With the race to become Champion Jockey up for grabs on Qipco British Champions Day, we take a look at contenders William Buick and Oisin Murphy’s key rides.
1:25 – Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup
William Buick: Roberto Escobarr (William Haggas) – 33/1
Oisin Murphy: No ride
The opening race gives William Buick the chance to take an early advantage as Murphy is without a ride in the Group Two Long Distance Cup, a race won last year by Trueshan.
Buick rides Roberto Escobarr for William Haggas, who ran well in the Rose Bowl Stakes at Newmarket last time out but will have to improve significantly in order to get amongst likely market leaders Trueshan and Stradivarius, both multiple Group One winners.
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- Queen Elizabeth II Stakes: Race-by-race preview
- Champion Stakes: Race-by-race preview
Dragon Symbol is first past the post in the Commonwealth Cup but Campanelle (near side) gets the race in the stewards' room
2:00 – Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes
Buick: Creative Force (Charlie Appleby) – 7/1
Murphy: Dragon Symbol (Archie Watson) – 9/2
The ultra-consistent Dragon Symbol is Murphy’s first ride of the afternoon in the Champions Sprint Stakes over six furlongs and represents a real chance for the two-time Champion Jockey to get on the board.
Archie Watson’s admirable three-year-old has ran four excellent races in Group One company this season, not finishing outside the front four and crossed the line in front in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, only to be demoted in the stewards’ room behind Campanelle of Wesley Ward.
Buick rides Jersey Stakes winner Creative Force, who would have every chance on that form but put in a slightly below-par run in the Sprint Cup at Haydock, finishing sixth behind Emaraaty Ana.
Ascot Champions Day live on Sky Sports
Watch British Champions Day at Ascot live on Sky Sports Racing on Saturday, October 16 from 12.30pm
2:35 – Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes
Buick: No ride
Murphy: Tribal Craft (Andrew Balding) – 20/1
It’s roles reversed in the third race as Buick has no ride in the Fillies & Mares Stakes over 12 furlongs, giving Murphy a chance to strike back with a lively outsider from the Andrew Balding yard.
He rides Tribal Craft, who was an excellent second behind Wonderful Tonight in the Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood in July but she will probably have to improve on that performance to get close to dual Oaks winner Snowfall, who most recently finished sixth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Oisin Murphy celebrates as Alcohol Free crosses the line in front in the Sussex Stakes
3:10 – Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
Buick: Master of The Seas (Charlie Appleby) – 8/1
Murphy: Alcohol Free (Andrew Balding) – 9/1
This year’s QEII has been billed as Palace Pier vs Baaeed, but both Buick and Murphy will be hoping for a minor shock with their respective rides who both look to have decent each-way chances.
Buick rides Craven Stakes winner Master of The Seas, who was an excellent second to Poetic Flare in the 2000 Guineas and should be cherry ripe for this assignment after a decent prep run in the Joel Stakes last month.
Alcohol Free is the mount of Murphy, who has already landed two Group One races on the three-year-old filly in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Adayar and William Buick win the King George
3:50 – Qipco Champion Stakes
Buick: Adayar (Charlie Appleby) – 2/1
Murphy: No ride
Epsom Derby and King George hero Adayar is the big-race mount for Buick in the Champion Stakes, where he will go head-to-head with Juddmonte International winner Mishriff and 2020 winner Addeybb.
Adayar finished a close fourth in the Arc, with Appleby stating on Thursday that his three-year-old superstar has come out of that race in flying form.
The Champion Stakes will represent the first time he has dropped back down to ten furlongs since finishing second to Alenquer in the Bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown. Murphy has no ride in the feature race.
Oisin Murphy leads Sir Busker into the winner's enclosure at Ascot last year
4:30 – Balmoral Handicap
Buick: Matthew Flinders (Ed Walker) – 18/1
Murphy: Sir Busker (William Knight) – 12/1
If the title is still up for grabs at 4:30pm on Saturday, we will be in for a thrilling finale in the Balmoral Handicap over a mile.
Murphy rides course winner Sir Busker, who landed the Silver Royal Hunt Cup in 2020 at Royal Ascot. He tends to save his best for the Berkshire track, finishing third in this year’s Queen Anne Stakes and was an excellent fourth in last season’s QEII.
Buick’s final ride is on Matthew Flinders, who drops back to handicap company after finishing a well-beaten sixth in the Listed Dubai Duty Free Cup at Newbury.