Dubai: He won it five years ago and now big-race jockey James Doyle attempts to clinch a second victory in the Group 1 Champion Stakes, Britain’s second richest flat race, at Ascot racecourse on Saturday.
Doyle, who partnered Noble Mission to success in 2014, teams up with the William Haggas-trained Addeybb in this season’s renewal of the £1,3 million race, which is run over a distance of 2,000 metres.
The Champion Stakes, first run in 1877, is only surpassed by the £1,6 million Epsom Derby (G1) in terms of prize money.
Owned by Major General Shaikh Ahmad Bin Rashid Al Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security, Addeybb impressed connections with a smart piece of work at Newmarket racecourse five days ago.
“That [gallop] was important and just what he needed,” Derby-winning handler, William Haggas, told Sportinglife.
“We ducked France and his last run was at Haydock, but he has proved he goes well fresh, even going back to his run in the Lincoln [in 2018]. He has shown he loves soft ground, so we are hoping it pours with rain.
“He was good [when winning] at [Royal] Ascot, but when he ran at York it was not soft enough and he got in a bit of a pocket. It was really bottomless at Haydock and he won OK,” he added.
“We’ve freshened him up and we think he’s in good shape. He is a gelding, he’s rising five and needs to start chasing some money.”
However, Addeybb must be at his absolute best as he takes on several high-class middle-distance rivals led by leading Cartier Horse of the Year contender Magical. Haggas also saddles Move Swiftly in the Group 1 £1.1 million Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Like Addeybb, the four-year-old filly turned in a good piece of win over seven furlongs under former jockey Michael Hills.
“It was not a surprise she won on her comeback,” said Hills. “She is a talented filly, she has had her training issues but she loves the soft — she liked the soft ground when she won the Group Two at Ascot.
“She is probably not up to QEII standard, but if the ground is very soft she will enjoy it.”
Champion Stakes (Group 1): Magicalin 9/4; Addeybb 11/4; Japan 5; Coronet 5/1; Deirdrein 11/2; Mehdaayih 14; Fox Talin 20; Hermosa 25; I Can Flyin 25; Regal Reality 25; UAE Jewel 20/1; Pondus 25/1.