We’re in for a treat this weekend, as Ascot hosts the British Champions Day card on Saturday 15th October. Plenty of stars are set to be on show, including Trueshan, Creative Force and Inspiral. The biggest race on the card is undoubtedly the Champions Stakes though, where the monstrous Baaeed will aim to bow out with a perfect 11/11 record.
Below, we talk you through our selections for all six Champions Day races on Saturday afternoon, including our tip for the four Group 1 races. Check those out below, alongside today’s best bets – which are free to view on-site now.
Odds Correct at time of posting – 1:50pm Friday 14th October
Trueshan (Long Distance Cup) Group 2, 1.25 Ascot – 15/8
TRUESHAN has won the last two renewals and although he’s been beaten in his last couple of races, the return to Ascot can see him resume winning ways and land a third successive Long Distance Cup.
Alan King’s star stayer has only managed three races this year, after struggling to get his preferred softer ground, but he’s still put in three solid performances. His Northumberland Plate victory was a monstrous performance off top weight, and he followed that up with a solid third in the Goodwood Cup on ground firmer than ideal. The only two horses to beat him that day were Kyrpios and Stradivarius, and he still finished well clear of Coltrane.
His most recent run was stepping up in trip in the Doncaster Cup, where he failed to justify odds-on favouritism and went down to Coltrane who had the inside rail to help him home.
Back to Ascot where he’s 2-2 and with a bit of give underfoot should be enough to see Trueshan reverse that form with Coltrane and he can give favourite backers a winning start on Champions Day.
Naval Crown (Sprint Stakes) Group 1, 2.00 Ascot – 11/1
Last year’s winner Creative Force will be a popular pick for punters, but it’s his stablemate NAVAL CROWN who we’re siding with. He just edged out Creative Force in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes here in the summer and we’re backing him to do so again on Saturday.
Since that race, he finished second in the July Cup (again finishing ahead of Creative Force), before finishing fifth in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville in August. He’s had one run since, when disappointing in the Sprint Cup at Haydock last month, but we’re willing to forgive him that run, and he’s a huge price considering he’s already beaten the market leader twice this season.
Course specialist Rohaan and stablemate Creative Force will be his main challengers, but at the odds we’re happy to forgive Naval Crown’s poor last run and hope he can put in a big performance here to land the honours at a big price.
Emily Upjohn (Fillies & Mares Stakes) Group 1, 2.40 Ascot – 4/1
This race is all about EMILY UPJOHN. If she’s back to her best, she should take the world of beating. However, she disappointed in her last race and needs to bounce back to the form which saw her just miss out on being a classic winner in the Oaks.
She was far too keen in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes over C&D in July, and John Gosden applied a hood to hopefully help her settle. The top trainer has said she’s been training in the hood at home and it seems to be working well, so we’re confident we should see her back to her dazzling best here.
She does have a wide draw to contend with, but she does have the 3YO 3lb allowance to help and we think she’s got the quality to overcome the draw and can land a deserved first Group 1 victory.
Modern Games (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes) Group 1, 3.20 Ascot – 4/1
Frankel filly Inspiral is a deserved favourite here after winning six of her seven races (including three Group 1’s), however there are a couple of things that go against her here. Only one of her wins has come against the boys, and that wasn’t the most impressive performance. Also, the fact there’s only been two winning fillies of the race in the last 30 years. Instead, we prefer the chances of MODERN GAMES.
The Dubawi colt has an impressive 1121 record over this trip, with the only defeat coming at the hands of Baaeed in the Sussex Stakes – safe to say we can forgive him for that! He bolted up in his last run to win the Woodbine Mile by five lengths, and a repeat of that performance could be enough to win this.
Inspiral will be the biggest danger, and 2020 winner The Revenant can make his presence felt again this year. However, there hasn’t been a winner over 5 years old in the last 50 years, so we’re happy to take him on with Modern Games.
Baaeed (Champion Stakes) Group 1, 4.00 Ascot – 1/4
We’re not going to gain many followers with this tip, but we simply can’t back anything else in the race. BAAEED has given racing fans a new superstar to follow, and he can remain unbeaten with victory here.
We did contemplate putting something up E/W to chase Baaeed home, but we don’t want to cheer another horse on – we just want to watch and admire William Haggas’ star romp to another win!
He’s been a revelation for the sport and although we’re not a fan of the comparisons with Frankel, he is undoubtedly the biggest star the sport has seen since him. He’s never looked in doubt of losing any of his races, including all four this year and there is no major danger in here for him to worry about.
Baaeed is a monster of a horse, and deserves to go out unbeaten with a perfect 11/11 record. We’d happily just sit back and watch another gallant display from the superstar, but for the sake of those looking for our tip in the race, there’s no way we could tip another horse against him and this will be Baaeed’s for the taking.
Sweet Believer (Balmoral Handicap) Class 2, 4.40 Ascot – 10/1
By far the most open race on the card, the Balmoral Handicap has only seen one winning favourite in the eight years it’s been run, so it may pay to look further down the betting, and the one who has caught our eye is SWEET BELIEVER.
William Haggas’ filly had an impressive campaign as a 3YO last year, which included a placed effort in Listed company and followed by an admirable performance in Group company. She returned this year with an impressive runner-up performance in the Listed Fortune Stakes at Sandown last month, where she only found Bayside Boy too good. That runner is entered in the G1 QEII Stakes on this card, so to finish less than two lengths off that runner on her reappearance run was one hell of a performance.
She finished comfortably clear of Escobar in that race, and is now 11lb better off with that rival here (partly thanks to Adam Farragher’s 5lb claim), so should easily confirm her superiority over that rival. She should come on for that run, and she finishing in the places looks the minimum we can expect from her.