A CROWD close to 30,000, including The Queen fresh from her visit to Bracknell, witnessed another memorable day of racing at Ascot on Saturday.

QIPCO British Champions Day – the richest race day in the British calendar with £4.47 million in prize money on offer – saw Newmarket trainer John Gosden send out three winners to seal the UK Champion Flat Trainer title for the third time.

He won the opening race, the two-mile Long Distance Cup, with Stradivarius, who took his winning run to five to confirm his reputation of being the best-staying horse of this Flat season.

Frankie Dettori squeezed the even-money favourite through on the rail to take the lead two furlongs out and the four-year-old stayed on well to beat Irish raiders Thomas Hobson and Sir Erec.

The Ascot Stewards, however, were not happy with Dettori’s manoeuvre and suspended the Italian for three days for careless riding.

The 28-1 shot Sands of Mali, trained in North Yorkshire by Richard Fahey and ridden by Paul Hanagan, led all the way to win the six-furlong Champion Sprint a length from Godolphin’s Harry Angel (ridden by Adam Kirby), while the Group One Fillies and Mares Stakes over a mile and half went to the Aidan O’Brien trainer Magical (5/1) in the hands of Ryan Moore, with Gosden’s Coronet a length behind in second.

Gosden was back in the winner’s enclosure after the one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group One) with his highly-regarded grey colt, Roaring Lion, ridden by Oisin Murphy. The 2/1 favourite didn’t look at home on the soft going, but his guts and class saw him pass the post a neck in front of O’Brien’s I Can Fly (33/1).

Gosden’s third winner on Saturday – taking his day’s prize money close to £1.9m – came in the British Champions (Group One) Middle Distance with Cracksman and Dettori repeating their success of last year. The 5/6 favourite drew clear of the field, winning by six lengths, enabling the jockey to wave his whip in celebration in the last 100 yards.

Crystal Ocean, trained by Sir Michael Stoute and with William Buick in the saddle, finished second at 11/4, while 66-1 outsider Subway Dancer was third to make it a day to remember for all of his Czech Republic connections as their prize was a little short of £140,000. The six-year-old is trained by Zdeno Koplik and was ridden by his brother Radek.

Zdeno’s daughter Ingrid said: “My father has 28 horses in his yard, but this is the best one and the only one who could attempt a race like this. It is a dream to come to Ascot. I have never been here, but it is the best racecourse in the world.”

The final race of the day, the 20-runner Balmoral Handicap over a mile, was won by Sharja Bridge (8/1), trained by Roger Varian and ridden by James Doyle.

Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series, said: “Once again QIPCO British Champions Day has lived up to its billing as the world’s best raceday, with some amazing performances on track. It has been a fabulous day and a fitting finale on which to celebrate the champions of our sport.”

Ascot’s clerk of the course Chris Stickels added: “QIPCO British Champions day really has turned into a wonderful occasion. In Cracksman and Roaring Lion we had two outstanding horses who really showed outstanding ability and a will to win on the day.

“We are going to get easy ground at this time of year and some horses love going like that. Roaring Lion, by contrast, probably didn’t like the ground and was running over a trip just short of his best, but showed great tenacity and a will to win – racegoers have been treated to a real thrill in watching horses of that calibre.”

Ascot now turn their attention to the jumps season with their first meeting taking place on Saturday, November 3, when the feature race of seven will be the £100,000 Sodexo Gold Cup Chase over three miles.