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Runners and riders for the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday

Magical (purple silks) moves clear of her rivals in last year's Champion Stakes
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Magical will face ten rivals when she attempts to win back-to-back runnings of the Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.  

The remarkable seven-time Group 1 winner was also successful on Qipco British Champions Day in 2018 when landing the Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes and faces a rematch with Addeybb as she bids for a third successive win at the meeting.

Race replay: watch Magical win last season's Champion Stakes

Trained by Aidan O'Brien, Magical was three-quarters of a length too good for Addeybb in last season's Champion Stakes and is 15-8 favourite with BoyleSports to come out on top once again.

She will be joined by stablemates Japan and Serpentine, who had been intended runners in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe before both were ruled out of the race due to fears over contaminated feed.

John Gosden is set to field a strong team with French Derby winner Mishriff and Prince of Wales's Stakes scorer Lord North representing Britain's champion trainer. Frankie Dettori rides Mishriff, with James Doyle renewing his association with Lord North.

Champion Stakes runners and riders

Addeybb Tom Marquand
Desert Encounter Jim Crowley
Extra Elusive Hollie Doyle
Japan Colin Keane
Lord North James Doyle
San Donato Andrea Atzeni
Skalleti Pierre-Charles Boudot
Magical Ryan Moore
Mishriff Frankie Dettori
Pyledriver Martin Dwyer
Serpentine William Buick

Not unfancied at 8-1 is Skalleti, who is trained in France by Jerome Reynier and boasts a remarkable strike rate of 12 wins from 15 races. The five-year-old scored a comfortable win in the Group 2 Prix Dollar for the second successive year at Longchamp this month.

Reynier said: "It’s a dream to have a runner at a big event like Champions Day. He's used to travel as every time he goes from [my yard in] Marseille to Deauville it’s a ten-hour trip each way. And from Chantilly to Ascot is not very far.

“I don’t think the course will be a problem for him as he travels nicely during a race and is pretty easy. He is a very genuine horse and a big fighter. I don’t think I’ve ever had him in better shape, mentally or physically."

Star stayer Stradivarius gets go-ahead for Champions Day mission 

The trainer added: "He won the Dollar pretty easily, in the space of half a furlong it was done because he showed such a good turn of foot. He is not just a heavy-ground horse, but it slows the others down and he handles it very well."

Read more:

The Champions Day 'banker' who has the stats all against him

Weld ready to take on 'best stayer in the world' with Search For A Song

Guineas hero Kameko ruled out of Saturday's QEII with Breeders' Cup on agenda

Champion Stakes the target for 'amazing' Magical with O'Brien set to run three

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Every time he goes from my yard in Marseille to Deauville it’s a ten-hour trip each way. And from Chantilly to Ascot is not very far
E.W. Terms