By Nicholas Godfrey
So you know Addeybb won the Champion Stakes on Qipco British Champions Day, where Hollie Doyle rode a Group-race double and The Revenant took the QEII. In fact, you’ve probably seen all the races – but here’s some other stuff that might be of interest.
What’s going on?
Champion: ground the key for Addeybb
Mudlover Addeybb went one better than last year’s runner-up effort in Britain’s most valuable contest, the Qipco Champion Stakes, the £750,000 centrepiece of the 10th Qipco British Champions Day programme at Ascot.
After tracking Derby winner Serpentine, the son of Pivotal powered home in the straight to beat fellow gelding Skalleti by 2¼ lengths with magnificent mare Magical a never-nearer third third.
“We always hoped he had it in him,” said trainer William Haggas. “I personally couldn’t see Magical being beaten, because I thought she beat us comprehensively last year, not by very far, and I was frightened that the ground had dried a bit too much today.
“But it’s pretty horrible and he loves it when it’s horrible. He is at his best when there’s a ground inspection in the morning and it passes. He is pretty versatile, but he’s deadly on this ground.”
Haggas considers global options – including Saudi Cup
Addeybb was recording his third G1 victory of the season after two victories in Sydney during the spring, all of them with Tom Marquand in the saddle.
Australia might be on his agenda again in 2021 – but William Haggas also mentioned the possibility of targeting the second running of the world’s richest race, the Saudi Cup, in Riyadh in February.
Asked about returning to Australia, Haggas said: “I have no idea yet because there are horses from Europe in Melbourne and they had 11,000 people at the races in Sydney today. If we can get there, we will obviously consider it.
“We also might consider Saudi Arabia as well, which is dirt but that dirt track is terrific. I was there last year and I thought it was terrific and possibly worth a shot.”
Tom Marquand labelled a ‘future champion’ (again!)
William Haggas paid tribute to Addeybb’s rider Tom Marquand – while also praising the jockey’s girlfriend Hollie Doyle after both shone on British Champions Day with a double apiece.
“Tom’s a young guy who has a girlfriend kicking him up the backside every day,” laughed Haggas. “He’s a very personable, strong rider with a big future. I have no doubt he will be champion one day. They need to be riding on days like this, and he’s got there very young, but he has a great future ahead of him.”
Marquand completed his double on Njord in the concluding Balmoral Handicap.
Champions Sprint: Hollie Doyle’s G1 breakthrough
Just 35 minutes after landing the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup on Trueshan, Hollie Doyle capped her annus mirabilis with her first G1 success on Glen Shiel in the British Champions Sprint.
The Archie Watson-trained six-year-old held the veteran Brando by a nose. “I’m in a state of shock right now,” said Doyle, who earlier this week broke her own record for most winners in a calendar year by a female rider.
“I didn’t think I’d won, so to have had the result we have was incredible,” added the 24-year-old. “It is a dream come true, a massive dream come true, especially on this horse. Everyone in the yard adores him.”
Having ridden her first Group winner at this year’s July meeting on Dame Malliot – runner-up in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes – Doyle now has six Group-race wins to her name.
She said: “I don’t get too carried away, but I’m a bit delusional as to what is going on at the moment as it has all been a bit of a whirlwind. It has been a great few years.”
QEII: The Revenant is number five for France
The Revenant became the fifth French-trained winner at British Champions Day as he overcame the dogged resistance of outsider Roseman in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
The soft-ground lover is the third French representative to win the £650,000 contest after Charm Spirit (2014) and Solow (2015), while Cirrus Des Aigles (2011) and Almanzor (2016) have landed the Champion Stakes.
Like Addeybb in Saturday’s edition of the latter contest, The Revenant is a gelding who went one better than his 2019 runner-up effort – the five-year-old’s sole defeat in seven starts over the last two seasons.
In a former life, the son of Dubawi scored at Haydock on his two-year-old debut in September 2017 for his original trainer Hugo Palmer before being sent to France.
Palace Pier loses shoe
On a dismal afternoon for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori, odds-on favourite Palace Pier lost a shoe in finishing third and forfeiting his unbeaten record behind The Revenant.
“I couldn’t get him to change his legs which is very unlike him,” said Dettori. “Obviously you can’t win a race like this with just three wheels.”
Gosden added: “He pulled a shoe off leaving the gate. He was trying to run the whole race with one shoe off and Frankie said he was not able to change leads and the horse wasn’t able to handle the ground.”
Five out of five for geldings
Geldings are not eligible for several of Europe’s most prestigious races, the Classics and Arc among them. However, they landed all five of the races open to them on Britain’s richest raceday, where Addeybb’s Champion Stakes win was accompanied by Trueshan, Glen Shiel, The Revenant and Njord.
Indeed, the only race not won by a gelded horse was the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.
Fillies & Mares: Arc 2021 target for Wonderful Tonight
Wonderful Tonight followed up her G1 success over Arc weekend with more of the same in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes as she powered home following an early move by William Buick.
After landing his first G1 victory in Britain, trainer David Menuisier said next year’s Arc would be the target for owner Chris Wright’s filly. She is rated a 33-1 shot with Ladbrokes.
“Look, I am speechless, absolutely speechless,” said Pulborough-based Menuisier. “I am so tired, I think I pushed harder than William riding the filly!
“We nearly ran her in the Arc this year,” he added. “I think she would have run a stormer – but she wasn’t a G1 winner yet. Now she is, so the sky is the limit.”
Long Distance Cup: Stradivarius ‘hated’ the ground
Champion stayer Stradivarius beat only one home behind Trueshan in the G2 British Champions Long Distance Cup.
“It was too deep and too heavy,” said trainer John Gosden. “He hated it and Frankie thought he pulled his shoes off.
“He was in good form,” added Gosden. “The ground was very deep down there and he would have probably been better running on the inner track.”
Shall we talk about it?
William Haggas (Addeybb’s trainer): “Addeybb is a special horse for us and has done lots of things that we can only dream of. He’s a marvellous horse and he was really up for it today. He was in a great position and he stays. He is tough, he loves the ground and loves it here.
“He has been absolutely fantastic. The first time he wore cheekpieces in the Wolferton last year he put up a pretty smart performance, and ever since then he’s either been first or second in top company.
“He was really on it today. He looked fantastic beforehand, we thought, but he was grumpy and difficult to saddle, which is a good sign for him. He has such a marvellous nature and this is tailor-made for him. We all know that he loves this ground.”
Tom Marquand (Addeybb’s jockey): “It is just incredible. He has shown that he is top-class in Australia, winning two G1s, and Verry Elleegant went and beat our Derby winner from last year Anthony Van Dyck this morning, who Addeybb beat in the Ranvet and QEII. He has come here today and has torn the field apart, beating the likes of Magical. You have to be a champion to do that.
“He travelled like a true good horse throughout the race and to be honest when I started getting going, I just bombed the straight. It is remarkable, I’ve never ridden a horse like him. He goes over ground that’s as bad as you can get and he makes it feel like you are on quick ground. That is why he’s so good on it.
“He deserved that so much because he’s been knocking on the door and shows he’s a champion but never had his day. Now he’s got it.”
Pierre-Charles Boudot (The Revenant’s jockey): “Today I was very confident and the horse did it well on the track. He loved the ground and the trip has been perfect behind Circus Maximus. My horse was very relaxed behind him and when I asked him, he gave me a nice and long turn of foot. He has been courageous on the last furlong. A super tough horse – he’s courageous and he is just good.”
Frankie Dettori (Palace Pier’s jockey): “You can’t go a mile with just one leg, you have to use both and I tried to get him to change. It was very unlike him. Obviously, you can’t win a race with three wheels – you need all four.”
Hollie Doyle (Glen Shiel’s jockey): “This is not about me, it’s about Archie Watson, as he has campaigned this horse unbelievably. No one else would have won a G1 with this horse. We got him out of Andre Fabre’s and we ran him over 10 furlongs. Archie kept stepping him back and back in trip and I am not going to lie, even I doubted it, but this is obviously the key to him.”
David Menuisier (Wonderful Tonight’s trainer): “She is top class all round. She is easy to train and as tough as anything. She is getting better and better, and there is still some improvement to come. She is still a tad keen early on so, once she really knows how to settle, I think she can go up a notch again.
“I am absolutely thrilled. She is a champion. I feel so lucky and blessed. We bought her at the sales as a yearling for next to nothing and here she is winning her second G1 in two weeks.
“You never know, especially with fillies, whether they are going to train on or not, but we wanted to keep her as a four-year-old to target the Arc next year.”
William Buick (Wonderful Tonight’s jockey): “Her form is there for everyone to see. She won the Royallieu at Longchamp on Arc weekend, which is a mile and six, so we knew she stays, and the ground was very similar to today. She ticked all the boxes, but she has a lot of class and the will to win to go with it.
“The race panned out beautifully for her but, when you are in front from about three furlongs out, everyone knows that it is a long way home. That straight can be quite daunting, but she did nothing but keep going. She has the stamina to go with it as well.”
Hollie Doyle (Trueshan’s jockey): “This is a proper horse. I rode him on his first two wins and have always liked him, but I am not going to lie, I didn’t realise he would be up to G2 level like today. “He was almost over-travelling with me, I had to stay out a bit wide for the first three furlongs and luckily I managed to slot in and get a nice position upsides Stradivarius. The further I was going, the better and he was tanking me – he went through the ground like a tractor, he loved it!”
• Visit the British Champions Day website