British Champions Day: The favourites for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

The British flat racing season is gearing up for its thrilling conclusion on Champions Day at Ascot on October 21. The meeting is one of the biggest on the calendar and tens of thousands of racegoers are set to descend on the iconic Berkshire venue for the final flat card of the year.

There is over £4 million in prize money to be won over the course of the day, with four Group 1s and a Group 2 featuring on what is one of the best days of the season. The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is one of those top-class races and the winning connections will receive £623,810 if their horse is crowned the best one-mile thoroughbred in the country.

This year’s renewal of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes looks set to be a riveting one, with two Classic winners leading the betting market at the time of writing. That said, read on as we take a look at the favourites for the Group 1 contest.

Paddington – 15/8

Paddington has rapidly become one of the most popular three-year-olds in horse racing today, with his journey from a modest handicapper to a multi-Group 1 winner, one of the stories of the season. 

The Aidan O’Brien-trained horse has flown through the ranks since his reappearance at Naas in March, following that up with a Listed success at the Curragh before winning four successive Group 1s on the trot — including the Irish 2000 Guineas and the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

The three-year-old disappointed in the Juddmonte International Stakes in August, however, faring no better than third in the four-horse race. That York contest arguably came too soon after Goodwood for Paddington and there’s every chance he bounces back here. 

Tahiyra – 11/4

It could be a battle of the Irish raiders in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes as Dermot Weld’s prized filly Tahiyra is set to take on Paddington at Ascot. The Aga Khan-owned horse made a strong start to her racing career as a two-year-old, winning at Galway on debut before landing the Group 1 Moyglare at the Curragh last September.

She was then put away for a crack at the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, which she was fancied to win as the 6/4 favourite. However, Tahiyra didn’t look quite right from the start and Oisin Murphy returned from his ban with a bang to win the second Classic of the season on Mawj. 

Weld’s star filly hasn’t looked back since though, winning the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh next time out. She has since followed up with a Coronation Stakes success at Royal Ascot, and a Coolmore America “Justify” Matron Stakes at Leopardstown last month. 

Nashwa – 5/1

Nashwa has had a season of ups and downs. The John and Thady Gosden filly was beaten at odds-on in her first two races of the 2023 campaign, finishing fourth of six runners in a Franch Group 2 before being beaten by half-a-length in a Group 3 at Newcastle in June. 

The four-year-old got off the mark for the season with a comfortable five-length win in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket in July and has remained competitive in top-level races since. 

Nashwa finished just a length off the winner in both the Nassau Stakes when third at Goodwood and Juddmonte International at York, when ahead of Paddington in second, while she was just half-a-length behind dual Derby winner Auguste Rodin in the Champion Stakes at Leopardstown last time out. 

8/1 chance Inspiral is worth noting as she is set to be the mount of Frankie Dettori in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on what will be the legendary jockey’s last Champions Day.