Qipco British Champions Day tips – Fillies & Mares’ Stakes ante-post preview
One of four Group One races to go to post on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot this Saturday we look over the field for the Champions Fillies & Mares’ Stakes and give our British Champions Day tips for the big race.
The third race on the card for Qipco British Champions’ Day at Ascot on Saturday, the Fillies & Mares’ Stakes goes to post at 2.30pm with a field of 12 runners facing the starter. We’ve picked out some of the key contenders for the Group One contest as we continue our British Champions Day tips series and give our best bet to land the valuable prize.
BRITISH CHAMPIONS DAY TIPS – FILLIES & MARES’ STAKES ANTE-POST PREVIEW
ANTONIA DE VEGA
Has threatened to be a very smart performer and arrives here unbeaten in two starts this campaign following wins at Pontefract and Newmarket latest where she beat reopposing Alpinista in the Princess Royal Muhaarar Stakes.
Ralph Beckett’s charge won a Listed prize in soft ground last June and finished a close fourth behind Nancho in the Group One Grosser Preis Von Bayern in November last year before registering her two successes this term and she can give a good account although this is a much tougher test.
MANUELA DE VEGA
Stablemate of Antonia De Vega, the Lope De Vega filly won each of her first two starts this term, scoring both at Haydock which included the Lancashire Oaks in soft ground before being put in her place behind Love in the Yorkshire Oaks.
Ralph Beckett’s charge beat only one home at Longchamp latest in the Prix de Royallieu although may have been stretched by the longer trip in the testing ground and she could bounce back returned to a more suitable yardage although she probably needs more to feature and it might be significant that Harry Bentley prefers to partner Antonia De Vega.
Won twice last term including a French Group Two on the all-weather and returned to action this term with a win in the Princess Of Wales’ Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket, beating Communique.
That form looks solid with the fourth horse home winning twice since in Group Two company and the Champs Elysees filly lost little caste in defeat at Longchamp latest when finishing three lengths’ third behind Tarnawa in the Prix Vermeille.
The first and fifth from that race both won subsequent Group Ones over the course of the recent Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Festival so the form of that last run is very strong and Ed Vaughn’s charge could go close under Hollie Doyle if handling this deeper ground.
Proved very smart last term, winning three times which included a Group Two at Saint Cloud and John Gosden’s charge found only Dierdre too strong in the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood prior to a break.
The Frankel filly however was well beaten in two starts on soft ground in the autumn, including in the Champion Stakes where she finished fifth behind Magical and she offered little encouragement back from another break on her seasonal debut behind Lord North here in the Prince Of Wale’s Stakes.
She might have been amiss however and she has had another absence since so has to prove her well-being on this latest return. The longer trip will suit but the ground conditions will surely be against her and she’s perhaps best watched on this occasion.
Lightly raced sort who won a Listed contest at Newbury in July, beating Lady G; but the Mastercraftsman filly looks up against it having come up short on both subsequent starts at Goodwood including when beaten a long way over further in the March Stakes.
Roger Varian’s charge had won her debut on heavy ground at Yarmouth and she made an encouraging return behind Franconia at Newbury before being readily beaten by Manuela De Vega in the Lancashire Oaks.
On that form she has a fair bit to find with that rival and while she’ll likely appreciate the return to this trip she looks up against it at this level.
Classy Irish raider who has won two of her four starts this term, appearing to appreciate the stiffer test when outpointing Cayenne Pepper in the Irish Oaks and Ger Lyon’s charge could do better than her most recent sixth behind Tarnawa in the Prix Vermeille although on that run she has a little bit to find with Dame Malliot who finished ahead of the Camelot filly.
That defeat did come on quicker ground however and she could do better faced with a much more testing surface given both of her wins have come on soft ground and she remains unexposed at this trip so could progress and shrewd yard is an infrequent visitor to these shores unless runners are expected to go well so has to be respected.
