Emily Upjohn back with a bang in QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes

Emily Upjohn showed a fine turn of foot to leave her rivals trailing in what had looked a wide open renewal of the G1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

A dominant three-length success represented a return to form for the Cazoo Oaks runner-up, who was sporting a hood on her first start since blowing out in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes.

Always travelling strongly, the 3/1 favourite unleashed a telling change of gear when Frankie Dettori pushed the button at the top of the straight to settle the contest in a matter of strides. Irish raiders Thunder Kiss and Insinuendo defied big odds to finish second and third respectively.

Winning co-trainer John Gosden said: “I have owners that let me be patient and give Emily Upjohn all the time she needed. I will never work out the King George as long as I live. Full marks to Pyledriver who let everyone go mad up front – I don’t know what they all did, last one to Swinley Bottom is a sissy, or something!

“Anyhow, we gave her a lot of time off from that and gave her every chance to come back and get back here. The whole team have done a great job with her, and to get her confidence back, that’s the other thing. When you run a race like that and finish a distance last, you’re going to be a little shaken mentally, but she showed her class today. She was unlucky in the Oaks and thank God we won a Group One this year.”

On whether he was confident that she was back in the right frame of mind, Gosden said: “I had everything right in her work and Frankie wanted to ride her. What I knew nothing about is that she is a big girl and hasn’t fully strengthened in her frame. She is still quite light, and I thought ‘will she handle the ground?’, but she’s handled it well. Mind you, she was so wide she was probably on fresh ground.

“She stays in training and the aims next year will be the King George and the Arc. She’s won her Group One and we’ll let her have a holiday now.”

Dettori said: “It was a great training performance after three months off. It would have been heart-breaking not to win a Group One with this filly this year after what happened at Epsom in the Oaks. Nothing went right at Epsom, then for some reason she ran no race in the King George.

“John and the owners decided to give her a break. I have been riding her last couple of mornings and she has been given me the wow factor again. It is an amazing job what the team has done.”

Assistant trainer Shane Lyons said of Thunder Kiss: “She has been retired now, so her last run was her best run. The conditions suited her – ease in the ground, a mile and a half, and a good pace. We were hopeful. I thought she’d be in the mix somewhere, because these type of races suit her. The better the race, the better she runs. Maybe we should have run her in more Group One races, but anyway, she has been a star for us, very consistent. We’ll miss her – trying to replace her will be hard.”

Gary Carroll said of the third: “Insinuendo ran an absolute blinder. I had a lovely position; I had Frankie on my outside. Frankie stole first run on me and [Emily Upjohn] was the better filly on the day, but my filly ran her heart out. We are delighted.”


2.40pm QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1)

1 Emily Upjohn (Lloyd Webber, Tactful Finance, S Roden) John & Thady Gosden 3-9-01 Frankie Dettori 3/1F

2 Thunder Kiss (Newtown Anner Stud Farm Ltd) Ger Lyons 5-9-07 Gary Carroll 50/1

3 Insinuendo (Deegan Racing Syndicate) Willie McCreery 5-9-07 Oisin Orr 80/1

14 ran

*John & Thady Gosden – 1st winner on QIPCO British Champions Day

Frankie Dettori – 9th winner on QIPCO British Champions Day

*John Gosden enjoyed eight winners on QIPCO British Champions Day in his own name