The 2019 Flat Racing Season Finale – Your Guide to British Champions Day

The flat racing season comes to a close on Saturday, but the final day of action should be one to remember. So ,what does Ascot’s British Champions Day have in store and what will the course conditions be like?

British Champions Day 2019 – The Basics

With six thrilling races on the card and a prize fund of £4.2 million on offer, British Champions Day attracts jockeys and trainers from all over the world. This year’s event takes place on Saturday 19 October, with the gates opening at 10.30 a.m.

Horse racing fans will be able to watch:

  • The British Champions Sprint Stakes – Set to start at 13.35, this Group 1 race sees horses aged three years and over compete over a distance of six furlongs.
  • The British Champions Long Distance Cup – This Group 2 race, featuring thoroughbreds aged three and over, will start at 14.10. The competitors will race over 1 mile, 7 furlongs and 127 yards in an attempt to claim a share of the £450,000 prize fund and a glittering horse racing trophy
  • The British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes – Scheduled to begin at 14.45, this is a Group 1 race for horses aged three years and above. Run over a distance of 1 mile, 3 furlongs and 133 yards, it has a total prize fund of £550,000.
  • The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (British Champions Mile) – This Group 1 race is the last of the year’s British Champions’ Series mile races and is open to thoroughbreds aged three and over. There’s a purse of £1,100,000 and the race will take place at 15.20.
  • The Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) – This is the most prestigious race on the card and, thanks to its £1,300,000 purse, it’s likely to be a hard-fought one. The action’s set to start at 16.00 and the contenders will cover a distance of 1 mile and 2 furlongs.
  • The Balmoral Handicap Stakes – This is a one-mile handicap race for horses aged three years and over. Prize money of £250,000 is available and the race begins at 16.40.

Conditions at This Year’s Event

There has been heavy rainfall in the Ascot area recently and, earlier this week, the organisers announced that the Round course was waterlogged. The three races that would have taken place on that course – the Long Distance Cup, the Fillies and Mares Stakes, and the Champion Stakes – will now, therefore, take place on the inner track instead. This means that the distances covered in the first two of these races (detailed above) are slightly shorter than usual. At the time of writing, the going on the inner track was being described as Good to Soft and Soft in places, while the going on the straight course was described as Heavy. However, more rain is expected to fall over the weekend.

The current course conditions should suit horses such as Kevin Ryan’s Hello Youmzain, who’s set to run in the Champion Sprint Stakes, and Antonia de Vega, who will take part in the Fillies and Mares Stakes. Stradivarius triumphed on soft ground in last year’s Long Distance Cup race and is the favourite for the 2019 title too. However, he will only participate if John Gosden, his trainer, is happy with the course on Saturday.

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