Gos­den sad­dles 10 for Cham­pi­ons Day spec­tac­u­lar

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Racing - By Mar­cus Army­tage

The head­line names, in­clud­ing Stradi­var­ius, the Clas­sic win­ners Ana­purna, Phoenix of Spain and Magna Gre­cia and star Ja­pa­nese filly Deirdre, have all been de­clared for the ninth Qipco Cham­pi­ons Day at As­cot to­mor­row, de­spite fears heavy ground would mean some stay­ing at home or opt­ing to wait for the Breed­ers’ Cup in a fort­night.

Last year, John Gos­den won the QEII with Roar­ing Lion, the Cham­pion Stakes with Cracks­man and the Long Dis­tance Cup with Stradi­var­ius. This time, he will sad­dle 10 run­ners in his at­tempt to re­gain the train­ers’ cham­pi­onship – he leads reign­ing cham­pion Ai­dan O’brien by ap­prox­i­mately £730,000.

Three of them, Stradi­var­ius, (Long Dis­tance), Star Catcher (Fil­lies and Mares) and Lord North (Bal­moral Hand­i­cap) are likely to be sent off favourites. “Have a tre­ble on Cham­pi­ons Day and imag­ine you are go­ing to do it again?” Gos­den said. “You might be smok­ing your socks if you think that! We’ll be thrilled with one win­ner.”

Gos­den stressed that, as he did last year, he would walk the course – es­sen­tially, the hur­dles track – for Stradi­var­ius to­mor­row morn­ing to make sure it was not too soft. “I did it last year and then dis­cussed it with Bjorn Nielsen [the owner],” he said. “We de­cided to run and I hope we make the same de­ci­sion.”

Frankie Det­tori has cho­sen Star

Catcher over Ana­purna, the Oaks win­ner, in the Fil­lies and Mares. “I think it was a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion for him,” Gos­den said. “He’s gone with the one with the long­est gap be­tween their races.”

The go­ing at Brighton caused prob­lems yes­ter­day when a patch of false ground near the six-furlong mark meant only races of six and five fur­longs could take place. Four races over fur­ther were aban­doned.

As fore­cast on The Daily Tele­graph busi­ness pages last month, it was an­nounced yes­ter­day that the UK Tote Group, for­merly known as Al­izeti, had com­pleted its ac­qui­si­tion of the Tote, the UK’S pool bet­ting op­er­a­tor for rac­ing since 1928.

Win­ner: Stradi­var­ius takes the Long Dis­tance Cup for John Gos­den last year

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