The winners of most of the Gr1 races during the year are entered, and those who are victorious on the day could be crowned ‘Champion’ of their respective divisions.
The first race (14h25) could see another duel between Trueshan and Stradivarius in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup, a Gr2 for the stayers over 3200m. They are set to renew rivalry after Trueshan defeated Stradivarius in Longchamp’s Prix Du Cadran earlier this month on Arc weekend.
The Alan King-trained Trueshan took this prize 12 months ago, while John and Thady Gosden’s Stradivarius was successful in 2018.
John Gosden commented about his star seven-year-old: “We made a mistake running in France on ground which was not what we had been led to expect.”
While the Ascot going may be more to Stradivarius’ liking, Alan King is yet to decide on whether soft-ground specialist Trueshan will line up. He said: “I’ve left Trueshan in and we’ll make a decision on Thursday.”
The unexposed Hamish from the William Haggas yard is another to consider. He returned from a 15-month layoff with a taking victory over the good yard-stick Hukum in a Kempton group three last month.
In the following race, the Gr1 Qipco British Champions Sprint over six furlongs, Dragon Symbol, who has been a model of consistency in the best sprint races all season would be a deserved winner. Champion jockey Oisin Murphy retains the ride. Trainer Archie Watson has a second string in last year’s winner Glen Shiel.
Rohaan, the Wokingham winner at Royal Ascot, caused an upset when edging Dragon Symbol out at Haydock in May. The Mayson gelding was a staying on fifth at the Curragh last month. He made up an unbelievable amount of ground in the last two furlongs and Ryan Moore now rides.
Race 3 is the Gr1 Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares over a mile and a half. Coolmore seem to have a very strong hand with Love and Snowfall both entered, but these two Galileo fillies have been on the go all season. Oaks winner Snowfall would be making a quick reappearance after finishing sixth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, while Love was a late withdrawal after developing a temperature.
The lightly raced Gosden-trained Free Wind heads the ante-post market following convincing victories in the Prix Minerve at Deauville and the Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster.
The Gr1 Qipco Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, arguably the day’s highlight, sees the champion four-year-old miler Palace Pier do battle with the unbeaten Haggas trained three-year-old Baaeed.
The John and Thady Gosden-trained four-year-old has only lost once in his 10-race career but that defeat did come in this race 12 months ago.
Last year’s winner The Revenant is back again for French trainer Frances-Henri Graffard. Following a couple of defeats on unsuitably fast ground in the spring, he returned to something like his best when a fast finishing second to Real World in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein on Arc weekend.
Another blockbuster – the Gr1 Qipco Champion Stakes sees old rivals Adayar and Mishriff lock horns after their mid-summer spectacle here in the King George.
Last year’s winner Addeybb, Derby and King George hero Adayar and the brilliant Mishriff are among 14 confirmations – carded as race five on the day with a first prize of £715,000.
The William Haggas-trained Addeybb made a promising return from a break when splitting St Mark’s Basilica and Mishriff in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in early July but has missed multiple engagements since due to unsuitable ground conditions.
Haggas will be praying for as much as rain as possible ahead of his bid for back-to-back Champion Stakes triumphs this weekend.
Charlie Appleby confirmed over the weekend that Adayar would be left in the Champion Stakes at the confirmation stage, with a final decision on his participation to be made later in the week.
If the three-year-old does take his chance, he will be turning out just 13 days after finishing fourth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The marginal favourite with most bookmakers is John and Thady Gosden’s brilliant Mishriff, who has been saved for this race since his dominant display in the Juddmonte International at York in August.
The Saudi Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic winner had previously finished third in the Eclipse and runner-up to Adayar in the King George.