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British Champions Day: Top Five Moments

Qipco British Champions Day brings down the curtain on the Flat season in style, with more prize-money on offer at the Berkshire track than on any other raceday in Britain.

The lucrative six-race card, which starts with the Group Two Long Distance Cup, features four Group One races and closes with the ever-competitive Balmoral Handicap, is one of the highlights in the Flat calendar.

Despite having only been staged since 2011, there have been many special performances from champions down the years and to build up to this season's spectacle, we have picked out our top five moments.

WhatBritish Champions Day
WhereAscot Racecourse, Ascot, Berkshire
WhenSaturday 21st October 2023
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming, ITV & Sky Sports Racing

Frankel's farewell lives long in the memory

Frankel arrived at Ascot for his final start with a perfect record of 13 wins from 13 races, so the pressure was on for the son of Galileo to remain unbeaten after the Champion Stakes.

The four-year-old had shown his ability to see out the 1m 2f trip at York on his previous start as he had romped to a seven-length success at the expense of Lockinge winner Farhh in the Juddmonte International.

But the forecast soft ground, plus the presence of defending champion Cirrus Des Aigles and King George winner Nathaniel, meant this was his toughest test to date.

However, Frankel defied both testing conditions and a botched start to retire unbeaten, leading home former champion Cirrus Des Aigles for a 14th straight victory.

There wasn't a dry eye in the house as his trainer Sir Henry Cecil, so evidently struggling with a terminal illness which saw him die only eight months later, confirmed the superstar's retirement.

Frankel is without question the best Flat horse we have ever seen and the reception he received following his farewell victory is one that will live long in the memory.

Cracksman follows in his father's footsteps

Frankel may no longer be racing but his legacy as a sire lives on and in Cracksman he produced a top-class operator.

Cracksman may not have had Frankel's unblemished record, but he did win eight of his 11 starts, which included twice emulating his father's successes by winning the Champion Stakes.

Soft ground at Ascot and Cracksman was pretty devastating. The son of Frankel romped to a seven-length victory over Poet's Word to take the Champion Stakes in 2017 and defended his crown with a six-length win over Crystal Ocean a year later.

Under those conditions, Cracksman had the wow factor and partnered by Frankie Dettori and trained by John Gosden, it was always going to be a popular combination.

Muhaarar blasts past his rivals

The first running of the Champions Sprint as a Group 1 in 2015 attracted a stellar cast, including two previous winners of the race in Gordon Lord Byron and Maarek.

However, it was dominated by a pair of three-year-olds and Muhaarar, who had won the Commonwealth Cup, July Cup and Prix Maurice de Gheest earlier in the season, proved himself to be the best European-trained sprinter of his generation.

The Charlie Hills-trained three-year-old defeated Twilight Son by two lengths to take the prize and that was to be the final time he graced the turf before he was sent to stud.

Muhaarar won seven of his 11 career starts, earning in excess of £1.2million in prize money, and we are yet to see a Champions Sprint performance of that magnitude.

Mission accomplished by Noble

Two years after Frankel won the Champion Stakes, Noble Mission, Frankel's brother who was trained by the widow of legendary trainer Henry Cecil, went on to emulate those achievements.

Noble Mission didn't carry superstar status like his brother and, having only won four of his first 15 starts, few would have expected him to turn into a multiple Group One winner.

However, Frankel's retirement sparked some sort of transformation in Noble Mission who, trained by Lady Cecil, made it his mission to keep the legacy going.

As a five-year-old, Noble Mission won five of his seven starts, going out at the top with a hard-fought Champion Stakes victory that saw him and James Doyle beat Al Kazeem by a neck.

Spectators were unable to hold back the emotions after the fairy tale success, which left trainer Lady Cecil in tears as she reminisced the past achievements of her beloved partner, Henry.

Doyle makes Champions Day history

On October 17th 2020, Hollie Doyle became the first female jockey to ride a winner on Champions Day at Ascot, as she guided Trueshan to a runaway success in the Long Distance Cup.

In a competitive race featuring the likes of Stradivarius, Search For A Song and Broome, Trueshan relished the underfoot conditions to win by seven-and-a-half lengths.

The Alan King-trained mud-lover went to win a Group 1 prize under Doyle in the Qatar Prix du Cadran on Arc weekend, but this was his emergence and highlighted his jockey as one of the best in the business.

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