Seal of Approval burst from midpack in the straight and shook clear to an upset win in the £500,000 QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot Oct. 19.
The longest shot in the field at 16-1, the 4-year-old Authorized filly handily dispatched runner-up and 10-1 shot Belle De Crecy to win by a convincing four lengths. Talent, the Investec Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) winner, and Dalkala, recently a group I winner at Longchamp, checked in third and fourth, respectively, as the 7-2 co-favorites and no match for the winner.
Jockey George Baker's victory aboard Seal of Approval was ample consolation after he came heartbreakingly close to winning the British Champions Long Distance Cup (Eng-III) with longtime leader Harris Tweed earlier only to be nailed on the finish line by Royal Diamond.
Seal of Approval was time in 2:39.09 for 1 1/2 miles turf rated as soft.
Settled in fifth in the eight-horse field as Belle De Crecy and Nymphea set a solid pace, the filly found traffic when uncoiling her rally two furlongs out. Guided clear when switched left, she ran on smartly to seize the lead from Belle De Crecy inside the final furlong on her way to a powerul score.
Belle De Crecy outfinished Talent by a neck for second, while Dalkala was another three-quarters of a length back in fourth.
Lightly raced but progressive for trainer James Fanshawe, Seal of Approval was perfect in two starts this season that included her stakes debut in the British Stallions EBF Chalice Stakes Aug. 4 at Newbury. But stepping up to group competition in the Park Hill Stakes (Eng-II) Sept. 12 at Doncaster, she clipped heels and fell hard in the straight. The accident appeared to have no lasting ill effects on the filly.
From the second crop of Darley sire Authorized, Seal of Approval is campaigned by breeders Tim and Tessa Vestey, who bred her out of the winning Dr Devious mare Hannda. Seal of Approval is the third group I winner this year for Authorized, a 9-year-old son of Montjeu. He stands at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket.