Preview and tips ahead of Champions Day at Ascot
The highlight of the weekend action is the 10th edition of the Qipco British Champions Day as the Flat season finishes in style at Ascot on Saturday.
Six cracking races will see a host of the sport’s true superstars take to the track.
With the likes of Palace Pier, Mishriff, Snowfall, Baaeed and Adayar in action, it promises to be a pulsating day of action and we have previewed all of the action in our race by race guide.
1.25pm G2 Long Distance Cup (2m)
Trueshan and Stradivarius met in the Prix du Cadran last time out with Trueshan coming out on top in decisive fashion and the pair once again meet in this event. The five-year-old was also successful in this race last year and with soft currently in the going description he makes appeal to land this event. This could be Stradivarius’ swansong and the superstar stayer is deeply respected. However, he was put firmly in his place by Trueshan last time out. Hamish returned to action with victory in the September Stakes last time out at Kempton and is another to note.
2.00pm G1 Sprint Stakes (6f)
20 runners go to post for this event in what looks a cracking renewal. Art Power is deeply respected having returned to form in fine style in Ireland last time out, whilst course and distance winner Vadream is another capable of further improvement. Creative Force, Kinross and Gustavus Weston are all potential contenders, whilst Rohaan has to be feared with Ryan Moore aboard given he is a course and distancer winner this term. However, preference is for Dragon Symbol. He has posted a number of good efforts in defeat this term and is taken to finally win one of these big pots. He has had a busy season, but he will have been primed for this event and he should go close here.
Selection: Dragon Symbol
2.35pm G1 Fillies and Mares Stakes (1m 4f)
Albaflora is a course and distance winner at the track and commands respect. However, this is all about Snowfall. The three-year-old was sixth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last time out and that form makes the dual Oaks winner very tough to beat in this event. The other six runners in the field all have lots to find with Aidan O’Brien’s classy inmate who is officially 10lb clear of her rivals on the ratings.
3.10pm G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (1m)
Baaeed is unbeaten in five starts and impressed when landing the Prix du Moulin, his first G1 win last time out. He looks sure to go well but is up against two serious milers. The first is The Revenant who won this race last term. He was a narrow second on his latest start and whilst he is not getting any younger, he remains open to more improvement. However, this is all about Palace Pier. Unbeaten in four starts this term, he is chasing a sixth G1 success and looks primed to go close in this event. Conditions should be in his favour and he looks the class act here. The likes of Benbatl, Mother Earth, Alcohol Free and Master Of The Seas add more spice to this event and all have each-way claims if they bring their very best form.
Selection: Palace Pier
3.50pm G1 Qipco Champion Stakes (1m 2f)
A cracking renewal of the £1.2 million feature. Addeybb won this race last year and has to be respected along with stable companion Al Aasy who has looked slightly tricky this term. Haggas also runs the progressive Dubai Honour is another player following a smooth win at Longchamp last time out. US G1 winner Bolshoiu Ballet and the progressive Foxes Tales also both deserve mentions. Mishriff is a leading contender for this event having landed the Juddmonte International last time out and he is sure to be popular. However, preference is for Adayar. He finished fourth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and if he is over those excursions he makes plenty of appeal. A winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at the track already this term, he should relish this drop to 10 furlongs and he is a leading player.
4.30pm Balmoral Handicap (1m)
Lots in with chances including Nugget who has been in fine form this term. Kenzai Warrior returned from a layoff to score at Kempton last time out and he also warrants respect along with recent York winner Shelir. However, Sunray Major has been the major gamble of this race for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori. He has snuck in at the bottom of the weights and is unbeaten in two starts this term. Despite having to carry a 6lb penalty, a mark of 101 looks lenient and he makes plenty of appeal in the finale.
Selection: Sunray Major