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Richest race draws ‘em in

By Sue Montgomery

The £1.3m QIPCO Champion Stakes, which will be the richest race ever run in Britain when it is staged at Ascot in October, attracted 40 entries yesterday including three of the world's leading middle-distance performers in So You Think, Nathaniel and Pour Moi.

Whether or not they eventually line up remains to be seen — So You Think may be in Australia by then, and Nathaniel and Pour Moi have the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe 13 days earlier as their prime autumn target.

One of the best in the division who will definitely not have the Ascot 10-furlong contest as an afterthought, though, is Workforce.

Last year's Arc winner, who has run second in the 10-furlong Eclipse Stakes (to So You Think) and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (to Nathaniel) has not been entered.

“It's to do with the distance more than anything,” said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to the four-year-old's owner Khalid Abdullah.

“He's happiest at a mile and a half and the Arc is again the plan.”

The injury picked up by Sir Michael Stoute-trained Workforce in last month's King George has not proved to a problem, with the colt having shrugged off any lameness.

“There was nothing very major,” added Grimthorpe. “He's progressing well.”

So You Think will miss next month's York International in favour of Ireland's premier 10-furlong contest, next month's Irish Champion Stakes, after which a decision will be made whether he is to enter quarantine ahead of a tilt at an unprecedented third Cox Plate in his native Australia.

Although mile champion Frankel has been given an entry in the Champion Stakes at Ascot, his main target on the inaugural British Champions Day will be the £1 million Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, for which is is already 1-3 favourite.

The only horse to give Frankel a fright this year, So You Think's Ballydoyle stablemate Zoffany, is to revert to sprinting against July Cup winner Dream Ahead in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on Sunday.

Workforce's regular rider Ryan Moore (pictured) is set to be discharged from hospital today after surgery to repair the upper arm and thumb broken in a fall at Goodwood last week.

The prognosis indicates that the three-time champion may return to action before the end of the season.

l DERMOT Weld’s Sense Of Purpose can follow a well-worn path to glory in tonight's Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown.

Weld's Profound Beauty secured the last two renewals of the Group Three, having landed the Challenge Stakes a few weeks earlier — a feat Sense Of Purpose matched last time out.

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