Ascot Champions Day Preview.

Saturday 15th October 2022

Author: Jordan Yates (EvRacing_)

A warm welcome to my first write-up blog in a few weeks, great to be back at it though, and what a day we have in store for it as it’s Champions Day at Ascot. I’ll be going through all six races starting with the 1:25 which is the Group 2 Long Distance Cup that’s contested over two miles. In the opener, I’ve decided to side with the three-year-old in Eldar Eldarov who’s currently trading at a best price of 11/4 for the team of David Egan and Roger Varian. He’s a progressive type who arrives here on the back of his best run to date when winning the final classic of the season in the St Leger at Doncaster last month. It was an impressive display from him that day, getting up by two lengths and it’s likely that there is still more to come from him. Also, due to his age, he gets weight off a lot of his rivals here, and culminating all of this together I think he’s got a great chance if he gets the trip.

It’s the 2:00 up next which is the Group 1 Champion Sprint Stakes that’s contested over a distance of six furlongs. I like the chances of Creative Force here at 5/1 for the boys in blue in William Buick and Charlie Appleby. He has a fine record at this track to say the least and won this race last year when getting the better of Glen Shiel by a length. He’s also got a Jersey Stakes on his CV and to add to that he went down by just a neck in the Group 1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes at this year’s Royal Meeting. He’s not been seen since finishing a fine fourth behind Alcohol Free in the July Cup, but the main target for him this year has likelyis  been to come to this particular contest and attempt to retain his crown, and I think he’s got every chance of doing so.

Moving onto the 2:40 now which is more Group 1 action in the form of the Champion Fillies and Mares Stakes over a mile and four furlongs. This is a really competitive affair, of which I’ve pledged my allegiance to Eternal Pearl at 5/1 again who’s another fancy of mine that represents the all-conquering duo of William Buick and Charlie Appleby. She arrives here in fine form having won her last four on the spin, with her most recent successes coming in the form of back-to-back Group 3’s. When she was last seen she took the Dubai Stakes at Newmarket when coming off the pace under a very well-timed Buick ride. Whilst the bare form of that race isn’t on the same scale as what she’ll face here, it’s likely that she’s still progressing and could have a great deal more to offer at this distance. If continuing her current rate of progress she’s certainly a player in this.

The fourth race of the day is the 3:20 and it’s the QEII Stakes that’s another Group 1 affair this time over the straight mile. I think this is all about Inspiral who currently heads the betting at 11/8 for Frankie Dettori and John & Thady Gosden. She posted what was possibly the performance of the season here at the Royal Meeting when she returned from a lay-off and bolted up in the Coronation Stakes by just under 5 lengths. Following that run though she posted what was possible the shock of the season, when she was beaten at Newmarket at odds of 1/7 in the Falmouth Stakes, finishing just under two lengths behind Prosperous Voyage. On her most recent outing though she bounced back to form when claiming another Group 1 success over in France, taking out the Jaques Le Marois by a neck. I think she’s by far the most exciting horse in the race here, and whilst the gloss has slightly come off following that defeat she should prove hard to beat here under her weight allowance if she’s anywhere near her best form.

The penultimate race of the day comes up at 4:00 and it’s the big one in the Group 1 Champion Stakes over a mile and two furlongs. This is a race that has seen some great champions take its spoils over the years and I think we’ll have another one to add to that prestigious list in Baaeed who’s as short as 1/5 for Jim Crowley and William Haggas. The comparisons to the great Frankel have been discussed long and hard throughout this fabulous four-year-old’s career, and he’s got a chance to better Frankel’s rating here. He posted his most impressive performance to date when last seen in the Juddmonte International at York, dismantling the very smart Mishriff by over six lengths. It’s incredibly hard to see anything getting close to him here if he’s in that kind of form, and despite Crowley more than likely settling to just get the job done, it would be great to see him post another monster effort.

Concluding the day’s action is the 4:40 where we have an extremely competitive handicap in the Balmoral Handicap that’s ridden over a mile. This is a really tough race to get a handle on, however, I’ve sided with Sweet Believer at 12/1 for Adam Farragher and William Haggas. She arrives here having only had one run this season, however, it was a very solid return to the track finishing second behind the smart Bayside Boy in a listed event at Sandown earlier last month. If building on that effort here back within handicap company she’s certainly got every chance of having a say here with a rider who she gets on well with and also takes off five pounds, she’s also a lot less exposed than a good few of these and there could well be more progression to come from her.


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