Looked a classy prospect when scoring at Newcastle on her return prior to blitzing rivals at Royal Ascot to take the Ribblesdale Stakes although she’s been readily seen off by Love in each of her last two starts, latterly beating only one home in the Yorkshire Oaks.
Both those defeats have come on good ground, but she might be better suited by this slower surface and the Frankel filly isn’t one to give up on just yet given she’s still lightly raced after five runs although she does need to find some improvement and Frankie Dettori prefers Mehdaayih which could prove a pointer to her chances.
Very useful filly who has won twice this term, the latest of which came at York when beating Vivionn in the Listed Galtres Stakes before only finishing fifth behind Cayenne Pepper in the Blandford Stakes.
The shorter trip that day might have been against the Golden Horn filly who should appreciate the stiffer test here but she has a bit to do on form and she’s been beaten by Franconia this term who reopposes.
Finished runner-up on her debut in heavy ground last term but could struggle at this top level to get competitive and others look stronger.
Won two of her six starts this term, latterly beating Ennistymon in Listed company at Gowran Park having previously been twice vanquished by Even So in starts at Naas and the Curragh.
Aidan O’Brien’s charge has finished fourth in each of her last two outings, latterly beaten three lengths behind Tarnawa in the Prix Vermeille but the Galileo filly is held by Dame Malliot on that run.
Softer ground could help her get closer but her best runs to date have both been over ten furlongs and she perhaps doesn’t quite get home over this trip so looks worth opposing.
Has been fairly beaten in her last two outings in the wake of a Naas win in soft ground in August when the Galileo filly won the Stanerra Stakes and she could prove vulnerable back at this shorter trip.
Fifth in the Irish St Leger she latterly filled the same position behind Wonderful Tonight when faced with testing ground in the Prix de Royallieu so these conditions shouldn’t pose an issue.
However she’s been beaten by Frankly Darling and Even So in starts this term as well as by Tarnawa so she’ll certainly need more to feature here.
Progressive sort this term winning twice which included a defeat of Albigna in the Group Three Snow Fairy Stakes but was readily put in her place by Cayenne Pepper when last seen contesting the Blandford Stakes where she eventually finished third.
Joseph O’Brien’s Night Of Thunder filly has won twice in testing ground so will be suited by a return to this softer surface but she hasn’t looked in her races to be crying out for this longer trip and she’s not sure to be improved by the greater emphasis on stamina.
Proven very progressive in France, winning a Group Three at Deauville in August before crossing the line in fifth place behind Tarnawa in the Prix Vermeille.
David Menuisier’s latterly got back on the winning trail when landing the Prix de Royallieu at Longchamp during Arc weekend and with conditions ideal she looks set for another big run with the return to this shorter trip no issue although she has a shade more to do at the weights against Dame Malliot from their Prix Vermeille run.
On that occasion Ed Vaughn’s charge finished one length ahead where she was giving 8lbs and she’s 2lbs better off now so ought to confirm the form although there’s certainly more to come from the daughter of Le Havre who should go well.
QIPCO BRITISH CHAMPIONS DAY TIPS – CHAMPIONS FILLIES & MARES STAKES VERDICT
Wonderful Tonight can post a big run while Antonia De Vega ought to go well in search of a hat-trick if handling the deeper ground.
But preference is for DAME MALLIOT to give Hollie Doyle a first Group One success in a record-breaking season and Ed Vaughn’s charge can get back to winning ways having found only a couple too good at Longchamp in September when finishing third in the Prix Vermeille.
The Champs Elysees filly had a couple of these behind her that day where she was beaten three lengths by Tarnawa and that rival and the fifth – Wonderful Tonight – have both franked that form with subsequent Group One wins. She’s now 2lbs better off with Wonderful Tonight and ought to confirm the form on that basis.
Previously a Group Two winner at Newmarket, she has to show she can handle this deeper ground but there’s hope that the conditions won’t hold her back given her last two starts came in ground with cut and she might not have been altogether suited by making the running.
Jockey Hollie Doyle is 2-2 on Ed Vaughn’s charge and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see the pair going close here.