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2019 Champions Day tips – The four best ante-post tips for Ascot’s sensational autumn meeting

Frankie Dettori and Star Catcher could renew their Royal Ascot winning partnership on Champions Day.

Our expert takes a look through the betting for the four Group Ones on Champions Day and provides readers with his ante-post tips for Ascot on Saturday 19th October.

Ascot final big meeting of the flat-racing season takes place late in October, as the famous Berkshire venue stages their popular British Champions Day. Four lucrative Group One prizes will be handed out on Champions Day, along with the Long Distance Cup and a bountiful handicap prize at the end of the afternoon.

A month out from this fantastic meeting, our expert takes a look through the early ante-post betting for the four feature races on Champions Day and provides readers with his best bets.

2019 Champions Day Tips

19/10/19 2:00pm Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1) (Class 1) (3yo+) 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 INVINCIBLE ARMY (16/1 Ladbrokes).

James Tate’s charge is yet to win at Group One level, but recent performances suggest he’s starting to find his feet at the highest level. Invincible Army had to work hard early on in the Sprint Cup to grasp a prominent position from stall one and only relinquished his spot inside the places in the strides before the line. Tate then turned his stable star out at the Curragh just eight days later and Invincible Army managed to improve on his Haydock result, crossing the line third behind Fairyland and So Perfect.

Although he has been comfortably beaten in both the Commonwealth Cup and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Invincible Army has run well here at Ascot in the past, clocking a superb time during his 2018 Pavilion Stakes victory. Juice in the ground is key to his chances and I’d be surprised if the going on Champions Day didn’t feature the word soft. Invincible Army is trending in the right direction and he has the raw speed to ruffle a few feathers, given favourable ground and a kind draw.

2:40pm Ascot Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1) (Class 1) 1m4f

Magical has been one of the stars of the season so far and Aidan O’Brien’s filly could return to Ascot to defend the title she won 12 months ago. However, if she is to make an appearance on Champions Day, following a likely run in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, dropping back in trip to enter the Champion Stakes – a distance which she has won two Group Ones over this term – seems the most likely option.

Coronet will make her final career appearance in this race, having finally claimed the Group Ones her career richly deserved out in France during the summer. John Gosden’s mare has placed in the last two editions of the Fillies & Mares and has to be respected. However, she’s might have her hands full trying to contend with her younger, in-form stablemate.

STAR CATCHER (9/2 William Hill) has gone from strength-to-strength since winning the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot. Anthony Oppenheimer stumped up the supplementary fee to throw his filly into the Irish Oaks and his faith was rewarded handsomely, as Frankie Dettori guided his mount to victory from the front. 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.

An outing on Champions Day would be the perfect prep for a likely tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Fillies’ And Mares’ Turf and softer ground won’t be a worry in the slightest. If Magical is removed from the running, then Star Catcher’s current price of 9/2 will seem like a distant memory.

3:15pm Ascot Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1) (Sponsored By Qipco) (British Champions Mile) (Class 1) 1m

Aidan O’Brien has identified the QEII as the scene of Magna Grecia’s return from injury and the 2000 Guineas winner would be a nice addition to the field. Romanised has maintained a superb level of form this season and garners plenty of respect. He was, however, held off in France by CIRCUS MAXIMUS (7/1 Coral) when the pair clashed in then Prix du Moulin and, with the ground likely to come up in his favour, I’m going to side with O’Brien’s colt once again.

Aidan O’Brien shocked everyone when he decided to drop his Dee Stakes winner back to eight furlongs, having shaped like a strong stayer in the Derby. Circus Maximus repaid his trainer’s faith at Royal Ascot, seeing off Too Darn Hot and King Of Comedy to win the St James’s Palace Stakes and was only just touched off by John Gosden’s now-retired superstar when they clashed in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

After playing pace-setter for Japan in the Juddmonte International Stakes, Circus Maximus made a winning return to eight furlongs in the Moulin. Ryan Moore hit the front a little too soon and was there to be had as Romanised made his customary late move. Yet, Circus Maximus wasn’t for passing, confirming his position as the best miler in Europe with a second seasonal Group One triumph.

Only Too Darn Hot has been good enough to beat Circus Maximus over a mile this season and Aidan O’Brien has already announced his colt will not be making an appearance during Longchamp’s Arc Festival. He’s an excellent ante-post bet sitting on 7/1.

King Of Comedy (third left, red) stays on gamely for third in the Juddmonte International Stakes.

3:50pm Qipco Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1) (Class 1) 1m2f

Crystal Ocean remains at the head of the ante-post betting with some firms, despite news breaking of his premature retirement earlier this month. Next we find Japan and Ghaiyyath, who will both run in the Arc at Longchamp at the start of the month. While there have been plenty of horses down the years who have come to Ascot after running in the Arc, I can’t see either Japan or Ghaiyyath making an appearance, unless something goes drastically wrong in Paris.

Magical, however, could head to the Champion Stakes after an outing in the Arc. Aidan O’Brien’s filly has won two Group Ones over this trip this season, outclassing her rivals to win the Irish Champion Stakes on her most recent appearance. Magical is undoubtedly the class act in the field. There are, however, doubts around her participation and there is a chance a run in the Arc could leave its mark. 

The obvious horse to take Magical on with is KING OF COMEDY (8/1 William Hill). John Gosden’s colt remains in the betting for the QEII, but I have a feeling the team have this race in mind for their improving three-year-old and he could make up for that near miss at the Royal Meeting earlier in the summer.

King Of Comedy finished like a train at Ascot, passing Too Darn Hot in the closing stages before coming up just short of Circus Maximus. Gosden’s colt was a little green in the early stages of the Juddmonte International last time out, but warmed to the task nicely on his first start over a mile-and-a-quarter and he was doing his best work in the final quarter mile as he passed the post a two-length third.

The Champion Stakes is a race Gosden likes to target, more so than the QEII. King Of Comedy shaped like there was plenty of improvement to be made over a mile-and-a-quarter at York and he could take all the beating over this trip on Champions Day.

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2019 Champions Day tips – The four best ante-post tips for Ascot’s sensational autumn meeting

Our expert takes a look through the betting for the four Group Ones on Champions Day and provides readers with his ante-post tips for Ascot on Saturday 19th October

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