Stradivarius out to regain Long Distance crown at Ascot

Stradivarius will face 12 rivals as he bids to regain the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot.

Bjorn Nielsen’s brilliant stayer won the two-mile Group Two in 2018 but was touched off by Kew Gardens in a thrilling finish 12 months ago.

The six-year-old, trained by John Gosden, returns to a more familiar distance on Saturday after two attempts at a mile and a half in the Prix Foy and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Kew Gardens’ trainer Aidan O’Brien has a team of three taking Stradivarius on, headed by last year’s Irish Derby winner Sovereign, alongside Broome and Dawn Patrol.

Supplementing the Irish challenge is Dermot Weld’s dual Irish St Leger heroine Search For A Song.

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Doncaster Cup victor Spanish Mission, Fujaira Prince and Trueshan also feature in a fascinating opener on Qipco British Champions Day.

Haydock Sprint Cup scorer Dream Of Dreams is among a field of 17 declared for the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.

Sir Michael Stoute’s six-year-old is re-opposed by runner-up Glen Shiel and the fourth home, Art Power.

Others in the mix include July Cup winner Oxted, triple Prix de la Foret victor One Master and the unbeaten Starman.

Wonderful Tonight will attempt to back up her Prix de Royallieu success for trainer David Menuisier in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

The Gosden-trained pair of Mehdaayih and Frankly Darling, Irish Oaks winner Even So and O’Brien’s duo of Laburnum and Passion are among others in a 12-strong field.

Ante-post favourite Raaeq heads a maximum 20 in the closing Balmoral Handicap.

Brian Meehan’s lightly-raced colt spread-eagled the opposition over seven furlongs on this course two weeks ago – incurring a 6lb penalty.

Raising Sand and Prince Eiji head the weights on 9st 10lb, while O’Brien’s Cork Listed winner Keats is an interesting contender.

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