British Champions Day: Trainer Aidan O'Brien equals Group One wins record

Hydrangea
Hydrangea, the 4-1 shot, beat favourite Bateel by two lengths

Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien equalled the record for top-level wins in a Flat racing year as Hydrangea won the Fillies and Mares Stake on British Champions Day at Ascot.

O'Brien drew level with American Bobby Frankel on 25 wins as jockey Ryan Moore saw off 7-4 favourite Bateel.

O'Brien had two chances to surpass the record, but was twice denied.

Cracksman, ridden by Frankie Dettori and trained by John Gosden, took victory in the Champions Stakes.

The three-year-old, a winner at York and Chantilly, provided jockey Dettori with his first Champions Stakes victory and his second winner of the day.

The 46-year-old Italian was aboard Persuasive as she ran out an impressive winner in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Dettori at the double

Cracksman
Dettori won the Champions Stakes on 13-8 favourite Cracksman

The six-race Ascot card, which includes four Group One contests, is Britain's richest race day with more than £4.3m in prize money on offer.

The day was dominated by champion trainer O'Brien, who equalled the record in the third race of the day.

But in the Champions Stakes, the final Group One of the afternoon, Cracksman delivered a stunning performance to crown a day of celebrations at Ascot.

Cracksman lived up to the hype and produced a stunning display to win by seven lengths.

Plenty was said about the Gosden's decision to miss the l'Arc de Triomphe - which was also won by Dettori on Cracksman's stablemate Enable.

But the decision to drop back to 10 furlongs paid off a the 13-8 favourite demolished a classy field.

Cracksman stamped his authority on the contest from some way out, taking up the running just before the home straight.

Poet's Word and Highland Reel then gave up the chase and had to settle for second and third respectively.

"He's a very talented horse, Frankie rode him positively and beautifully in the straight," said Gosden.

"We said to come wide and he has done it well. You can see why I didn't want him to run (in the Arc)."

O'Brien on 'special day'

Aidan O'Brien
O'Brien is now level on 25 wins in a Flat-race calendar with American Bobby Frankel

Frankel's record, set in 2003, has stood for 14 years, with O'Brien twice getting close, when he trained 23 winners in 2001 and 2008.

The 48-year-old had a chance earlier on Saturday to equal the record, but his runner Johannes Vermeer finished a close third behind Boom Time in Australia's Group One Caulfield Cup.

O'Brien then won the first race of the day at Ascot, the Group Two Long Distance Cup, as Order Of St George pulled off an unlikely victory.

But it was the Group One win he needed to draw level and, with his runner Caravaggio having been beaten by surprise package Librisa Breeze in the Champions Sprint Stakes, his next chance fell to filly Hydrangea - the offspring of Galileo - in the Fillies and Mares Stake.

Moore made a bid for home early, and despite Bateel cruising up alongside her, Hydrangea would not be passed.

The 4-1 shot began to pull away before taking victory by two lengths, with Coronet back in third.

"Its a magic, special day," O'Brien told ITV. "As you know I am a small link in a big chain and I'm delighted for everybody. They all put in so much hard work, day in day out."

He added of the winner: "It was Ryan's idea to run her as he thought there was a chance she'd get the trip. We weren't sure, but she did it."

O'Brien can claim the record outright next weekend when he has Group One contenders at Doncaster and Saint-Cloud before he switches his attentions abroad.

De Sousa crowned champion jockey

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Brazilian factory worker to Champion Flat Jockey

Silvestre de Sousa was officially crowned Champion Flat Jockey for the second time in three years.

The 36-year-old Brazilian finished with over 150 winners, well clear of closest pursuer Jim Crowley, having sewn up the title up many weeks ago.

"It's great to be here after a long season. I've worked really hard this year and I always wanted to win the title again and I finally did," he said.

"I think this title was more enjoyable. When I started the season I had in my mind I wanted to win it, but you can never be sure.

"This year was one of my great years."

Analysis

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

I was sceptical about exactly what Cracksman had really achieved this year, and whether there was not a certain amount of overhype about him.

After that storming success against his elders, over what might have been a shorter than ideal distance, all scepticism is out of the window - he's the outstanding three-year-old colt, and, lucky John Gosden and team, they also have the outstanding filly in Enable, the Arc winner.

It puts into perspective what Aidan O'Brien has achieved in equalling the world-record for Group One wins: Gosden is considered to have had an excellent season, and he's won nine.

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