The climax to the QIPCO British Champions Series takes place this Saturday as Flat racing’s end-of-season championship event at Ascot crowns the best horses of 2012.
QIPCO British Champions Day brings the curtain down on an exciting and historic season, with the headlines set to be dominated by what is probably the final appearance of the feted Frankel, regarded in some quarters as the best racehorse in history.
BBC Sport will have all the action covered on what promises to be a memorable occasion for thousands of racegoers and fans on Saturday, October 20.
First run in 2011, British Champions Day is the country’s richest raceday with over £3m in prize money, with the world’s top-rated racehorse Frankel due to run in what could be his final race, the Champion Stakes (4.05pm).
There are five headline races that will feature some of the world’s best horses: Sprint, Long Distance, Fillies & Mares and Mile, culminating in the Champion Stakes that will see Frankel try to extend his unbeaten record to 14 straight victories.
Sir Henry Cecil’s unbeaten four-year-old, the world’s top-rated racehorse, will seek his 14th straight victory.
Opponents in the £1.3m race include last year’s winner, Cirrus Des Aigles, and the talented colt Nathaniel.
Frankel’s stablemate Bullet Train, Master of Hounds and Pastorius complete the field, with Declaration Of War and Ridasiyna withdrawn on Thursday.
The Champion Stakes is Europe’s most valuable mile-and-a-quarter race and the highlight of British Champions Day.
Other races include the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, for which Excelebration – who has been runner-up to Frankel four times – is the odds-on favourite.
The Queen will be at the course to cheer on her runner Carlton House.
Fame and Glory and Colour Vision are leading contenders in the Long Distance Cup, while Society Rock and Wizz Kid are in the Sprint Stakes.
Last year’s Oaks winner, Dancing Rain, remains on course to defend her Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes title.
Clare Balding will host three hours of live coverage from Ascot on BBC One and BBC One HD, featuring five of the six races.
She will be partnered for the last time on BBC TV’s racing coverage by Willie Carson.
Further analyis comes from Ian Bartlett and Mick Fitzgerald, while Rishi Persad will provide roving reports and John Parrott has the latest news from the betting ring.
Race commentary will come from Jim McGrath.
Selected race commentaries, including the feature Champion Stakes, will also be available on BBC Radio 5 live.QIPCO British Champions Day – Trailer
The 2012 QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot will be the last race meeting covered by BBC TV at the famous venue, as well as its last flat race meeting, as the corporation bows out from televised racing at the end of the year.
Ascot has been synonymous with the BBC and its horse racing coverage on television for over 60 years.
Thousands of races were broadcast on Grandstand from its inception in 1958 to 2007, and the long-running sports programme marked its 40th anniversary on-air in 1998 with a special live broadcast from Ascot, as well as its 45th anniversary in 2003.
BBC TV covered its 57th and last Royal Ascot meeting in June 2012, with presenter Clare Balding paying a personal tribute to the corporation’s executive producer Malcolm Kemp, who was responsible for promoting her to become the face of the BBC’s horse racing coverage in 1998, succeeding Julian Wilson. He died in 2004.
Channel 4 takes over as the sport’s exclusive terrestrial broadcaster from 2013, including the Grand National, The Derby, Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot.
Balding is set to front up to 40 days a year of coverage for Channel 4 Racing, which includes all the major meetings. A further announcement of the full Channel 4 on-screen line-up for 2013 is expected shortly.
The final race meeting on BBC TV will be the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow on December 27.Clare Balding Interview Presenter discusses her whirlwind summer, the launch of her book and the forthcoming QIPCO British Champions Day .
.13:45 – Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup 13:45 – Group 3, £200,000 – Two miles 14:20 – British Champions Sprint Stakes 14:20 – Group 3, £200,000 – Six furlongs 14:55 – British Champions Fillies and Mares’ Stakes 14:55 – Group 2, £250,000 – One mile, four furlongs 15:30 – Queen Elizabeth II Stakes 15:30 – Group 1, £1m – One mile 16:05 – Champion Stakes 16:05 – Group 1, £1.3m – One mile, two furlongs 16:45 – Future Stars Apprentice Handicap Stakes 16:45 – Class 2, £50,000 – Seven furlongs LIVE – 1.30pm-4.30pm – BBC One / BBC One HD Alternative live coverage of all six races will be available on At The Races and Racing UK. .