William Haggas admits he’s contemplating a late championship charge

William Haggas is not ruling out a late trainers’ title charge from the Gosden team as the championship looks likely to be determined on Qipco Champions Day at Ascot.

Saturday's six-race card features four Group One contests, plus a £500,000 Group Two and the £200,000 Balmoral Handicap, with Haggas' main hopes resting with the unbeaten Baaeed, who is set to bow out in the Qipco Champion Stakes, which is worth £737,230 to the winner. 

Haggas currently trails championship leader Charlie Appleby by over £80,000, with John and Thady Gosden a further £775,000 behind him.

However, while Haggas has planned runners in both the Balmoral and the Fillies & Mares Stakes, Appleby also has Adayar in the Champion Stakes, plus contenders in the Fillies & Mares, the Sprint and Queen Elizbeth II Stakes.

The Gosdens have the QEII favourite in Inspiral, as well as ante-post favourite Emily Upjohn in the Fillies & Mares and lively outsider Trawlerman in the Long Distance Cup - prompting Haggas to think it could yet be a three-way shoot out.

He said: "It (the trainers' title) has never really been something I've hankered for until about two months ago. We are so close and we've got a chance.

"John (Gosden) is still a very powerful operation and Charlie obviously is an extremely powerful operation and he just has so many good horses. It's an achievement for us, I feel, I'm very proud of all of us and what we've done to get this close.

"The simple fact is if Baaeed doesn't win, we are 33/1 to win the title - probably 133/1 - but if he does win, it could be interesting.

"It's rather fun because Charlie's got lots of chances and you can never write John off.

"If John wins with Trawlerman, which isn't a million (to one chance), Mimikyu or Emily Upjohn and then Inspiral, he's right in amongst us."

The jockeys' title race officially ends at Ascot, but the trainers' equivalent is based on the calendar year. But Haggas expects Champions Day results to prove crucial.

He said: "It's going to go down to the wire, the only thing is other than the Vertem Futurity, there is little or nothing - a few Listed races and a few high-value handicaps, finals of series - between now and the end of the year, so probably Champions Day is going to make a big difference.

"We're obviously trying, we've got an opportunity, we're not far behind."

Haggas' string has been in rare form this week, with the trainer fielding four winners on Monday, while Appleby had yet to strike by Wednesday afternoon.

He added: "We had four winners on Monday and I got a call from Charlie about 7.30pm, he said 'I've just sat down to see who's won a few races today and I saw you've had four winners, so instead of having a dandelion and burdock, I'm having a glass of wine in depression!'.

"We can't beat him I'm afraid, but we'll try. It's a sub plot to Saturday."

READ MORE: Ascot clerk provides update as rain is expected ahead of Champions Day

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