By Simon Jackson.
The Lady Cecil-trained Noble Mission attempts to emulate his full-brother Frankel by winning the QIPCO Champion Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.
Frankel won all of his 14 starts and was retired unbeaten after landing the Champion Stakes in 2012. He was trained throughout his career by Sir Henry Cecil who died in 2013 and who was widely applauded for his superb handling of the son of Galileo.
Sir Henry’s wife, Lady Cecil, took over the running of her late husband’s Warren Place yard in Newmarket and admits that it would a dream to win the race with Noble Mission; whose four victories this season include Group 1 successes in France and Ireland.
Speaking on the gallops in Newmarket today (Tuesday), Lady Cecil said, “I couldn’t be happier with Noble Mission. He did his last piece of work on Saturday and he just loved it.
“He has been a real flag-bearer for the yard since we decided to ride him from the front at the beginning of the season. To win a Group 1 with him was very, very special, especially with him being Frankel’s brother.
“We know that he likes soft ground and given the trip and the ground the QIPCO Champion Stakes was the obvious race for him. We hadn’t originally intended to give him such a long break [since his last race in July] but he has done well for it.
“I hardly dare dream what it would be like to win on Saturday. I am a mixture of nervous and excited. Just to have a runner at QIPCO British Champions Day is wonderful but to have one in with a chance is a privilege and is not something to be taken lightly.”
Noble Mission is best priced at 9-2 for the £1,300,000 contest at Ascot where the ground is now heavy and the betting is headed by 2011 winner Cirrus Des Aigles; who has been clipped in to 6-4 after attracting support today.
Bookmaker Paddy Power said: “The cash just keeps on coming for Cirrus Des Aigles, but it’s not just the quantity that forced a cut – it’s also that the right sorts of faces are now getting involved.”
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.