Let’s start with a quick question: can you name the winners of this year’s Champagne Stakes, Prix du Moulin and Matron Stakes? How many can you get, without help or looking online? Don’t worry if you fail to land the treble.

These prestigious events – won by Estidhkaar, Charm Spirit and Fiesolana – were part of a high-class Flat racing deluge, featuring 21 Pattern races and eight Group 1s, over September 13-14, described as “the most brutal weekend of the year” by one Racing Post journalist. For even the most ardent racing fan, it was difficult to keep track of who was winning what.

Now, Tony Morris, who I’m sure won’t mind me saying pre-dates the European Pattern by a year or two, was worried that there wouldn’t be enough good horses to go round, shared between England, France and Ireland, hosting its inaugural Champions Weekend. What was his verdict?

“I worried unneces­sarily,” he says. “I couldn’t consider many of the 21 races as sub-standard, compared to previous renewals, and was instead inclined to feel that a number of performances stood out as superior to those we were entitled to expect.”

While it missed out on terrestrial coverage in Britain due to its 6.50pm off-time, this year’s Irish Champion Stakes produced a sensational outcome with Australia, Ballydoyle’s dual Derby hero and winner of the Juddmonte International, floored by The Grey Gatsby, who displayed plenty of Yorkshire grit to get up under Ryan Moore.

Connections of The Grey Gatsby, who is owned by Frank Gillespie and trained by Kevin Ryan, felt their charge hadn’t received much credit for his performances so far this year, which have seen him win the Dante, French Derby and finish runner-up to Australia in the International prior to his Leopardstown triumph. We hope this month’s cover goes some way to redressing that.

Most reports on the race focused on the efforts of the two men on top, with the general consensus being that Moore had produced a crackerjack of a ride on the winner, saving ground on the inside for most of the ten-furlong trip, and Joseph O’Brien, the only man to have partnered Australia in his races, delivering a shocker, racing wide for much of the journey and wasting unnecessary energy.

Another possibility is that Australia simply came up against a better horse on the day. Or perhaps, in Ryan Moore, the best jockey in the world at present.

With the score between the three-year-olds now standing at 1-1 – not counting the 2,000 Guineas when both were eclipsed, along with Kingman – we now have the mouthwatering prospect of a decider in the Champions Stakes at Ascot, the centrepiece of QIPCO British Champions Day on October 18. Kingston Hill, who finally produced the kind of performance his talent promised in the St Leger, is set to bypass Ascot in favour of a trip to Longchamp for the Arc.

Champions Day will, thankfully, be covered by the Channel 4 cameras – in 2015 it will have the stage to itself in the wider media following the decision to move Cheltenham’s ‘Showcase’ fixture back a week. Unlike this year, that meeting will also be shown live on 4.

Such forward thinking must be commended but if they can adopt this philosophy once, why can’t they implement it to avoid other clashes during the year? (July Cup day springs to mind). Maybe the BHA needs a ‘Fixtures Tzar’ to tackle the problem head-on. Food for thought.

Walter Swinburn may have stopped riding long before Racing For Change, now Great British Racing, put together a climax to the British Flat season but he is fully supportive of the Ascot finale.

Having aborted his training career in 2011, despite saddling plenty of winners, Swinburn talks to Tim Richards (Talking To, pages 41-44) about a possible future return and discusses the many superstars he rode during a stellar career in the saddle.