13:35 Qipco British Champions Sprint
17 runners go to post for this opener over six furlongs and the ground is heavy. That will be good for Donjuan Triumphant, who prefers softer ground. He’s been second twice in his six starts this term and the most recent was behind Cape Byron over course and distance. Cape Byron won two class two handicaps at the beginning of the season but was out of his depth in the July Cup. He ran well on his penultimate start and then won a group three here earlier in the month, with Keystroke in third. I don’t think Cape Byron is up to group one class. Keystroke surprised a lot of people when landing the Abernant at 66/1, beating Brando. He’s under performed since and there is questions about the ground.
Advertise came second in the July Cup and was ahead of So Perfect, Brando, Dream Of Dreams and Cape Byron. Since then, he won a group one in Deauville by a neck to Brando. On form, he’s a likely winner but the ground is an issue. So Perfect is the sole representative of the Aidan O’Brien camp. Since the July Cup, she’s been eighth to Advertise, third to Battaash, ninth to Hello Youmzain and second to Fairyland, all in group ones. Her best run could arguably have been last time out in the Abbaye. She finished second and ahead of Mabs Cross. That was on ‘very soft’ ground so she’s an interesting runner. Brando is a grand seven year old and was last seen coming fourth to Hello Youmzain at Haydock in September. He’s ran in this for the past three years coming 3rd (2016), 6th (2017) and 4th (2018). Dream Of Dreams won twice at the start of the year and then got incredibly close to Blue Point at Royal Ascot. Since then, it has all gone a bit down hill.
Other than So Perfect, the Irish have three representatives. Make A Challenge has the best form figures in the race. He’s six from eight since May 30th and the four year old won very well in a listed and deserves to try his hand in this. Will love the ground. Joseph O’Brien has Speak In Colours. He’s won twice this year and won a group three on his penultimate start. Last time, he came third in the Prix Foret behind the winner One Master on this type of ground. The latter was getting 3lbs from him but she’s a better horse at this level. Before that victory, she’s been fifth to Advertise in a French group one. She’s partnered by Pierre-Charles Boudot, who made Arc weekend his own, and will like conditions. The last Irish filly is Forever In Dreams for Andy Fogarty. She’s lightly raced and has just won just once in a fillies listed at Haydock. She was second in the Commonwealth Cup and then behind Hello Youmzain and One Master. The last made to mention is Mabs Cross. She’s an unbelievably talented filly and shouldn’t really be 33/1 but hasn’t had a very good year.
Old boys Librisa Breeze and The Tin Man have both won this before. The Tin Man has ran four times this season and was second to Hello Youmzain in the Haydock Sprint Cup , when Brando, Dream Of Dreams, So Perfect, Forever In Dreams and Khaadem. Before that, Hello Youmzain had won the Sandy Lane and come third in the Commonwealth Cup behind Advertise and Forever In Dreams. He’s a really smart horse and a sprinter on the up. Khaadem is also a three year old. He won a listed at the start of the year and then won the Stewards Cup by just under three lengths. He was last in the Sprint Cup and needs to improve. Librisa Breeze has only won once this year and finished so quickly in the group two Hungerford. That was on soft and should run extremely well.
Sands Of Mali won this last year, beating Donjuan Triumphan, Brando, The Tin Man, Labrisa Breeze, Speak In Colours and Dream Of Dreams. That capped a good season after winning the Sandy Lane at the start of the year and running creditably in between. He’sran poorly in three starts in 2019 and sadly probably isn’t up to this.
I am with LIBRISA BREEZE for this race. He’s a good performed on soft and should be primed for this after a really encouraging run last time out. Make A Challenge, So Perfect and Hello Youmzain will all run well as well.
14:10 Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup
STRADIVARIUS won this last year and I’d be surprised if he got beat by any of these. He won the Million Bonus for the second year running and he’s the most dominant horse racing at the mimute.
