Good morning all,
I mentioned yesterday that I thought there could be some good in the description. Looks like I was being over optimistic. Ascot’s Clerk of the Course Chris Stickels said yesterday: “There’s still a lot of moisture in the ground from the meeting we lost the other weekend and I imagine it will be predominantly soft with some heavy ground on the round course.”
The going shouldn’t be as bad as it was 12 months ago but it will put a premium on stamina rather than speed. Well at least we're starting to see what ground we will be seeing on Saturday.
Last evening at Kempton, Hollie Doyle broke her own record for the most winners by a women jockey. Her win on State Occasion meant she had ridden her 117 winners during 2020, beating the 116 she rode last year and there’s still over two months of the year left.
In Champions Day news, it was announced that Kameko wouldn’t be taking his place in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. The soft ground means this year’s 2000 Guineas winner will head straight to the Breeders' Cup Mile at Keeneland.
Inside the main piece you will find Part 2 of my look ahead to Champions Day and the final three races on the card. Plus, I have selection from the Curragh.
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1) – 1m
The defection of Kameko means Palace Pier is a best priced 4/6. I said after Palace Pier won a Newcastle handicap on his seasonal reappearance that he could well end up the best 3-year-old colt. His two Group 1 successes at Royal Ascot and in the Jacques le Marois (heavy) have only firmed up that opinion and I think he will land a third successive Group 1 on Saturday, with the others looking like they'll be fighting it out for the places.
French raider The Revenant finished runner-up 12 months ago. The 5-year-old goes very well on testing ground and looks to have been trained for the race. Made a belated seasonal reappearance when winning the Group 2 Daniel Wildenstein at Longchamp 14-days ago. Should make the places but Palace Pier will be the classiest horse he has faced so far.
Nazeef won the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket two weeks ago. That win came on heavy so no issues with the ground for the filly and she’s won over C&D at the Royal Meeting.
Roseman a winner of a Newmarket Listed race on heavy last November. He made a promising seasonal reappearance when 4th in the Queen Anne Stakes over C&D at Royal Ascot. However, the 4-year-old didn’t build on that when only 7th of 9 behind Persian King in the Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan at Chantilly. First run for 90-days but he won off an even longer layoff at Newmarket and could get into the money.
3:40 – Qipco Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1) – 1m 2f
Last year’s winner Magical is a best priced 7/4. The mare missed the Arc and last time out outpointed Ghaiyyath, with Sottsass back in fourth, in the Irish Champion Stakes. A race she had won 12 months earlier. She will be tough to beat if at her best.
Mishriff has won all three starts this season, including the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) and last time out beat three rivals in a Group 2 at Deauville 63-days ago. The colt needs to have improved again to beat Magical but that's possible.
Addeybb just found Magical too strong in this race last year. The fitting of the cheekpieces last year have been the making of the 6-year-old and his form figures since are 12121121. He returned from a short break to win a Listed race at Ayr last month under a 7lb penalty. Needs good to soft or worse and shouldn't be far away again.
Besides Magical Aidan O’Brien could saddle Epsom Derby winner Serpentine & Japan. The latter has been disappointing on his four starts this season but a return to the form that saw him win last year’s International Stakes at York and finish fourth in the Arc would see him in the mix. First time this season that he gets ground worse than good (2-2 on good to soft or worse).
4:15 – Balmoral Handicap – 1m
Were likely to see a maximum field of 20 for this normally competitive handicap on the straight course. Not a race I have looked at in depth, just yet. However, those high on the shortlist include King Ottoker, River Nymph, Orbaan, last year’s winner Escober, Njord and Ropey Guest.
It’s set to be a great days racing and if you want my final selections for this race and the other races on the card you can get them here.
Yesterday’s selection Kryptos got into the money at Nottingham. I’m across the Irish Sea for today’s fancy. Big thanks to reader Chris for letting us know that Cold Stare was suffering from a heart problem after his run at Leicester on Tuesday.
2:05 – Noirvento a winner at Limerick on his seasonal return in June off 5lb lower. A consistent sort in these types of race. The mare has placed form here, handles the conditions and was only beaten a head, off 2lb lower, back at Limerick last month. With Adam Farragher taking off a handy 7lb she’s got each way claims once more.
2:05 – Noirvento – 8/1 @ Bet365 (paying 4 places ¼ odds) – Paddy Power 6/1 are paying 5 places.
Good luck with your Thursday bets.