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2019 British Champions day tips - Tips through the card at Ascot on Saturday

Frankie Dettori, seen here winning last year's Champion Stakes on Cracksman, could be in the winners again this weekend.

Our expert takes a look through the card at Ascot on Champions Day and provides readers with his selections on Saturday 19th October.

Saturday marks the final major meeting on the flat track at Ascot, with a star-studded cast set to assemble and battle it out in six high-profile races. Torrential rain is threatened to derail Champions Day, but organisers have moved quickly to rectify the problem, switching those races which would have been run on the waterlogged round course onto the inner hurdles track, which will ride good-to-soft on Saturday.

Our expert has taken a look through Saturday’s card in full and thrown up his betting suggestions on British Champions Day.

2019 British Champions Day Tips

1:35pm Ascot Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1) 6f

Ascot attendees will be anticipating a mouth-watering clash between Advertise and Hello Youmzain to kick off the Group One action on Champions Day. Martyn Meade’s Commonwealth Cup and Prix Maurice de Gheest winner was forced to miss the Sprint Cup after scoping badly the previous morning. With Advertise out of the picture, Hello Youmzain rewarded his many backers with a fine performance at Haydock, storming to victory under an excellent ride by James Doyle.

It’s hard to separate the two and both are bound to garner their share of the support. However, there have been upsets aplenty in this Group One in recent seasons, with the likes of Sands Of Mali and Librisa Breeze outshining some highly-rated sprinters. So, there’s plenty of value to be found further down the market and the each-way bet that appeals most to me is BRANDO (20/1 Unibet).

This will be a third crack at the Champion Sprint for Kevin Ryan’s seven-year-old, having finished third, seventh and fourth on his previous three attempts. Brando has enjoyed another consistent campaign to date, with his best performance coming in the Prix Maurice de Gheest, where be bounded out of the pack to push Advertise all the way to the line.

I fancied soft ground would really suit Brando in the Sprint Cup last time out, but Hello Youmzain stole a march on his rivals on the front end and Tom Eaves mount could only finish a staying-on fourth. Brando broke blood vessels that day, but if Ryan would only enter his stalwart at Ascot if he was completely sure he was fully fit and Brando certainly has the ability to run beyond his current odds.

2:40pm Ascot Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 1) (Class 1) 2m

I’ve taken on Stradivarius plenty of times over the last couple of years and it’s never proven particularly profitable. There’s no doubting John Gosden’s charge is the finest stayer of his generation. The drift I noted earlier in the week ceased when the Long Distance Cup was switched to the hurdles track and I can't see any reason why Stradivarius won't be good enough to see off the likes of Royal Line and Kew Gardens.

There is, however, scope for an each-way punt here. Three paid places are available and there are plenty of stayers, sitting on lengthy prices, who are more than capable of filling a place. So, with that in mind, I'm going to take an almighty punt and back CLEONTE (66/1 Coral) at a ridiculous price.

Andrew Balding's six-year-old crossed paths with Stradivarius at Doncaster in September, where he ran a hugely respectable race in finishing a one-and-a-half length runner-up. Cleonte then took his chance in the Prix du Cadran over at Longchamp, but really didn't enjoy the heavy ground and failed to land a blow.

Silvestre De Sousa was in the saddle as Cleonte stormed to victory in the Queen Alexandra Stakes during the Royal Meeting. That was his second high-profile victory in a staying race here at Ascot, having won at the Shergar Cup during 2017. He may have a little to find in terms of rating, but at 66/1, Cleonte is massively overpriced to catch a place.

Star Catcher winning the Ribblesdale here at Ascot.

2:45pm Ascot (Inner) Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1) 1m3½f

Anapurna secured her first victory since winning the Oaks out in Longchamp, staying on stoutly to win the Qatar Prix de Royallieu over an extended mile-and-three-quarter trip. Fleeting has been knocking on the door all season too, having run well to place in four high-profile Group Ones spanning three four different countries.

Both have, however, been defeated by STAR CATCHER (NAP) (13/8 Unibet) in recent weeks. John Gosden’s filly has gone from strength-to-strength since winning the Ribblesdale here at Royal Ascot and I can’t see anyone stopping her claiming a fourth Group One on the bounce at the weekend.

Following that Royal triumph, Anthony Oppenheimer stumped up the supplementary fee to throw his filly into the Irish Oaks. His faith was rewarded handsomely at the Curragh, as Frankie Dettori guided his mount to victory from the front, holding on to survive a late charge from Fleeting to secure her first Classic win.

After missing the break slightly, Frankie had to work a little harder than expected to find his way to the head of affairs in the Prix Vermeille. Despite that, Star Catcher was still strong enough to hold off all her rivals and seal a second-straight Group One win. The form of that race has been boosted by subsequent wins for Anapurna and Vila Marina. Frankie will be high on confidence having ridden Stradivarius in the race before and together, he and Star Catcher will take some stopping over this trip.

