Aidan O’Brien declares four for Champion Stakes
Cirrus Des Aigles heads 15 entries for Saturday’s race at Ascot
Aidan O’Brien. Photograph: Getty Images
Cirrus Des Aigles heads 15 entries for the the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, with The Fugue not among them.
As expected, with the ground currently good to soft, soft in places and more rain forecast this week, John Gosden’s filly will head straight to the Breeders’ Cup.
While ground conditions have gone against The Fugue, the recent rain has come to the delight of connections of Cirrus Des Aigles, who bounced back to form in the Prix Dollar on Arc weekend.
His main market rivals, Farhh and Aidan O’Brien’s Declaration Of War, are both entered in the QEII as well as the Champion Stakes, with Maxios just entered in the mile contest.
O’Brien also has Kingsbarns, Magician and Ruler Of The World as Champion Stakes possibles.
Mukhadram is also among the six-day acceptors, along with Hunter’s Light, Parish Hall, Hillstar, Morandi, Trading Leather, Triple Threat and Sky Lantern.
Farhh and Declaration Of War are among 17 horses left in Saturday’s £1 million QEII.
But the biggest surprise is the decision of connections to supplement the remarkable Top Notch Tonto into the line-up at a cost of £70,000 to owner Keith Brown. Brian Ellison’s chestnut is on a hat-trick after winning a Group Three at Haydock and a Listed race at Redcar.
All of the expected big guns remain in contention for the mile prize, with Dawn Approach and Toronado on course to clash for the fourth time this season.
International raider Soft Falling Rain, trained by South African Mike De Kock in Newmarket, is set to go off as one of the favourites, while multiple Group One winner Sky Lantern has been left in the race by Richard Hannon - although she could line up in the Champion instead, or miss the meeting altogether if conditions are deemed unsuitable.
Also in the contest are a number of other top-notch winners such as high-class filly Elusive Kate, Prix du Moulin star Maxios, Prix Jean Prat winner Olympic Glory, Magician, who took the Irish 2000 Guineas, Gregorian, who beat Soft Falling Rain in Newbury’s Hungerford Stakes and recent Haydock Sprint Cup winner Gordon Lord Byron.
Burwaaz, Caspar Netscher, Kingsbarns and Leitir Mor complete the field.