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Champions Day Preview

Hi all,

As mentioned yesterday, David is away this weekend.

Things didn’t pan out as expected yesterday as I went against Chairmanoftheboard and Trincomalee who of course won their respective races. Hopefully Champions Day can provide us with better.

Inside today’s main piece I look at all six races on the Champions Day card. Plus. You will find my fancies at the end.

Ascot

1:25 – Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2) – 2m

Trueshan is a worthy favourite and if he handles this ground as well as he did soft ground 12 months ago, he’s the one to beat. Stradivarius needs no introduction and this could well be his last ever race. He finished runner-up to Trueshan in the Group 1 Prix du Cadran just two weeks ago. Hamish returned from 15 months off the track to get the better of Hukum in the September Stakes at Kempton last month. That success came over 1m 4f and he’s open to further improvement for the step up 2m. Needs some ease in the ground to be at his best but he should get it.  Baron Samedi is another who will be suited by a return to 2m after his 2¼ lengths 3rd of 13 in St Leger at the Curragh last time. If he handles the track, he’s another live contender.


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2:00 – Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1) – 6f

I covered this race in my Wednesday column.

Art Power is a previous C&D winner. He also finished a length 4th of 16 in this race 12 months ago. And, a 1 ¾ length 3rd of 12 in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot. Add in his 4th placed effort in the July Cup and his 1 ¾ length 5th of 11th in the Haydock Sprint Cup and you have a horse who is just below Group 1 level. That said he may not need to be a Group 1 horse to win this year’s renewal. The 4-year-old easily beat Twilight Spinner in a Group 3 at the Curragh 3 weeks ago and looks the one to beat if stall 20 isn’t an inconvenience.

2:35 – Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1) – 1m 4f

Of all the races on Champions Day. This excites me the least. Snowfall is clearly the one to beat. The Oaks, Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks winner was only 6th in the Arc 13-days ago but the heavy ground was against her that day. That said its only 13-days since the Arc so she could be vulnerable despite being in a much easier race against her own sex.  Should the favourite under-perform Invite could be the one to take advantage. The 3-year-old returned from a 3-month absence to win a 1m 4f Listed race at Chester last month. She’s open to further improvement, is unexposed over the distance and comes into race a relatively fresh filly.

3:10 – Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Sponsored By Qipco) (Group 1) – 1m

You can read my full preview of the race in Thursday’s column.

This should be between Palace Pier & Baaeed and of the pair I just prefer Palace Pier. If the front two in the betting perform to their best then it looks like each way players are fighting for just the one place. If the ground was soft or worse third place would likely go to The Revenant. On good to soft or good I would favour the unexposed Master Of The Seas.

3:50 – Qipco Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1) – 1m 2f

This has been the target for favourite Mishriff since he won the Juddmonte International at York in August. Derby winner Adayar had Mishriff 1 ¼ length back in second when winning the King George VI at Ascot in July. However, this is more Mishriff’s trip and Adayar has since had a hard race when 4th in the Arc just 13-days ago.  William Haggas has couple of contenders in last year’s winners Addeybb and the improving Dubai Honour. The latter is the more interesting of the pair having won the Group 2 Prix Dollar two weeks ago and looks capable of better. Sealiway a 1 ¾ length 2nd of 19 to St Mark’s Basilica in the Prix Du Jockey Club (French Derby) two starts back, finished ¾ length behind Adayar in the Arc last time and has each way claims.

4:30 – Balmoral Handicap (Class 2) – 1m

The sole handicap on the Champions Day card and a maximum field of 20 handicapper have been declared for the race.

Sunray Major looked the proverbial Group horse in a handicap when winning over C&D 15-days ago. The 4-year-old has won both his starts since returning from a 15-month absence and looks a well handicapped horse under a 6lb penalty.  If stall 20 isn’t an inconvenience he’s the one to beat.

The favourite does face several interesting rivals, with three of them also open to further progress.

Nugget is another improving handicapper. The 3-year-old returned from a 4-month absence to win at Haydock last month. He’s up 3lb for that success but remains on a competitive mark.  

Aldaary took advantage of low draw when winning the valuable Challenge Cup Handicap here over 7f on heavy ground.  Another with a 6lb penalty and should be bang there although the return to a mile does pose a different question of the 3-year-old.

King Leonidas a stablemate of the favourite returned from a 15 month lay off when an encouraging 2½ lengths 3rd of 10 on handicap debut at Newbury (1m 2f) last time.  The 4-year-old has just had the four career starts and if the drop to a mile isn’t an inconvenience shouldn’t be far away.

Top-weight Sir Busker, a C&D winner at last year’s Royal meeting, and a 2 ½ length 3rd to Palace Pier in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at this year’s Royal Ascot. The 5-year-old hasn’t been seen to best advantage on four subsequent starts in pattern company but the likely strong pace and ease in the ground can see him go well from what could be a handy draw in stall 3. Yard could do with a winner though and he’s vulnerable to better handicapped rivals.

Betting Advice:

Ascot

1:25 – 1pt win Baron Samedi – 7/1 @ Bet365

3:10 – 1pt win – Master Of the Seas – 9/1 @ Bet365

3:50 – 0.5pts win – Sealiway – 14/1 @ Bet365 & Ladbrokes

4:30 – 1pt win – King Leonidas – 7/1 @ Bet365 and 1pt win – Sir Busker – 12/1 @Bet365

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Good luck with your Saturday bets.

John

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