Racing preview: Flat extravaganza takes centre stage on Champions Day at Ascot
A superb six-race card at Ascot takes centre stage this weekend as the stars of the Flat season compete at the 10th running of QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot.
Despite being held behind closed doors amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the action on the track promises to be scintillating with the likes of Stradivarius, Enable and Palace Pier all set to run at the Berkshire venue. We have previewed the card with race-by-race selections and analysis from Betting Expert’s top tipster Stephen Harris.
1.20pm Group One QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup
Only seventh in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on his latest start, Stradivarius targets a second win in this two-mile event for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden. Successful in 2018, Stradivarius, the 8/11 favourite, has carried all before this season in the staying division with a third win in the Gold Cup at Ascot and a fourth success in the Goodwood Cup. Despite concerns over testing ground, he is clearly the one his 12 rivals all have to beat. Search For A Song (11/2) recorded successive victories in the Irish St Leger on his latest start and looks a danger, having beaten Ebor hero Fujaira Prince (7/1), whilst Aidan O’Brien runs three horses including recent Group Three winner Dawn Patrol (12/1) and last year’s Irish Derby hero Sovereign (14/1)
Selection: Stradivarius (8/11)
1.55pm Group One QIPCO British Champions Sprint
Dream Of Dreams has enjoyed a fantastic season for Sir Michael Stoute and deservedly heads the betting at 15/8 following a maiden Group One victory in the Haydock Sprint Cup last time out. He will relish conditions and should go close under Oisin Murphy. However, One Master (5/1) is at home in testing ground, advertised by a third straight victory in the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp under Pierre-Charles Boudot last time out. A fine second in this race last year, she looks capable of going one place better.
Others who warrant a mention include July Cup hero Oxted (13/2) who has undergone a breathing operation since that success, the unbeaten Starman (9/1) along with Sprint Cup second Glen Shiel (12/1), the mount of Hollie Doyle.
Selection: One Master (5/1)
2.30pm Group One QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes
A competitive event which could see Hollie Doyle record a first Group One win. She partners the talented Dame Maillot (4/1) who finished an excellent third in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp last time out. She relishes testing ground and a reproduction of that effort would see her go close. Wonderful Tonight (3/1 favourite) gained a deserved success when landing the Group One Prix de Royallieu and is a serious danger given she relishes the ground, whilst Irish Oaks winner Even So (11/2) is capable of bouncing back to form.
Selection: Dame Maillot 4/1
3.05pm Group One Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
This is all about Palace Pier (4/6 favourite). Unbeaten in five starts, he backed up a scintillating success in the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes at Ascot in June with a smooth win in the Prix Jacques Le Marois last time out. Frankie Dettori is aboard and given he already boasts winning form on testing ground, he is a confident selection. The Revenant (7/2) is one of the best older French-trained horses around and returned to action with an easy win in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein. He is the main danger along with Circus Maximus (8/1) and Sun Chariot heroine Nazeef (12/1).
3.40pm Group One QIPCO Champion Stakes
The feature race of the day carrying a prize fund of £750,000. Magical (7/4 favourite) is the defending champion and warmed up for this assignment with a seventh Group One victory in the Irish Champion Stakes. Ryan Moore is back aboard and she handles testing conditions as demonstrated by her victory in this event last season. Mishriff (10/3) looks a serious threat with Frankie Dettori aboard. He won the French Derby earlier this year and will relish the ground at Ascot. However, Stephen Harris’ NAP of the day is William Haggas’s prolific winner Addeybb (8/1). He goes particularly well with cut in the ground, and returned to his very best when overcoming trouble in running to win at Ayr last time out. He finished a close second behind Magical in this event in 2019, and looks a very fair each-way alternative to those at the front of the market with conditions to suit.
Selection: Addeybb (8/1)
4.15pm Balmoral Handicap
The finale on British Champions Day and a contest in which Raaeq (5/1) makes appeal. He is unbeaten in his last two starts and sluiced up at Ascot last time out by five lengths. Tempus (13/2), a course and distance winner at the track this term and the progressive Keats, successful at Cork in Listed company last time out, can give the selection the most to think about.
Selection: Raaeq (5/1)
Tips and analysis via Betting Expert