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.

Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone