Royal Ascot Stars Returned for British Champions Day 2021

  • Palace Pier narrowly misses on Queen Elizabeth II Stakes victory
  • Adayar bested by Sealiway in Champion Stakes
  • Creative Force dominates the field in Champions Sprint
  • Stradivarius misses out on QIPCO British Champions Day to target Royal Ascot Gold Cup

A magnificent array of equine stars returned to Ascot Racecourse in 2021 for the final meeting of the flat racing season – QIPCO British Champions Day, which Eventmasters hospitality guests got to witness from inside our stunning Ascot Pavilion facility and Grandstand Private Box.

British Champions Day is Britain’s most valuable race day, with this year’s prize money at £4,091,250 up by 61% on last year’s totals. Two races run for more than £1 million – the QIPCO Champion Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, which totalled £2.2 million in 2021.

It was a momentous afternoon, with Royal Ascot Queen Anne Stakes winner and Horse of the Year Palace Pier gracing the hallowed Ascot turf, as well as Charlie Appleby-trained Creative Force and Adayar.

QIPCO British Champions Day has fast become the definitive season-ending meeting, and this year it was no different, with a galaxy of Royal Ascot stars confirmed.

Palace Pier Headlined Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

John Gosden’s Royal Ascot winner Palace Pier headlined the historic Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day.

Under Frankie Dettori, Palace Pier proved he was a class apart in the curtain-raiser at Royal Ascot, blitzing the field to cruise home by a length and a half.

While the Champions Day race was not to be, the four-year-old bay colt won three Group 1 races in 2021! But the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes proved to be his stiffest test yet, with William Haggus-trained horse Baaeed, last year’s winner The Revenant and Royal Ascot Coronation Stakes winner Alcohol Free heading the list of challengers.

Spectators had been expecting a mouthwatering clash between him and unbeaten G1 winner Baaeed in the QEII Stakes at Ascot, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

Much was promised, and even more, was delivered on a fine day at Ascot Racecourse. Three-year-old Baaeed put in an excellent performance to launch himself into the realms of equine victory after beating the formidable Palace Pier by a neck.

It was a clash of giants, and though Palace Pier – whose retirement was announced earlier this month – missed out on victory, the champion miler has cemented his place as one of the best four-year-olds of his generation.

Following the announcement of his retirement, Italian jockey Frankie Dettori said:

“Palace Pier has been a great champion and is probably one of the best milers I’ve ever ridden.”

Before QIPCO British Champions Day, the John and Thady Gosden-trained four-year-old had only lost once in his racing career.

QIPCO Ascot Champions Day horses along the finishing straight

Adayar Misses on Champion Stakes Win

The QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot was the race that left crowds gobsmacked after Adayar and Mishriff finished out of the top three.

Earlier this year Adayar made history after becoming the second horse to seal victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Royal Ascot. The Frankel colt performed incredibly under jockey Adam Kirby and was a favourite, alongside rival Mishriff heading into the QIPCO Champion Stakes.

The punters believed that Adayar could use his massive stride to maximum effect on the less stamina-sapping ground and lead away from the rest of the pack.

But it was not to be.

Sealiway, who placed fifth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe just 13 days earlier, put in a showstopper performance on British Champions Day, fighting all the way against the William Haggas-trained Dubai Honour, who finished in second place by three-quarters of a length.

Mishriff ended up placing fourth behind Mac Swiney, while Charlie Appleyby’s Adayar came up in fifth. Appleby commented: “Will just said that he was always doing too much, and it paid up the straight. Those exertions paid towards the end.”

The Champion Stakes result put the jockey’s championship out of William Buick’s reach.

Creative Force Seals Champions Sprint

Creative Force blew rivals out of the park to land the G1 Champions Sprint at Ascot Racecourse.

Months earlier, Creative Force dominated the G3 Jersey thriller at Royal Ascot, beating stablemate Naval Crown to secure four out of five career wins. His only defeat was in last year’s Coventry Stakes.

Stepping up in trip to seven furlongs, the Chestnut gelding showed his class under jockey James Doyle, emerging out of the unfavoured centre of the track to run out ahead and finish by a length and a quarter.

Creative Force appears to have returned to winning ways following his race at Royal Ascot, dominating the field in the QIPCO Champions Sprint to break trainer Charlie Appleby’s Champions Day duck.

With more than a furlong to go, Creative Force cruised past frontrunner Glen Shiel to land his first Group One success. Defending champion Minzaal could only manage third, while Art Power finished in fourth.

Jockey William Buick stated: “It couldn’t have gone better for Creative Force. The ground was very fast, but he got himself back into it. He really did deserve it.”

When asked about receiving his first Champions Day victory, Appleby exclaimed:

“We’ve waited for the right horse!”

Stradivarius Will Continue to Train for Another Year

Just when we thought the seven-time Group 1 winner Stradivarius would be retiring, John and Thady Gosden delivered some exciting news. Stradivarius will stay in training for another year and target the Royal Ascot Gold Cup in 2022!

After a visit from owner Bjorn Nielsen, John Gosden said: “Mr Nielsen’s intention is for Stradivarius to stay in training next year and target three races: a prep run, the Ascot Gold Cup and the Goodwood Cup, at this stage.”

Bookie favourite Stradivarius missed out on making history in the renowned Gold Cup race on Royal Ascot Thursday after losing to Mark Johnston-trained horse Subjectivist.

Although Subjectivist gave connections a scare the Friday before Royal Ascot after falling over on his way to the gallops, he came, saw and conquered Britain’s top event for long-distance thoroughbreds.

A misjudged strategy by talented jockey Frankie Dettori sunk Stradivarius’s chances of a record-equalling fourth triumph in the Gold Cup race.

The mighty chestnut was due to return to Ascot Racecourse on QIPCO British Champions Day for the Long Distance Cup, but it looks like we’ll have to look ahead to 2022 for his return to action.

Our Royal Ascot hospitality packages for 2022 are now on sale. So don’t miss out on one of the most glamorous and prestigious events of the British summer sporting calendar.

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