This weekend will see racing pay tribute to one of the most successful trainers of the modern era, as Sir Michael Stoute becomes the latest inductee into the QIPCO British Champions Series Hall Of Fame. But what is the Hall of Fame and how long has it been around?
A Modern Initiative to Honour the All-time Greats
The Hall of Fame was launched in 2021 to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Each year will see two induction ceremonies: the first coming at Newmarket’s 2,000 Guineas in May, and the second at Ascot’s British Champions Day in October.
When weighing up potential inductees, outstanding contributors in the following four categories are considered:
- Special Contributors – anyone who does not fall into any of the other three categories, for example owners and breeders.
Who Makes the Decision?
The QIPCO British Champions Series Hall of Fame has assembled a select panel to assess the merits of racing greats. In 2023, the panel consists of:
- Brough Scott – ITV Racing Presenter and Sunday Times Columnist.
- Sir Mark Prescott – Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winning trainer.
- Lydia Hislop – Racing TV Presenter.
- Jamie Lynch – Sky Sports Racing Presenter.
- Alan Byrne – Director of the Racing Post.
- Ruth Quinn – BHA Director of Racing.
- Emma Berry – European Editor, Thoroughbred Daily News.
- Martin Mitchell – Former Director of Tattersalls Bloodstock.
The majority of inductees are determined by the panel. The one exception is a public vote ahead of the Champions Day meeting, which determines the latest equine inductee.
Who is in the Hall of Fame?
Despite only being in its third year, the Hall of Fame already boasts an impressive list of inductees:
- Dayjur – Dayjur dominated the sprinting scene in 1990, winning the Temple Stakes, the King’s Stand Stakes, the Nunthorpe Stakes, the Sprint Cup, and the Prix de l’Abbaye.
- Mill Reef – Brilliant as a juvenile with wins in the Coventry Stakes, the Gimcrack Stakes, and the Dewhurst Stakes, this Ian Balding runner was to prove even better at three, triumphing in the Epsom Derby, the Coral-Eclipse, the King George, and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
- Nijinsky – Another exceptional two-year-old, Nijinsky truly excelled during a stellar Classic campaign. In winning the 1970 versions of the 2,000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby, and the St Leger Stakes, he became the first (and as of 2022 only) horse in the modern era to claim the Triple Crown.
- Brigadier Gerard – For a long time, this star of the 1970s was almost universally accepted as the greatest flat racehorse of all time. Successes included wins in the 2,000 Guineas, the St James’s Palace Stakes, the Sussex Stakes, the Champion Stakes (twice), the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the King George.
- Frankel – Of course, there had to be a place for the highest-rated flat performer in the history of the rating system. 14 Starts yielded 14 wins, including a magnificent ten in Group 1 company. Highlights included making a mockery of the field in the 2011 2,000 Guineas, and a devasting 11-length rout in the 2012 Queen Anne Stakes.
- Galileo – For many, the 2001 winner of the English and Irish Derby represented the perfect thoroughbred specimen. As good as he was on the track, Galileo proved to be an even greater success at stud, becoming arguably the greatest sire of all time.
- Sea The Stars – Beaten on debut, this John Oxx-trained star never tasted defeat again – running out a brilliant winner of the 2,000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby, the Coral-Eclipse, the Juddmonte International, the Irish Champion Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe during a flawless 2009 campaign.
- Dancing Brave – Simply the greatest horse of the 1980s. Somehow beaten in the 1986 Epsom Derby, he nevertheless claimed victory in the 2,000 Guineas, the Coral-Eclipse and the King George, before his crowning moment came with a turbo-charged success in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
- Vincent O’Brien – No relation to the current Ballydoyle supremo, Vincent O’Brien set the tone for Irish racing dominance. The trainer of Nijinsky, O’Brien won 43 British and Irish Classics and the 1953, 1954, and 1955 editions of the Grand National.
- Sir Henry Cecil – Behind every great racehorse lies a great trainer, and in the case of Frankel, that man was Sir Henry Cecil. Based in Newmarket, Cecil’s success wasn’t restricted to the exploits of his flagship horse, as evidenced by a total of 31 British and Irish Classic wins.
- Sir Michael Stoute – Not far behind Cecil, with 27 Classic wins and counting, is the latest inductee, Sir Michael Stoute. The man behind the likes of Shergar, Workforce, and Champion Hurdle winner, Kribensis, is also the most successful trainer in the history of the Royal Ascot Festival.
- Lester Piggott – Champion jockey 11 times during a sensational career, Piggott is one of the greatest jockeys in the history of the sport. His total of 4,493 wins encompassed just about every major prize that British racing has to offer – including a record-setting nine victories in the Epsom Derby.
- Pat Eddery – One of the greats of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, Eddery matched Piggott’s tally of 11 Champion Jockey titles on his way to racking up close to 6,000 wins around the world. Highlights included 25 British and Irish Classics and the 1986 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe aboard Dancing Brave.
- Willie Carson – Stirling native Willie Carson regularly went head-to-head with Patt Eddery during his 30+ years in the saddle. Lifting the title five times between 1972 and 1983, Carson’s tally of 3,828 winners places him fourth on the all-time list of British riders.
- Frankie Dettori – The only Hall of Fame rider still plying his trade – although not for long, with the evergreen Italian having announced his retirement at the end of the 2023 season. The most famous jockey of the 21st century will leave behind an impressive body of work, including three Champion Jockey titles and over 500 Group race successes.
- Queen Elizabeth II – Racing’s most famous owner, breeder, and ambassador, Queen Elizabeth II was a consistent supporter of the sport throughout her 70-year reign. A regular at Royal Ascot, her Purple, Red and Gold silks – now representing King Charles – remain amongst the most instantly recognisable in the sport.