Champions Day Tips & Review
Last weekend we featured the key trends for the second leg of the big handicap autumn double, the Cesarewitch, and having used these to help narrow the field Nick Hardman’s selections ran well with 2 of them placing to pretty much cover the suggested stakes.
The eventual winner, Withhold, landed a huge gamble on this second start for current connections and after being towards the front he powered clear and on the evidence of this performance he has the potential to develop into a Listed/Group runner.
On Saturday Ascot holds the end-of-season Flat finale, the Qipco British Champions Day, which was founded by bringing together the historic Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Champion Stakes on one card to create the richest race day in the Flat calendar.
The reward is a race meeting worth £4.3 million in prize-money comprising four Group 1 races, a Group 2 race and the richest mile handicap run in Europe which has attracted 21 individual Group 1 winners.
In the recently published Betting Insiders Members Report (Issue 150) astute pundit Alan Dudman (betting.betfair) shared his thoughts on a number of the races due to take place and as a fore-runner he also chipped in with one or two for the Future Champions meeting that took place last weekend at Newmarket.
Hopefully after highlighting the 10/1 winner of the Fillies Mile, Laurens, he can lead us into the winners enclosure at Ascot on Saturday.
To find out more about the Betting Insiders Club click here.
Champions Day Review
The prestigious meeting kicks off with the Long Distance Cup (Ascot 13:25) and ante-post betting produces its own challenges – namely will they make it to the race, and of course the weather. It’s hard enough trying to work around rain predictions, so I’ll be thinking on the basis of Ascot’s end-of-season showpiece riding on the soft side. Last year was officially given as good, but we deal with the hand we are given.
For the reason outlined above, I cannot get involved with Big Orange – as he needs it quick, so at around 4/1 to 5/1 (now 7/1), he will be avoided.
The Willie Mullins-trained Renneti stands out as an interesting one at 16/1 with plenty of firms – now a non-runner.
The other one to throw in at a decent price is my old friend Sheikhzayedroad. He is top price 20/1, and that is too big for last year’s winner of the race. David Simcock’s eight-year-old has sparked back to life with fine efforts in the Lonsdale Cup and Doncaster Cup. He does act on soft, and he’s had a relatively light campaign since Meydan. I am hoping this has been his target for the season.
Back Sheikhzayedroad each-way @ 20/1
Click here to read on and find out which ones Alan fancies for the Sprint and Champion Stakes.
Ascot 14:00 Sprint
If you like backing 6/4 shots at the top of the market ante-post, I couldn’t really put you off Harry Angel following his breathtaking victory in the Haydock Sprint Cup. That crucially came in heavy conditions, and he won by four lengths.
Playing towards the each-way angle, Brando needs to bounce back after his run behind Harry Angel, but he is a Group 1 winner and looks overpriced at 16/1. The fairly obvious pick at 10/1 (top price with Sporting Bet) is Quiet Reflection because of the ground – she needs cut.
She finished seventh in the contest last term, and travelled well for a long way on decent terrain. She lacked the finishing kick that she is known for. This looks her end-of-term target, and she only had one start for the campaign prior to her win at Naas.
Back Quiet Reflection each-way 13/2 (was 10/1 when the article was published)
Ascot 15:50 Champion Stakes
Previewing this from an ante-post view was a nightmare in truth due to the close proximity of the Arc. With Cracksman skipping the French engagement, I had no idea at the time of writing if he was going to show up for this. He was the market leader at 7/2 – but we will see him miss another big race in favour of a four-year-old campaign?
The other top players in the market are Ulysses, Winter and Enable – but again, just 20 days between Chantilly and Ascot makes that too tough to play in.
Barney Roy would be the most solid, despite the three-year-old form taking a few whacks recently. Barney has had a great season, and his two narrow defeats behind Ulysses seem to look better and better with the way that horse has really flourished for Sir Michael Stoute.
Richard Hannon’s three-year-old can be backed at 6.6 on Betfair, but was doubly entered when penning this preview in the QEII. With Godolphin strongly represented by Ribchester in the mile race, it would make sense for Barney Roy to go for this. After all, he’s been mentioned as a middle-distance prospect for next term, so the drop back in trip wouldn’t really suit this big-striding horse. On ratings he is bang there too with 120.
I also think Thunder Snow is overpriced at 25/1. He’s another Godolphin runner with a QEII entry, and that could be the logical race. However, he has form on soft, and produced his best display as a two-year-old in the mud to win the Group 1 Criterium by five lengths.
Back Barney Roy @ 7/2 Gen (was 6.60 on Betfair when the article was published)
Together We Can Win
Darren & Steve