Qipco British Champions Day Preview.
Saturday 21st October 2017
1.25 Long Distance Cup (Class 1) (Group 2) (2m)
The long distance cup kicks things off on an outstanding day’s racing at Ascot for QIPCO British Champions Day. This race was won last year by Sheikhzayedroad however he’s been a little disappointing this time around albeit a decent run in the Doncaster Cup last time out. Big Orange is currently trading at a best priced of 6/1 and will come here fresh as we haven’t seen him since he was beaten by Stradivarius in the Goodwood Cup. Stradivarius has been one of my favourite horses to follow throughout this flat season and he comes here off the back of an excellent third in the St. Leger at Doncaster, he’s sure to run his race again however the ground may be a slight concern for him.
Even though he was turned over in this last year at short odds I still think that ORDER OF ST GEORGE is a lot better than these on his day. There is obviously a case to be made for whether he’ll be feeling the effects of some big races throughout a long season but I still believe he’ll get his redemption in this race this time around. He’s best priced 6/5. One at a bigger price as an each way alternative to him here that I quite like is TORCEDOR. He actually beat Order Of St George back in April in a Group 3 contest and has ran very well in defeat in similar contests to this throughout the season. He’s best priced 20/1 and he might be worth chancing at that price to get into the frame again.
ORDER OF ST GEORGE – 6/5 – (Jockey: Ryan Moore – Trainer: AP O’Brien
TORCEDOR – 20/1 (E/W) – (Jockey: Colm O’Donoghue – Trainer: Mrs J Harrington)
2.00 Champion Sprint Stakes (Class 1) (Group 1) (6f)
The champion stakes is up next and again it’s a mouth watering contest that see’s this year’s outstanding sprinter Harry Angel head affairs at a best priced 11/10 as he touches odds on in a lot places. It is hard to envisage him getting beat on that back of that emphatic victory in the Sprint Cup at Haydock in desperate ground but I am actually going to try and take him on.
It’ll probably raise a few eyebrows this but after a lot of thought i’m sticking with it, I think CARAVAGGIO might come good in Group 1 company again here. Obviously he hasn’t dominated the division as many thought he would following his win here in the Commonwealth Cup beating Harry Angel in the process however he did show that there is something still there when getting his nose back in front in a Group 2 last time out. He’s best priced of around 9/2 so you could go each way on him also. Quiet Reflection is also an obvious threat, she won very well on a last start after a lengthy spell on the sides showing she has retained a lot of the talent.
CARAVAGGIO – 9/2 (E/W) – (Jockey: Ryan Moore – Trainer: AP O’Brien)
2.40 Champion Fillies & Mares Stakes (Class 1) (Group 1) (1m 3f)
Onto the Fillies & Mares contest now and it’s thrown up a really competitive renewal of the race. A lot of fillies come into their own at this time of year and none more so than JOURNEY for John Gosden & Frankie Dettori. She hacked up in this last year and I can see her taking the contest again this time around. She was beaten over in France by Bateel who’s currently the second favourite here but she will of needed the run that day and showed that she’s still got the talent in the bag. She’s best priced of around 11/4 at the moment which I think is quite a generous price.
Stablemate Coronet could be the main danger however she has had a lot of hard races throughout this season and this one might just be one race too many. She can’t be ruled out though.
JOURNEY – 11/4 – (Jockey: Frankie Dettori – Trainer: John Gosden)
3.15 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Class 1) (Group 1) (1m)
This race was won last year by the outstanding Minding and this lot have got a big mark to live up to if they are going to match that performance. I’ve been pondering over this race for a good while coming to all sorts of different conclusions but i’ve finally come to a conclusion that I think i’m satisfied with. Ribchester heads affairs here for Richard Fahey at around 2/1 on the back of his Group 1 victory over in France, he has obvious claims that goes without saying but I don’t think he’s looked all that convincing this term. Granted he did win well at Royal Ascot, and he didn’t at all like the desperate surface when beat at Glorious Goodwood but i’m just not that sure I want to be siding with him at a fairly short price.
The same can be said for second favourite in the market Churchill who is currently at around 7/2. He may well bounce back to form here as we all know he’s more than capable but he’s showing all the signs of a horse that’s on a downwards spiral now and that could very well be that. So i’m going to take them both on with a couple of each way alternatives. Starting off with BEAT THE BANK for Andrew Balding, i’ve loved following this horse this season as he’s progressed absolutely fantastically culminating in an emphatic five length success over a talented sort in a Group 2 contest last time out. He might of had quite a few runs now this season but at 9/2 I think he’s a cracking each way proposition here.
The other one i’m going to chance here is HERE COMES WHEN also for Andrew Balding. Now as many folk who follow this page now I tipped this horse up when it was 80/1 for the Sussex Stakes on the basis of the heavy rain forecast. Obviously Churchill got taken out and there was a massive Rule 4 etc but it was still an almighty success for him. Rain is scheduled again for this day and as we’ve seen before with him he won’t mind that a bit. We haven’t seen him since that Goodwood victory so he comes here fresh and he’s trading at a general 20/1.
BEAT THE BANK – 9/2 (E/W) – (Jockey: Jim Crowley – Trainer: Andrew Balding)
HERE COMES WHEN – 20/1 – (E/W) (Jockey: Jamie Spencer – Trainer: Andrew Balding)
3.50 Champion Stakes (Class 1) (Group 1) (1m 2f)
Finally we come to the Champion Stakes and it’s another star studded field which however has surprisingly lost the presence of Ulysses who hasn’t been entered to the surprise of myself and many others. There’s still and abundance of talent on show here and it’s two of my favourite flat performers of the year battling it out at the top of the market at the moment. The one that i’m going to side with now Ulysses is out is CRACKSMAN. I think he’s still progressing and has been coming on for every run, he isn’t the most straight forward of rides and can race quite lazily at times which could ultimately cost him over this shorter trip but he does have a lot of class about him and the forecast for soft ground will certainly help, once the after burners kick in he’s really hard to peg back as we saw in both France and York.
Barney Roy is the obvious threat and Richard Hannon said that he’ll be ridden different this day to when he was prominently ridden in the Juddmonte International where he arguably set the race up for eventual winner Ulysses. However this was said when Ulysses was still in the race so who knows what tactic they will deploy.
CRACKSMAN – 2/1 – (Jockey: Frankie Dettori – Trainer: John Gosden)