The QIPCO British Champions Series, which showcases the best Flat races in Britain, hit its mid-season high last week with seven Series races taking place during Royal Ascot.
We are now half-way to QIPCO British Champions Day on Saturday 19 October with 15 races run and 15 to go before the biggest day in British Flat racing takes place with £3.4m in prize money on offer.
Amongst a host of top-drawer performances at the Royal Meeting, Al Kazeem registered the highest performance rating of the season so far when clocking 126 in his Prince of Wales's Stakes victory.
He just eclipsed Dawn Approach's 125 achieved in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas (Dawn Approach's performance in winning the St James's Palace Stakes on day one of Royal Ascot earned a rating of 124).
Sky Lantern's victory in the Coronation Stakes, for which she was awarded a rating of 119 by the official BHA handicapper, was the highest achieved in the Fillies and Mares division of the QIPCO British Champions since Midday's Nassau Stakes triumph in 2011, which earned a rating of 120.
Meanwhile Lethal Force put up the best sprint performance by a UK-trained horse in this country for almost two years.
He clocked 120 for his impressive Diamond Jubilee Stakes victory, beating last year's best performance by a UK sprinter – Mayson's 119 in the Darley July Cup. Only Europe's champion sprinter of 2011, Dream Ahead, stands above him in the last two years.
Richard Hughes and Aidan O'Brien retained their slender leads in the Jockey and Trainer of the Series tables – both have amassed 70 points – as we head towards the Coral-Eclipse, Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes and Darley July Cup, the next three QIPCO British Champions Series races.
If Sky Lantern was to contest the Falmouth, Hughes would have an outstanding chance of making it four out of four in the Fillies and Mares category this season.
Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series Ltd, said: “It was a fantastic Royal Ascot with all seven Series races throwing up something special.
“The highlight was obviously The Queen's victory with Estimate, a horse we very much hope to see back at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day.
“Also heading to Ascot that day will surely be Dawn Approach and Toronado to continue their rivalry in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes although their next showdown may come in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes on 31 July.
“Al Kazeem seems likely to step up to a mile and a half in the Arc, though that wouldn't necessarily stop him finishing his season back at ten furlongs in the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
“Another horse we'd love to see would be Sky Lantern in either the Champion or QE2 – she's clearly the best three-year-old filly we've seen for a while and the way she won the Coronation Stakes was simply sensational.”
2013 QIPCO British Champions Series Horse Rankings – the Top Ten
1 Al Kazeem 126 Middle Distance (Prince of Wales's Stakes, Royal Ascot)
2= Dawn Approach 125 Mile(QIPCO 2000 Guineas, Newmarket)
2= Mukhadram 125 Middle Distance(Prince of Wales's Stakes, Royal Ascot)
4 St Nicholas Abbey 124 Middle Distance (Investec Coronation Cup, Epsom)
5 Toronado 123 Mile (St James's Palace Stakes, Royal Ascot)
6 Farhh 121 Mile (JLT Lockinge Stakes, Newbury)
7= Ruler Of The World 120 Middle Distance(Investec Derby, Epsom)
7= Lethal Force 120 Sprint (Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Royal Ascot)
9 Sky Lantern 119 Fillies & Mares (Coronation Stakes, Royal Ascot)
10 Declaration Of War 118 Mile(Queen Anne Stakes, Royal Ascot)
The rankings above are based on the best individual performance ratings awarded by the official BHA handicapper to the first three home in each QIPCO British Champions Series race.
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