Ben Fearnley gives his expert tips on the Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday October 19th.
One of the toughest factors in being a successful punter is to know when to forgive a horse for poor performances, and when to realise that for whatever reason previously shown form/promise will not be repeated.
Anyone who uses the at the races horse tracker will probably know how frustrating it is to add a promising horse to your list, back it in vain next time out, only to see it pop up and win at 10/1 on its subsequent appearance. Of course you can also go the other way and plough away your hard earned on a horses next three appearances based on one unlucky run, it is very tough to find a balance.
One horse that will have lost punters a fair bit of money this season is the multiple group 1 winning, highest rated gelding in the world Cirrus Des Aigles. At the ripe age of seven, it is no secret that as a horse that will not earn a single penny at stud after his racing days are over, his connections will likely carry on running him as long as possible to extend his prize money tally (which currently stands at over three million pounds).
After his trademark poor reappearance in the Grand Prix De Saint-Cloud he went off 6/4 favorite for the King George stakes at Ascot, which was probably one of the lays of the season in hindsight, considering it was run on fast ground and over a trip 2 furlongs longer than his optimum 10. Since his 8 length demolition that day he was dropped in class in his next two outings at Deauville, where he again made people wonder what had happened to the horse - which less than twelve months ago had in commentary had been described as a worthy adversary to the highest rated of all time.
Clearly he has not been the same horse so far this season, but the question is why. Have his fifty race starts caught up with him? Is he too long in the tooth at seven to be running at the top level against spritely three year olds? I would completely understand your point of view if you thought the answer to those questions was yes, but there may be a little value in the equation for those who are willing to put their money on no.
His trainer seems to think he has been working as well as ever, and has been rather bemused by his runs this season. Cirrus himself showed that there is something left in the tank when winning a group 3 at Maisons-laffitte last week. This was against a weak field and the result should not be blown out of proportion, but if he can continue improving towards the climax of the flat season where he usually shows his very best form then the 12/1 on offer at the moment could be a massive price.
Since the start of 2011 Cirrus Des Aigles has form figures of 122251211112 over 10 furlongs, three of these races have included group 1 victories including in this race in 2011. He clearly handles Ascot very well with the King George his only blip on the course. With the race coming midway through October it would be a surprise if soft didn’t feature in the going report in some way which will play to his strengths no end, and would disadvantage many of the horses at the top of the market such as Declaration of War and The Fugue. With the talented Farhh having an injury filled season and Al Kazeem being aimed at the Arc instead, the market does not have an awful lot of depth should it be run on softish ground, and if you can forgive the great gelding a sluggish start to his campaign then you will lap up the 12/1 with Coral
and be praying for plenty of rain before October 19th.
Ben Fearnley's advice
- Back Cirrus Des Aigles to win the Champion Stakes at 12/1 with Coral