Qipco British Champions’ Day tips – Best bets on Saturday’s Ascot racecard
Saturday’s ITV Racing coverage comes exclusively from Ascot where British Champions’ Day dominates the racecard at the Berkshire venue and a six-race card features four top-class Group One races. We’ve picked out our best British Champions’ Day tips and best bets through the card.
It is Qipco British Champions’ Day on Saturday at Ascot and the day’s six-race card is dominated by no less than four Group One contests on an unmissable afternoon of TV horse racing where the ITV Racing cameras will have all the action from the Berkshire track.
Ed Chamberlain and the team will be on hand again to offer their usual expert racing tips, insights and post-race analysis on all the Saturday action from Ascot and we’ve picked out our best British Champions’ Day tips and best bets through the six-race card.
QIPCO BRITISH CHAMPIONS’ DAY TIPS – BEST BETS ON SATURDAY’S ASCOT RACECARD
1:20 Ascot – Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2) (British Champions Series) Cl1 (3yo+) 2m
This is likely to be all about STRADIVARIUS who will be well suited by the return to two miles and although the heavy ground isn’t ideal the Sea The Stars entire is likely to prove tough to beat assuming his exertions in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe haven’t left a mark.
John Gosden’s star stayer was just touched off in this race twelve months ago when defending the crown he won in 2018 as part of a ten win streak. He’s also won twice this term after looking in need of the run on his reappearance over an inadequate trip in the rearranged Coronation Cup with successes in the Ascot Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup respectively.
He’s been beaten on both starts back at shorter trips but should relish the return to a more suitable distance and he shaped better than the bare result in heavy ground when beaten seven lengths behind Sottsass at Longchamp latest.
While he had quite a hard race there he could prove too good for this field if none the worse for that run just 13 days later and with a minimum 8lbs in hand on official ratings over his rivals he can bounce back to winning form.
1:55 Ascot – Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) Cl1 (3yo+) 6f
ONE MASTER found only one too good in this race twelve months ago, but William Haggas’ charge can go one better on a rare foray into the sprint division.
The consistent Fastnet Rock mare is well suited by plenty of juice in the ground and is a dual-winner this term, scoring at Goodwood despite the quicker ground in the Oak Tree Stakes and when successfully defending her Prix de la Foret crown when taking that race for the third year in succession.
She had started the campaign at this trip in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes behind Hello Youmzain during Royal Ascot, finishing sixth but possibly needing the run and the ground was possibly just too quick for her in any case to be seen at her best; she then finished just one length fourth behind the progressive Nazeef before her Goodwood win.
While she hasn’t won over six furlongs since her juvenile days she doesn’t lack for speed and this is usually run at a good pace so her stamina for further could come to the fore. Effective in these conditions she has to be of interest back sprinting and she can come out on top.
2:30 Ascot – Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m4f
Dual Group Two winner DAME MALLIOT could cap a memorable record-breaking season for Hollie Doyle by taking this Group One prize and Ed Vaughn’s charge can get back to winning ways for her retiring handler.
The lightly-raced Champs Elysees filly has won four of her seven career starts which includes landing an easy success in the Princess Of Wales’s Tattersalls Stakes back in July and she had a few of these behind her when beaten three lengths next time out in a Group One behind Tarnawa in the Prix Vermeille.
That form looks very strong given the winner went on to land the Prix de L’Opera, while the reopposing fifth landed the Prix de Royallieu on Arc weekend. She was giving the fifth 9lbs in that outing and meets that rival now on 3lbs better terms where one length was between them so she can uphold that form.
Heavy ground is an unknown but with potential still for significant improvement given she is still low mileage she can post a big effort and no surprise to see her back in the winners’ enclosure.
3:05 Ascot – Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1) (Sponsored By Qipco) (British Champions Mile) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m
Palace Pier puts his unbeaten record on the line and John Gosden’s charge showed testing ground to hold no fears when taking the Prix Jacques Le Marois. He hasn’t been seen out since though and the Kingman colt might just lack a little in fitness so the vote goes to French challenger THE REVENANT who looked as good as ever when returning from an absence to land the Group Two Prix Daniel Wildenstein over Arc weekend and the Dubawi gelding can build on that run.
Francois-Henri Graffard’s charge was beaten into second in this contest twelve months ago behind King Of Change; but he had won his six previous starts on a variety of underfoot conditions which included two in heavy ground prior to his reversal here last year.
He returned from days short of a year off the track earlier in the month to strike readily over Ziegfeld and he’ll strip fitter with that effort under his belt so could improve. He’ll need to in order to down the unbeaten Gosden horse who has looked top-drawer and gets 3lbs from the selection; but the French raider might just prove sharper and edges the vote to come out on top.
3:40 Ascot – Qipco Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m2f
Tough-as-teak mare Magical looks set for another big performance but it might be worth chancing last year’s runner-up ADDEYBB to get the better of her this time around despite again giving 3lbs to Aidan O’Brien’s charge.
William Haggas’ charge is 3-4 in 2020 and met with his only defeat of the campaign when beaten by Lord North in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and that one reopposes here although the Haggas runner can gain revenge in more suitable underfoot conditions.
The Pivotal gelding had won two Group Ones in the spring in Australia on good ground, but he’s well served by plenty of give underfoot and is a multiple winner on soft and heavy ground and he’ll relish these conditions.
He was value for more than the official winning margin when taking the Listed Doonside Cup at Ayr last month and the fourth from that race has won a Group Three since; back at this level he can make his presence felt and no surprise to see him deliver a big run here where he holds solid each-way claims.
4:15 Ascot – Balmoral Handicap (Sponsored By Qipco) Cl2 (3yo+) 1m
Charlie Fellowes has his string in good fettle and it might be worth siding with KING OTTAKAR who shaped better than the result when finishing fifth at Doncaster over this trip last month on better ground.
The Motivator gelding is well-served by soft ground and although he hasn’t kicked on from a defeat of Dashing Willoughby last campaign he remains a very useful sort despite perhaps not being up to Pattern company.
That said, he did finish a good third to Sangarius in last season’s Hampton Court Stakes under this rider and there were signs of a revival latest where he was denied a clear run at a crucial stage although he kept on well for fifth on ground possibly quicker than ideal.
A fast-run mile on softer ground might show him in better light and he’s been eased 2lbs in the weights so every chance he can post a big run here with a high draw a potential advantage.