QIPCO British Champions
Long Distance Cup
Group 2, Ascot 12:45
£300,000 added,
3yo plus,
2m, Class 1  
Saturday 17th October 2015

1 Flying Officer 6/1
2 Clever Cookie 8/1
3 Wicklow Brave 10/1
13 ran Distances: 1l, 1l, 2¾l
TIME 3m 32.19s (slow by 9.19s)

A first Champions Day win for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden as Flying Officer wins the opener

Flying Officer
© Racehorse Photos
Flying Officer

It took five years, but John Gosden trained his first QIPCO British Champions Day winner when Flying Officer landed the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup.

The winner is owned and was bred by American George Strawbridge and was ridden by Frankie Dettori. Five-year-old Flying Officer is a full-brother to Ladbrokes St Leger winner Lucarno.

Strawbridge, a keen fan of jump racing, said: "It's a thrill to be here and a thrill to win - the only thing they are not doing is going over jumps, but this race is the closest thing to it. He [Flying Officer] is 18 hands and all of his brothers have been that size too.

"I love the atmosphere here, the sportsmanship and that everyone is competing on a level playing field. Horses are competing on their own merits."

Of his first winner at the meeting, Gosden said: "We've been paced a lot here, but my old friend Henry [Cecil] kept winning everything - there wasn't room for the rest of us."

Flying Officer showed his quirky side when initially being reluctant to enter the winner's enclosure, and Gosden said: "He's very suspicious of everything, and we did say to him before the race that if he didn't win he would be sent to the cavalry and would be leaving here ridden by one of the hussars [who are on duty at today's meeting]. He's nervous of having armour put on.

"Mr Strawbridge supplemented this horse and Journey [who runs in the Fillies' & Mares'] and was very bold to do so. When the races closed neither horse was in form and one was resting in his box, but he did that and he flew in at 10 o'clock last night and he's on the 5 o'clock flight [this evening] to Toronto to see a filly run at Woodbine tomorrow. He's been very game - and if Journey runs half as well as this horse we'll be happy.

"Flying Officer will finish for this season now and be trained for Cup races next year."

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Clever Cookie finished a length behind the winner Flying Officer in the hands of Graham Lee.

Clever Cookie
© Racehorse Photos
Clever Cookie

Peter Niven, trainer of the Primo Valentino seven-year-old, who started his career over hurdles, said: "Obviously I'm biased, but I thought we were exceptionally unlucky. Graham has tried everything he could; we were in a lovely position but then he had to switch wide and the winner just got a run on us. My horse has made up four lengths in the last furlong and a half.

"I thought he was cherry ripe, I thought he would win today; we got beat but I still think we've got a fair horse on our hands.

"His King George run here was exceptional, knowing what I know about the horse - he wasn't quite right and my horses weren't right - then the Lonsdale Cup at York was a bit of a blip, but this was a great run and it's just a shame he hasn't won to let everyone know just how good he is."

When asked about future plans for Clever Cookie, Niven said: "I don't know. There's so much money to be won on the Flat scene that I would tempted to avoid risking him [over hurdles] and keep him at this now.

"He's a very easy horse to train; I ride him out every day myself. I think there's a big one in him and we all get a great thrill from him."

Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2)
£300,000 added, 3yo plus, 2m, Class 1
13 ran
Going: Good to soft, soft in places on round course

Pos Dr D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st (2) Flying Officer (USA) 6/1 L Dettori
9-7
J H M Gosden 5
2nd (13) 1 Clever Cookie 8/1 G Lee
9-7
P D Niven 7
3rd (3) 1 Wicklow Brave 10/1 R L Moore
9-7
W P Mullins 6
4th (7) Pallasator 8/1 Andrea Atzeni
9-7
Sir Mark Prescott 6
5th (5) ¾ Hidden Gold (IRE) 25/1 James Doyle
9-4
S bin Suroor 4
6th (9) nk Suegioo (FR) 25/1 M Harley
9-7
M Botti 6
7th (8) Amour de Nuit (IRE) 20/1 L Morris
8-11
Sir Mark Prescott 3
8th (10) s.h Forgotten Rules (IRE) 9/2j P J Smullen
9-7
D K Weld 5
9th (12) 2 Litigant 7/1 Oisin Murphy
9-7
J Tuite 7
10th (6) s.h Gale Force 25/1 F Tylicki
9-4
J R Fanshawe 4
11th (4) Simenon (IRE) 33/1 W Buick
9-7
W P Mullins 8
12th (11) 1 Agent Murphy 9/2j J Fortune
9-7
B J Meehan 4
13th (1) 9 Clondaw Warrior (IRE) 20/1 Vincent Cheminaud
9-7
W P Mullins 8