The Tremeloes‘ 1969 hit lead us in to so-called Champions Day at Ascot, with the whole card being shown on ITV.
Action begins at 1.25 with the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup which features the ongoing battle between Trueshan and the previously unbeatable Stradivarius. With today’s going greatly favouring Alan King‘s runner, we are firmly in the Trueshan camp after its easy win in the Prix Du Cadran two weeks ago and recommend a decent win bet at 13-8.
If there is a surprise package in this race it could be Willie‘s runner Hamish, which came back from a long absence to defeat the talented Hukum at Kempton and is trying 2 miles for the first time. If it gets the trip, could be a danger to all so we suggest a ‘cover’ bet at 9-2.
At 2.00, the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes takes place and has a maximum field of 20. Any draw bias is as yet a complete unknown but our two against the field are both drawn high, so we hope for the best.
Art Power put in a stunning performance last time out, winning at the Curragh by no less than 5 lengths after being ridden with more restraint than usual. Assuming SDS will adopt a similar strategy, this 4-y-o will be hard to beat so we will back it at 9-2.
Our other choice is the speedy Kinross, which reverts to sprinting after winning two Group races at seven furlongs. We think this is a good move and recommend an each way bet at 8-1.
Third up at 2.35 is the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, for which Snowfall is 4-7. Clearly we ain’t gonna recommend a bet at that price but AO’B filly has had a long old season and her edge may not quite be there, so, with a ‘dead eight’ field we’ll suggest a cautious each way bet on the fast improving Invite at 7-1.
The Queen Elizabeth ll Stakes at 3.10 is being billed as a match between Palace Pier and the unbeaten Baaeed, the ‘big two’ priced up at 7-4 and 9-4 and we side with Baaeed, who won a Group 1 in France last time, despite having had a slight setback during his preparation.
We also suggest an each way bet on the only horse to have beaten Palace Pier, which was in this very race last year. Step forward The Revenant and prepare to be backed at 8-1 after an ideal warm up.
The Group 1s keep coming and next is the Qipco Champion Stakes at 3.50 which, on pricing, is another match between Mishriff and Derby hero Adayar. Over today’s trip of ten furlongs, we are definitely on the side of Mishriff, with the 4-y-o’s ability to quicken a potent weapon. Have a win bet at 15-8.
We also give a squeak to French raider Sealiway, who finished fractionally behind Adayar in ‘The Arc‘ and is better suited by today’s distance. An each way tilt at 11-1 is recommended.
And so to the finale, the Balmoral Handicap at 4.30 which features the proverbial ‘Group horse in a handicap’, name of Sunray Major.
A facile winner of a 7f handicap on this course 15 days ago and just 5lbs higher this afternoon, there really is little choice but to bite the bullet on price and leave the Mad Italian to bring him home at 2-1.
One horse in the field which could outrun its odds is the Irish trained Saltonstall, berthed in trap 10 and very well handicapped on bits and pieces of this season’s form. At 33-1 we can’t resist an each way tickle.
Y’all have a good day, y’hear.
Trueshan 1.25 Ascot 4pts win @ 13-8
Hamish 1.25 Ascot 1pt win @ 9-2
Art Power 2.00 Ascot 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (5 places)
Kinross 2.00 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (5 places)
Invite 2.35 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 7-1
Baaeed 3.10 Ascot 3pts win @ 9-4
The Revenant 3.10 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 8-1
Mishriff 3.50 Ascot 4pts win @ 15-8
Sealiway 3.50 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 11-1
Sunray Major 4.30 Ascot 3pts win @ 2-1
Saltonstall 4.30 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 33-1 (6 places)