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What Is British Champions Day in Horse Racing?

The Super Bowl. NBA Finals. World Series. Stanley Cup. FedEx Cup.

It’s always satisfying when a long season culminates in a one-off game or trophy-clinching series to determine who the best team or player has been over the course of the preceding months.

You might think that horse racing is a sport that would lack a showpiece, season-ending occasion, but as far as UK flat racing is concerned you’d be wrong!

The best horses at each distance and discipline qualify for British Champions Day, a celebration of the finest sprinters, one-milers and stayers in the land held at the iconic Ascot Racecourse.

The 2022 edition is shaping up rather nicely, with some particularly intriguing betting heats. It’s always oddly satisfying when you’re reading today’s horse racing tips and they are split on who might win a race – that shows its innate competitiveness.

The Long Distance Cup, for example, features three outstanding stayers in Kyprios, Trueshan and Stradivarius, and that will ensure that British Champions Day is a fantastic spectacle.

So here’s everything you need to know about the UK flat racing seasonal finale.

When Is British Champions Day?

British Champions Day is held on a Saturday in October every year and has been since 2011. The 2022 edition will take place on 15 October.

Which Races Are Contested on British Champions Day?

There’s the Balmoral Handicap, which acts as a filler on the card, but otherwise the champions in five different categories are crowned on the day.

The action gets underway with the Long Distance Cup, which as already mentioned is shaping up for a fantastic renewal in 2022 – this race unveils the best two-mile staying horse in the UK on the flat.

As the name suggests, the British Champions Sprint Stakes crowns the fastest horse over the shorter six-furlong distance. Vying for glory in an ultra-competitive field in 2022 will be July Cup winner Alcohol Free, Sense of Duty – who is unbeaten this season – and defending champion Creative Force.

The Fillies’ & Mares’ Stakes finds out who is the best horse of the fairer sex over a distance of one mile and four furlongs. The aptly-named Magical is a former winner of this renewal, and the class of 2022 hoping to emulate her achievements include Free Wind, who won the Lancashire Oaks in her only start this term, Saint Cloud Stakes champion Alpinista and mercurial Musidora Stakes victor Emily Upjohn.

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes takes on an even greater significance in 2022 given that this is Her Majesty’s platinum jubilee year, and the race may be graced in fitting style by the unbeaten, irrepressible Baeed, who ran out winner in the renewal last year as well.

Finally, all attention turns to the money-spinning Champion Stakes, which crowns arguably the finest Flat racer in the UK today. Will Baeed instead be pointed at this show-stopping finale to conclude his awesome 2022 in fine style?

What Is the Prize Money at British Champions Day?

The total prize money available at British Champions Day exceeds £4 million – that’s around $4.8 million. So there are plenty of reasons for everyone involved to get rather excited!