Good morning all,
It’s that time in the week when I look ahead to the weekend’s big race action.
We are coming to the climax of a shortened flat season. It’s Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday and the following week it’s the final Group 1 the Vertem Futurity at Doncaster. Today and tomorrow I’m going to look at the six races from Champions Day.
Inside today’s main piece you can read my thoughts on the first three races on the card. Plus, I have fancy from Nottingham.
Champions Day at Ascot is the single richest day in the British racing calendar. The six races are made up of four Group 1s, a Group 2 and a competitive mile handicap.
The going at Ascot at the time of writing is soft but looking at the weather forecast it looks set to be dry for the rest of the week, so there’s a slight chance it will be good to soft on the day. Uncertainty regarding the ground means I'm exercising a bit of caution on the tipping front until I have a clear idea on the prevailing going.
British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2) – 2m
Looking at the ante post betting, the 4/5 available about Stradivarius would be a bit of value for the 2018 winner who also finished runner-up (beaten a nose) 12 months ago and third in 2017. However, he comes into the race after an abortive attempt at the Arc where he finished seventh. I wonder how hard a race he had at Longchamp.
The two renewals Stradivarius didn’t win were won by an Aidan O’Brien trained horse. Can he do it again?
He has three entered this year Sovereign, Broome who hasn’t been seen since finishing fourth the Coronation Cup and Dawn Patrol. The latter named is the most interesting one for me. On bare ratings he’s got plenty to find with Stradivarius. However, he has a 3-year-old and last time out he ran out a cosy winner of a 1m 6f Group 3 at the Curragh 20-days ago. The step up to 2m can also bring out even more improvement in the ground versatile colt.
Of the rest Spanish Mission made it 2-2 since switching to Andrew Balding when winning a weak Doncaster Cup (2m 2f) last time. He’s got a decent change of gear for a stayer and can’t be totally dismissed if the race got tactical.
Drying ground brings recent Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song into the mix. The fitting of the hood helps the 4-year-old relax much better in her races and trainer Dermot Weld saddled the 2012 and 2014 winners of the race.
British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1) – 6f
Dream Of Dreams’s form figures since a gelding operation are 211 and the the ante post favourite will be tough to beat after last months win in the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock.
Any drying of the ground brings July Cup winner Oxted into contention but he really needs it to be good or quicker.
Glen Shiel put in a career best when finishing runner-up to Dream of Dreams in the Sprint Cup. A stiff 6f suits and he could give Hollie Doyle a first Group 1 success. Each way contender for sure if reproducing his Haydock form.
At a big price keep an eye on Irish raider Sonaiyla. A winner over 7f this season she put in a career best when third to Glass Slippers in the Group 1 Flying Five at the Curragh last month. The 4-year-old was doing her best work at the finish that day and she should be suited by a return to 6f.
Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1) – 1m 4f
Heading the ante post betting is recent Group 1 Prix de Royallieu winner Wonderful Tonight. However, that race was only 13 days ago and all three of her wins have come on heavy ground. The drop back to 1m 4f shouldn’t inconvenience this improving 3-year-old but drying ground might.
Antonia De Vega has won her last two over 1m 4f, in lesser company but has previous form at Group 1 level and deserves another chance at this level. Alpinista who had chased home Love in the Yorkshire Oaks occupied the runners up spot again behind Antonia De Vega last time. There was only ½ length between the pair at the line and the winner did seem to get first run on runner-up. I wouldn’t be surprised if Alpinista reversed placings and James Doyle is an eyecatching jockey booking for the 3-year-old.
Even So improved to win the Irish Oaks back in July. She returned from a short break to finish 6th of 10 in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille. On the bare form that run looks a shade disappointing but the slow gallop would have suited the daughter of Camelot. Granted a better overall gallop she won’t be far away for the in form Ger Lyons yard.
After Cold Stare’s dreadful run yesterday. I’m not sure if the search parties have found the gelding yet? Things can only get better. Today’s selection goes on Nottingham.
2:35 – Kryptos has returned from a near three-year absence in decent enough form. Yet to win beyond a mile but the was beaten only a neck at Chester over 1m 2f back in August. Raced on the unfavoured far side and ran better than his 15th of 27 in the Cambridgeshire suggests last time. Soft ground is fine and he’s well handicapped on his best back form. Despite slight doubts about stamina he’s the pick with William Buick in the plate for the first time.
2:35 – Kryptos – 5/1 @ Bet365 (paying 3 places 1/5 odds).
Good luck with your Wednesday bets.
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk