British Champions Day: Preview

By Samantha

British Champions Day at Ascot. The climax of the Flat Season. Where all the big guns come to fight, to be named Champions. Six races filled to the brim with the best of the best. Here’s my take on the races…

Qipco Long Distance Cup (Group Two)

There’s no warm up race as the big guns all come out in the first race. It contains the St Leger third – Stradivarius – who will definitely stay the trip as he has won over one furlong more. This season he has won the Goodwood Cup and the Queens Vase. The horse who came third in that race, Secret Advisor, won the Melrose at York. Order Of St George goes for Aidan O’Brien and has a good chance after winning Mount Moriah and Dartmouth in the Irish St Leger. At Royal Ascot, the loveable bay Big Orange beat him into second in the Ascot Gold Cup by a short head so he’ll have to try and turn the tables on him. Also lining up is Montaly who won the Longsdale Cup and Chester Cup of which the form has been boosted by the second horse winning two races since and the forth horse won the Cesarewitch Trial. He is by Yeats and will stay so I give him an outsiders chance to pick up the pieces if the main contenders blow each other out.

SUMMARY-

1st Stradivarius

2nd Big Orange

3rd Order Of St George

Qipco Champion Sprint Stakes (Group one)

Blink and you’ll miss it. This race is going to be a fast and furius. All of these sprinters are of the highest class. There is a wide range of ages in this race from the young stars like Caravaggio and Clive Cox’s stable star Harry Angel to older horses who have been there and done it like Brando and The Tin Man. Out of the two three year olds I have mentioned, the preference goes to Harry Angel even though they are one a piece when racing each other. Caravaggio beat Harry Angel in the Commonwealth Cup but then less than a month later, Harry Angel scorched the turf at Newmarket winning the July Cup by one and a quarter lengths leaving Caravaggio in forth. The July Cup was two seconds faster than the Commonwealth Cup. Brando was third in that race and also he won the Maurice De Gheest (Group One) ahead of the subsequent Group One winner Aclaim giving the form a boost. The Tin Man also beat Aclaim at Royal Ascot. Harry Angel beat him on his past two starts but he has the advantage of being last year’s winner.

SUMMARY-

1st Harry Angel

2nd Caravaggio

3rd Brando

Qipco Champion Fillies And Mares (Group One)

Aidan O’Brien has a good chance to make it 25 Group Ones this season and equal Bobby Frankel’s record with two of his best three year old fillies (not Winter though which is unfortunate) Rhododendron and Hydrangea. The two fillies have raced in mostly the same races this season with Rhododendron winning three races Hydrangea was in and Hydrangea winning one. Rhododendron won last time out at Chantilly with Hydrangea in second but on their previous start, Hydrangea won and Rhododendron was seventh. That filly was second over twelve furlongs and Hydrangea seems to have the pedigree of a shorter distance type.

Coronet seems to have a good chance. She seems to  always be in the shadows of Enable but she’s actually a good horse. She won the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot and was 5th in the St Leger on her most recent start over fourteen furlongs so she should stay. She is her dam’s only progeny to win over 11f. Approach- her dam- won over distances of 7f-10f in her career. Also her dam sire won the French derby.

SUMMARY-

1st Coronet

2nd Rhododendron

3rd Hydrangea

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group One)

Last year this race was won by Minding. None seem to be as good as her but this will be a cracking race. Churchill won the English and Irish 2000 Guineas but hasn’t been in his best form since then. he was seventh last time out and could run in the Champion Stakes but this is his best trip. His stable mate Roly Poly has a great chance in this race. She won the Group One Sun Chariot stakes beating Persuasive and Nathra. Her previous start was a bit under par with her previous two runs when she won two group ones. Of the English contenders, Beat The bank seems to be the best. Only beaten in one of his six runs, he completed a treble last time out in a Group Two when beating Sir John Lavery by five lengths. He is versatile and can win on most grounds. There is a small chance that he might be a little bit tired from a busy season but that is very unlikely. Ribchester and Lightning Spear could possibly fill the places behind Beat The Bank and Roly Poly. Lightning Spear won the Celebration Mile but was unplaced behind Ribchester at Chantilly last time out.

SUMMARY-

1st Beat The Bank

2nd Roly Poly

3rd Ribchester

Qipco Champion Stakes (Group One)

There are three main contenders in the shape of Cracksman, Ulysses and Barney Roy. Cracksman’s sire Frankel won the Champion Stakes and there is a possibility he could follow in his father’s footsteps. John Gosden’s charge’s main target for the season was the Derby but he had no luck. He won two Group Twos this season- The Great Voltiger and one in France. He has never won over 9F but it shouldn’t be to short for him because he won over eight on his first start. Ulysses was third in the Arc and won the Juddmonte International beating Barney Roy, Churchill and decorated Knight who won the Irish Champion Stakes. Barney Roy has been beaten twice by Ulysses and his trainer Richard Hannon has said that they are definitely not going to play into Michael Stoute’s star performer’s hand. Hannon’s three year old won the St James’ Palace at Royal Ascot ahead of Thunder Snow, Churchill and Lancaster Bomber.

SUMMARY-

1st Ulysses

2nd Barney Roy

3rd Cracksman

Balmoral Handicap

It’s a tough task to pick a winner in any big handicap but specifically here. Zabeel Prince has won three of his four starts and beat consistent Bravery on his most recent. Dark Red pulled off a good performance at York at the weekend in good fashion but has a tendency to run around a bit in front which could loose him the race like it has before. Bravery has been running well this season so could be there for the minor places.

SUMMARY-

1st Zabeel Prince

2nd Dark Red

3rd Bravery

ENJOY THE RACING EVERYONE!!!

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