Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Think spearheads Champion line-up

So You Think

So You Think will attempt to regain the winning thread in a field of 12 for the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Aidan O'Brien's giant Australian import could only finish fourth in the Arc, his second defeat since moving to Ballydoyle after coming up just short in the Prince of Wales's Stakes.

John Gosden has declared his impressive King George winner Nathaniel, but having missed the Arc two weeks ago on account of the fast ground, Gosden will be anxiously watching the skies for rain.

Sir Henry Cecil's Twice Over, winner of the race for the past two seasons when it was run at its former home of Newmarket, will be trying to make it a hat-trick while Midday finished second to her stablemate in the Juddmonte International, and the durable mare will once again be in opposition.

Ed Dunlop has decided to run Snow Fairy after her blinding effort in the Arc when she finished in front of So You Think.

Mahmood Al Zarooni will have two representatives, the unbeaten Dubai Prince, trained by Dermot Weld last year, and Group One winner Casamento. Frankie Dettori has plumped for the potential of Dubai Prince rather than the proven form of Casamento, who will be ridden by Richard Hughes.

The sole challenger from France is the consistent Cirrus Des Aigles, trained by Corrine Barande-Barbe.

Dunlop admits the Champion Stakes was never really the plan for Snow Fairy, but she has bounced out of the Arc in such good form connections are keen to give it a go.

He told www.edunlop.com: "Mrs (Cristina) Patino (owner) is a very sporting owner and she is all for giving it a go.

"The Champion was never really on the agenda as everything was again focussed on an autumn raid on Japan and Hong Kong but we had to rewrite the script somewhat after her injury in Dubai and consequently, she only got started properly in July so is still a relatively fresh filly."

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