3:20pm Ascot Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1) (Sponsored By Qipco) (British Champions Mile) (Class 1) 1m

The Revenent was rewarded with a rating of 120 following a powerful five-length triumph in the Prix Daniel Wildstern. While that was impressive and he’s sure to enjoy the heavy ground, Francis-Henri Graffard’s charge is totally untested at Group One level and I never like to back French horses on the straight mile here at Ascot.

With 16 high-quality milers lining up against what I feel is a vulnerable favourite, there's scope for a couple of bets in opposition, the first of those being LORD GLITTERS (7/1 Coral).

David O'Meara's flag-bearer finally claimed the Group One victory his career richly deserved here at Royal Ascot, powering home with a perfectly timed late charge to win the Queen Anne Stakes. Since then, Danny Tudhope's mount has been well-beaten at Goodwood and finished a staying-on sixth in the Juddmonte International Stakes.

Lord Glitters boasts an excellent record here at Ascot and has shown a clear liking for juicy ground throughout his career. I'll have a piece of Lord Glitters at 7/1.

I'm also going to take a chance on PHOENIX OF SPAIN (25/1 Unibet) producing a resurgent performance. Charlie Hills' charge proved his undoubted quality with a superb front-running victory over Too Darn Hot and Magna Grecia in the Irish 1000 Guineas, but performance since have been hugely disappointing.

Phoenix Of Spain could only finish sixth in both the St James's Palace Stakes and the Sussex Stakes, fading tamely from the front on both occasions. A change of tactic followed in the Prix du Moulin, but Hills' imposing colt didn't seem that happy coming from off the pace and only passed a couple of rivals before finishing fifth.

I've been hoping Hills would step Phoenix Of Spain up in trip at some point this season, but that hasn't materialised. I still have plenty of faith in this talented horse though and heavy ground could emphasise his strong staying ability.

Lord Glitters (second left) hacks up to win the Queen Anne Stakes.

4:00pm Qipco Champion Stakes (Group 1) (Sponsored By Qipco) (British Champions Mile) (Class 1) 1m2f

Addeybb only ever runs when the ground is soft and he proved at Royal Ascot, when winning the Windsor Castle Stakes, that he’s a high-quality operator to be feared when conditions are in his favour. Yet, despite some strong recent form and plenty of market support, William Haggas’ charge has never proven himself at the highest level and seems a fairly vulnerable favourite.

It looks like Japan will be put on the shelf for next season, having run well to place fourth in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. MAGICAL (11/4 Unibet) also ran at Longchamp, fading a little down the home straight before crossing the line fifth. She seems to have come out of the race much better than her stablemate and if she is jocked up in the Champion Stakes, Aidan O'Brien's filly could be hard to beat.

Magical sealed a hat-trick of wins over this distance earlier in the season, including an impressive triumph in the Tattersalls Gold Cup. O'Brien then freshened his filly up ahead of a busy autumn campaign and Magical bounced back to winning ways on her return to action at Leopardstown, powering to victory in the Irish Champion Stakes.

To accommodate Japan in the Juddmonte International, Magical was moved to the Yorkshire Oaks and ran a fine race behind Enable. On the heavy ground at Longchamp, a mile-and-a-half proved a little too far, but there's no doubting her ability to handle going this deep and 10 furlongs seems to be her favourite distance.

4:40pm Balmoral Handicap (Sponsored By Qipco) (Class 2) 1m

Lord North was my ante-post tip in the Cambridgeshire and I wouldn't be shocked to see John Gosden's charge follow up with another win. Kynren claimed a much-deserved victory last time out and has to be respected. However, I’m finding it quite difficult to see why ESCOBAR (14/1 William Hill) is as far away from the head of the market as he is and he represents excellent value as his current price.

Although all four of Escobar’s victories have come on good-to-firm ground, David O’Meara’s charge has performed well on soft ground, including in this race last year, where he finished second to Sharja Bridge. O’Meara’s charge has enjoyed a wonderfully consistent season since then, winning comfortably under ten stone at York and placing in four high-quality handicaps.

Both of Escobar’s most recent runs have come here at Ascot, finishing third and fourth over a seven-furlong trip which is clearly on the short side. Escobar should be even more effective on his return to a mile and I’m confident this career-high mark of 105 is not beyond him.

The draw has been very kind on Escobar, placing him on the favoured stands' side rail, with a couple of fancied runners on his inside and two fast starters on his outer. At 14/1, I think Escobar is a fantastic bet.

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2019 British Champions day tips - Tips through the card at Ascot on Saturday

Our expert takes a look through the card at Ascot on Champions Day and provides readers with his selections on Saturday 19th October.

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