Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Intelligent Punter's Guide to Champions Day

By Neil Clark

This Saturday at Ascot racecourse in Berkshire, the British Flat season, which began back in March, reaches its finale with a glittering six-race card worth over £4m in prize money.

Some of the best horses (and jockeys) in Europe will be on show, for an event which was first held in 2011.

The first race, to be run at 1.25pm is the Group 2 Long Distance Cup run over 2m. Order of St George, trained in Ireland, is the favourite and deservedly so, but he was beaten as an odds-on shot in the race twelve months ago and isn't bomb-proof. The ultra-game Big Orange and the three-year-old Stradivarius will be tough opponents although both would probably prefer faster ground. The improving Desert Skyline, winner last time out of the Doncaster Cup and last year’s winner Sheikhzayedroad (a 16-1 shot this time) could represent some each-way value.

The race is followed at 2.00 by the Group I Champions Sprint, run over 6f. Here course and distance winner Caravaggio could just have the edge over Harry Angel.  Quiet Reflection and The Tin Man are others for the short-list.

In the 1m4f Fillies and Mares’ Stakes at 2.40, last year’s winner Journey, a filly who seems to save her best for this time of year should prove very hard to beat. In the QEII, one of Europe’s most prestigious mile races, due off at 3.15, the favourite Ribchesterstands out on the form book, but if the ground deteriorates any further then an each-way interest in 25-1 shot Here Comes When – a winner in the mud at Goodwood earlier in the year, could be prudent.

The most valuable race of the day is the 1m2f Group One Champions Stakes, at 3.50, worth £737,230 to the winner. The 7-4 favourite Cracksman has a lot going for him, having finished third in the English Derby and bypassed the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe (worth £2.4m to the winner) to wait for this. At longer odds (7-1), the French Derby winner Brametot makes plenty of appeal, while 25-1 shot Desert Encounter, who’s run well in some top races earlier this year, looks overpriced.

The final race of the day is a Class 2 handicap over 1m, where Zabeel Prince a winner of all three of his starts this year, is likely to start favourite. Firmament, who was third in this race last year off a 5lbs higher mark, and Speculative Bid, a staying-on 7th over a shorter distance at the course earlier this month, could be the each-way value

1 comment:

melancholiac said...

If my £16.5 milliom acca comes up I will buy you a pi
nt (and send Glen Greenwald a snotty tweet).