DAVID O’Meara expects G Force to confirm his class in today’s Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes and cap a memorable year for the North Yorkshire trainer and his jockey Daniel Tudhope.
O’Meara says the three-year-old should be “very difficult to beat” after coming to prominence when winning the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock last month, a first Group One success for the Nawton stable.
It did not take long for another top-level success to come along when stablemate Move In Time clinched the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp.
O’Meara said of today’s big race favourite: “He’s better than anything I’ve trained before. He has a lot of ability. If he turns up with the same form as at Haydock he’ll be very difficult to beat.”
G Force carries the colours of the hugely successful Middleham Park Racing syndicate, whose runners are also becoming more frequent in the top races.
However Nick Bradley, bloodstock manager to the Barton-upon-Humber organisation, sounded a note of caution about both the draw and the likely testing conditions. He said: “I have no doubt he’s the best horse in the race, so we just want things to pan out for us on the day. Ideally we’d like him to run well, then go to Hong Kong and then we’ll put him away until Royal Ascot next year.”
Another worried about testing conditions is Malton trainer Richard Fahey who saddles Alben Star and Baccarat. The latter won the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot for Yorkshire owner Sir Robert Ogden and young jockey George Chaloner who has just ridden out his apprentice rider’s claim.
Despite a set of fairly uninspiring form figures, the ground could play to the strengths of Jim Goldie’s Jack Dexter as former jump jockey Graham Lee, based near Bedale, seeks a first Group One success since switching to the Flat three seasons ago.
Tom Hogan’s Gordon Lord Byron heads a strong Irish challenge. Jockey Wayne Lordan said: “The ground is going to be very soft, but he has won a Group One on heavy ground. G Force is the horse we all have to beat.”
As for the 10-furlong Qipco Champion Stakes, the horse to beat is French superstar Cirrus Des Aigles, who won this race in 2011 for Corine Barande-Barbe.
Despite being disqualified at Longchamp’s Arc meeting because of interference, the trainer issued an upbeat assessment.
“Everything is perfect. The horse is looking very good and we are very much looking forward to the race. The ground will be soft, but that should not be a problem – he knows how to swim,” she said.
Cirrus Des Aigles could not beat Frankel in 2012 and, in an irony of timing, the biggest threat to the gelding could be posed by Noble Mission, a full brother to the world-beating horse, and who has become “a real flag bearer” for Lady Jane Cecil since jockey James Doyle started to deploy more forceful tactics on the dual Group One winner.