This weekend brings us to the last showpiece of the flat season, Ascot Champions Day.
With four Group 1 races on the card it promises to be a feast of racing.
One thing to note that due to ground conditions, races scheduled for the round course have now been moved to the Inner Flat Course, with Good to Soft going. Races on the straight course will remain there where the going is Heavy.
1:35 Ascot 6f Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1) (Class 1) (3yo+)
We start with the Champions Sprint Stakes, a Group 1 contest with a £330,693 prize to the winner.
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Advertise for Martyn Meade currently heads the market here, which I think can present us with some interesting betting opportunities further down the field. I’m very keen to take on Advertise due to the heavy ground, he’s 1/1 on Good-to-Soft ground but has never raced on anything with more cut. He’s by Showcasing and progeny are 3/52 on Heavy Ground with a Win Strike Rate of only 5% and returns at Industry Starting Price of -40.77pts.
Based on market price of runners, the expected win yield should be 5.52, so he’s actually running at -2.52 WAX (Wins Above Expectation) as a Sire on Heavy Ground. Advertise’s Dam Furbelows progeny are 0/5, 0 places on Soft ground, meaning that the favourite is really not for me.
Hello Youmzain deserves his place near the head of the market, after a victory in the Sprint Cut at Haydock last time out. He’s already proven that he likes cut in the ground and being by Kodiac out of Spasha, the pedigree also backs that up.
I’m going to side with last years’ winner here, SANDS OF MALI. He’s been poor this year but comes back to a race where he was incredibly impressive at the end of last season and again is presenting with conditions that will suit him down to a tee. At a decent price I think he’s got a good chance.
EACH WAY: SANDS OF MALI @ 14/1 with GIVEMEBET
2:10 Ascot 2m (1m7f209y) Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2) (Class 1) (3yo+)
Ground: Good to Soft
The Long Distance Cup might be straightforward again for STRADIVARIUS and due to the price there is no selection in the race.
2:45 Ascot 1m4f (1m3f211y) Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1) (Class 1) (3yo+)
Two Fillies from John Gosden’s yard head the market here in Star Catcher and Anapurna and on known form they deserve to be at the front of the betting.
Away from the front two, what really interests me is that Irish trainer Dermot Weld sends over TARNAWA here, to a meeting where he has a great record in recent years, being 4/7 57% +20.5pts. He won this race in 2012 with Sapphire and I regard him as a trainer who doesn’t send his horses over to the UK just for the fun of it. She was impressive last time out in a Group 2 race at The Curragh and deserves a place at the table here today.
TO WIN: TARNAWA @ 7/1 with GIVEMEBET
3:20 Ascot 1m (Str) Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1) (Sponsored By Qipco) (British Champions Mile) (Class 1) (3yo+)
Last year we saw the superstar horse of 2018, Roaring Lion claim victory here in the QE2. I don’t see anything of his quality in this years’ field and am very keen to take on the favourite coming over from France THE REVENANT. It’s true that he will love conditions, but I just don’t think he’s in the same class as a number of these. Note that he’s currently the 5/2 favourite and only two runs ago he beat 50/1 shot Imaging by just half a length.
The horse that I’m drawn to here is LORD GLITTERS for Northern Trainer, David O’Meara. He’s 2/6 with 3 places at Ascot and 3/8, 2 places when todays jockey, Daniel Tudhope, takes the ride. In terms of performance he has my highest speed figure of the entire field here, recorded at Doncaster in 2018 and also the best performance on Soft ground where he’s 1/3, 1 place. The Heavy conditions should suit and I think LORD GLITTERS is a cracking each way chance at 7/1.
EACH WAY: LORD GLITTERS @ 7/1 with GIVEMEBET.
4:00 Ascot 1m2f Qipco Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1) (Class 1) (3yo+)
Straight to the point here - I can’t see past last years’ winner MAGICAL. She put up a hugely impressive performance in this race last year under similar conditions and in an arguably weaker field, can take the £770,000 prize again this year. She was fifth in her last race, the Arc De Triomphe, but I think she potentially went too fast when trying to compete with Ghaiyyeth up with the pace in that race.
At a course and distance that will play to her strengths and with conditions underfoot suiting down to the ground now that this race takes place on the Inner Course, I think she’s a generous price at 13/8.
TO WIN: MAGICAL @ 13/8 with GIVEMEBET
4:40 Ascot 1m (Str) Balmoral Handicap (Sponsored By Qipco) (Class 2) (3yo+)
We come finally to the Balmoral Handicap, one of the last big field handicaps of the flat season.
Notably in recent days we’ve seen a significant market move for Aidan O’Brien’s runner Amedeo Mogdigliani, backed from around 14/1 into 7/2 for the race. The lads over at Ballydoyle clearly fancy him, but I’m going to look elsewhere for some value in the race.
I’ve landed on two horses that I feel are both well handicapped and will appreciate the conditions here. The first is CLON COULIS from the David Barron yard. He was 2nd here in June in the Royal Hunt Cup on soft ground, beaten a short head by Afaak. I think that was a huge run and under similar conditions I think a mark of 99 will bring him very close again.
The second horse, is a horse that just doesn’t seem to win, but yet I still think he’s well handicapped and go close. That horse is SO BELOVED. I have him well handicapped here off 98 based on his run at Haydock on Soft ground in April this year and also his runs at Newmarket and Ascot in June and July. He’s come down the handicap from 105 since those runs over the summer. The jockey booking of James Doyle is also a positive, he’s 3/11, 1 place when riding the horse.News Now - Sport News