn’t he? He always worked nicely, and he’s always had speed. I believe he will stay in training, but he’s finished for the year now, he’s done all he needs to do. I don’t know whether he’ll stay a mile and a quarter, but he may well do.”
Eshaada wins Fillies & Mares crown
Eshaada (16/1) took the 1 mile 4-furlong Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes for jockey Jim Crowley and trainer Roger Varian.
Eshaada, runner-up in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last June, had just a short head to spare over Albaflora (3/1) at the wire. The Aidan O’Brien-trained three-time Group 1 winner Snowfall (8/11f) was third, beaten three and a half lengths.
Crowley and Varian were both achieving a second career win on QIPCO British Champions Day.
The winning handler Roger Varian said of his filly:
“Eshaada loves cut in the ground and she’s got track form. She is a class filly and I thought she looked a touch overpriced coming into the race. She’s ran a great race and we’re delighted.”
Creative Force gives Appleby Champions Day success
Creative Force (11/2) gave trainer Charlie Appleby another big winner in what has been an incredibly successful season for the English trainer.
The Godolphin handler tasted QIPCO British Champions Day with the son of Dubawi in the Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes over six furlongs.
The three-year-old travelled strongly under jockey William Buick and took the lead at the one furlong from home marker.
The Appleby winner had a length to spare over Glen Shiel (22/1) with 16/1 chance Minzaal taking third, a further length behind, while the race favourite, Art Power (3/1f) was next home in fourth.
Charlie Appleby, speaking of Creative Force, said:
“This was my first runner at Champions Day. Creative Force is a typical Dubawi who should get better with age. The sprint division is there for someone to take the mantle next year and we’ve been looking for a new star sprinter since Blue Point was retired, so hopefully this horse can be a fun horse for the next year or two. There’s a hole there to be filled and I think he is a young enough horse to do that.”
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