Kew Gardens and Capri won their respective St Legers but neither have won since. Kew Gardens has been second on his last three. Jason Watson is riding out of his skin of late and rides Withhold, who stays well and won a listed last time. He could be one of Stradivarius‘ biggest threats. Royal Line and Mekong are stepping up in trip so are unknows. Bin Battuta is also stepping up and Hector Crouch has a big ride. Cleonte beat Max Dynamite all the way back at Royal Ascot in the final race. That was over a lot further.
14:45 Qipco British Champions Fillies And Mares
John Gosden has three – Star Catcher, Sparkle Roll and Anapurna. The latter won the Oaks, beating Pink Dogwood, Fleeting, Delphinia and Tarnawa. She was then seventh to Star Catcher and Fleeting at Parislongchamp. She won the one mile six race on Arc Day easily, beating Delphinia and South Sea Pearl. In my opinion, she was left looking a bit slow against her stablmate- STAR CATCHER. That was the last leg of a treble made up of the Ribblesdale and Irish Oaks. She sets the standard. Sparkle Roll was seventh to Nausha at York, third to Star Catcher and then third in the Aphrodite so has a bit to find.
Tarnawa broke her maiden at Leopardstown in April. She was eleventh in the Oaks and had a break before hosingul in a group three then won the Blandford Stakes at the Curragh. She’s a filly who has improved consistently through the year and comes from a master in Dermot Weld. Antonia De Vega has only one blemish on her runs and that was when she was eighth in the Fillies Mile. She’s ran once this year and won a Fillies Listed. She has lots of untapped potential.
15:20 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Magna Grecia won the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and then ran in the Irish Equivalent and came fifth. King Of Change was 66/1 for the classic and finished very quickly to grab second. Since then, he won a listed in September and he’s still got lots more to come. The Irish 2000 was won by Phoenix Of Spain. Despite wining the Acomb at two, he hasn’t won since.
King Of Comedy, Happy Power and Mohaather are the other three year olds. Frankie Dettori rides the former, who won twice at the beginning of the year and was beaten by Benbatl last time. Saheed Bin Suroor’s Dubawi won the Dubai Turf (group one) in 2018 and we have only seen him once this year in the Joel Stakes. Mohaather has ran just four times and won two group threes in his last two starts. The most recent of which was in April.
Lord Glitters won the Queen Anne and Accidental Agent refused to race, which was uncharacteristic. Lord Glitters deserved that win and he has been beaten by good three year olds since. Accidental Agent had won that race the previous year and, after the non-start at Ascot, he hasn’t showed much goods form. He did nearly beat youngster Kick On on his penultimate run. Raising Sand, an Ascot specialist, gives Nicola Currie an exciting opportunity. This is the toughest race he’s tackled but we’ll done to connections for giving it a go. He’s won on similar going.
THE REVENANT is my selection because he’s eight from ten and won really well at the Arc meeting in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein. He will handle the soft ground and is ridden by a top jockey.
16:00 Qipco British Champions Stakes
When the ground came up heavy, there was a vibe of “Lump on Addeybb”. A well-known mud-lover, he’s won at Haydock on heavy and also over course and distance this season at the royal meeting. He’s a classy performer. So is Coronet. She’s won two group ones this season over in France and races on home soil for the first time since early May. The fillies make up the majority of the field and a filly, who would have had lots more days in the sun if it wasn’t for Enable, is MAGICAL. This will be the ninth run of her campaign. She’s won four, been second in three and was fifth last time out in the Arc. She’s my idea of the winner. Her stablemate I Can Fly also runs. Mehdaayih comes from the Gosden yard and Rab Havlin rides the filly who gave him Cheshire Oaks success at the beginning of the year. She was second to Deidre at Goodwood on her penultimate start. Deidre has spent the summer in the UK but she’s Japanese bred/trained/owned. She had a horrible passage in the Irish equivalent but ended up fourth. She’ll rival Magical in this. Regal Reality has ground worries and Fox Tal and Pondus are out of their depth.
16:40 Balmoral Handicap
LORD NORTH won the Cambridgshire so has an incredible chance. He has top weight though but is the proverbial group horse in a handicap, like Kick On. Coolagh Forest won last week at York and has a good chance. Dark Vision may run ok too.