Racing: Rob Roy to help Stoute keep up the title fight

The title of the day's feature may prove prescient on this occasion. The Champion Stakes, with a purse of over £430,000, could settle the matter at a stroke. Each of the duellists will be three-handed in the 10-furlong finale to the older-horse Group One season in Britain: O'Brien with Oratorio, the ante-post favourite, Ace and Mullins Bay, and Stoute with Maraahel, Chic and Rob Roy.

Chic had been among the original entries but was taken out of the race at an earlier stage after a couple of poor runs. But this week she was reinstated, at a cost of £24,000, at the behest of her owners, David and Patricia Thompson, in whose Cheveley Park Stud colours she runs. And her stablemate Peeress will carry the Group One penalty earned two weeks ago in the Sun Chariot Stakes in the opening Challenge Stakes.

Stoute will be going for his eighth title. "I think it is in Mr and Mrs Thompson's minds that it would be nice if he could win it again," said the Cheveley Park manager, Chris Richardson, yesterday, "and they'll be doing all they can to help, so long as it does not adversely affect the horses. If they're fit and well, they'll run."

The two rival trainers have been trading places at the top of the table for most of the summer. Stoute took the lead at the end of August, then O'Brien's St Leger victory with Scorpion put him back on top, before being relegated again by Peeress's Sun Chariot Stakes success 11 days ago.

A double at Leicester yesterday with Papal Bull (ironically, the colt, who was ridden by Kieren Fallon, runs in the colours most immediately associated with Ballydoyle, the Magnier navy blue) and Best Alibi brought Stoute's seasonal tally to £2,058,927.

Richardson acknowledges that Chic, who was the unplaced favourite in the Sun Chariot Stakes, faces an uphill task. "I think she was unlucky last time when the field split up, because she came to win her bit of the race and then stopped in the soft going," he said. "Saturday's race will be a tough one. But she's well in herself, so we'll have a go."

Maraahel, a close third in the York International, is owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, and the well regarded Rob Roy, another supplementary entry after his encouraging comeback win at the last Newmarket meeting, by Philip Newton. And in the case of Maraahel, another secret weapon - a pair of blinkers - is to be introduced to help his quest.

The four-year-old, who started his season off with a Group Three win at Chester, was beaten only a neck and a head by Electrocutionist and Zenno Rob Roy on the Knavesmire in one of the most pulsating finishes of the season. "I rode him the other morning with the blinkers on," said Richard Hills, his jockey, "and they will help him concentrate. He travels very well in his races and we just need him to finish a little better. It's a big difference between winning a Group Three to a Group One, but he nearly did it at York, a tremendous run. With the blinkers we will try to squeeze that bit more out of him."

Over the next four days Stoute has 21 horses entered and O'Brien 29, though many of the Irishman's are block entries in two-year-old races. He has, for instance, eight still engaged in Saturday's other Group One feature, the Dewhurst Stakes. Stoute has none, and it is the Ballydoyle juvenile strength in depth, with the Racing Post Trophy yet to come, that makes O'Brien, champion in 2001 and 2002, odds-on to take his third British title.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty

Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Designer Oscar de la Renta takes a bow after showing his Spring 2015 collection in September, his last show before his death
fashionThe passing of the legendary designer has left a vacancy: couturier to America’s royalty, says fashion editor Alexander Fury
Life and Style

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates