The QIPCO Champions Day at Ascot is the British version of the Breeders’ Cup.  Champions Day 2019 was held at Ascot Racecourse on October 19th and the Breeders’ Cup is scheduled for November 1st and 2nd.  The events are year-end championships, but they are structurally different.

Champions Day consists of only six turf races for 3-year-olds and up:

  • Class 1 Sprint at 6 furlongs with a purse (in U. S. currency) of $746,500
  • Class 2 race for fillies and mares over 2 miles with a purse of $576,000
  • Class 1 race at 1 ½ miles with a purse of $704,000
  • Class 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over 1 mile with a purse of $1,408,000
  • Class 1 Champions Stake at 1 ¼ miles with a purse of $1,739,000
  • Class 2 Handicap over 1 mile with a purse of $320,000

In contrast, the Breeders’ Cup cards 14 predominately Grade 1 races spread over Friday and Saturday. Unlike Champions Day, the Breeders’ Cup has races on both dirt and turf and has five races for 2-year-olds.  While two of the six Champions Day purses exceed $1 million, every Breeders’ Cup race is worth at least $1 million, with the two feature races—the Classic and the Turf–offering purses of $6 million and $4 million, respectively.

The best distance horses in Europe are targeted for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in early October in France and then their connections have the option of competing in Champions Day at Ascot or the Breeders’ Cup or both. It takes quite a horse to take on top-level turf horses three times in less than a month. 

The 4-year-old Irish-based filly Magical qualifies. She finished 5th in the 2019 Arc, won the 2019 Champions Stake, and will now run in either the Breeders Cup Turf or the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Based on a lot of evidence, one would infer that the European horses really are more rugged than their American counterparts. This result is likely a combination of breeding for distance, training, fewer sprints, and drug-free races.

Copyright © 2019 Horse Racing Business

After this post went live, news came that Magical was scratched owing to spiking a fever.