In stark contrast to some dodgy midweek fare, Ascot’s annual Champions Day hits us with quality from top to tail.
The opening Long Distance Cup (1325 BST) and the following Champions Sprint (1400) look booked for favourites Order Of St George and Harry Angel respectively. Both carry the best form into the race and have shown soft ground is no barrier, doubling them up offers a nice 7/2 start to the day.
The French trained Bateel heads the market for the Filly & Mares (1440) after an impressive Chantilly win last time. However her victim that day, Journey, whilst apparently well held, was an impressive winner of this event last year, when Bateel was last. Course preference can tip the balance in favour of Journey.
Trainer John Gosden can land the double in the big Champion Stakes courtesy of market leader Cracksman. The softening of the ground is essential in helping this horse convert his 12f form to this shorter trip. Barney Roy could find this trip too demanding whilst Brametot may be the best horse in the race but had a hard slog in the Arc. In contrast, Cracksman has been targeted at this race and that focus can pay off.
The big mile event, the Queen Elizabeth II is billed as an intergenerational match between leading older miler Ribchester and Guineas winner Churchill. They may deserve to head the market, but with the ground turning soft it is not clear why Here Comes When should be ten times the price of Ribchester having defeated him on soft ground last time. He can be each way value.
The best value bet could come in the closing handicap. Well handicapped market leaders Lord Glitters and Zabeel Prince have obvious chances but may have been overbacked and are very short for a race like this. Instead, Oh This Is Us is interesting back on a soft ground mile as when second in the Lincoln in March. He is also reunited with the brilliant Ryan Moore for the first time since and he can hit the frame or better at rewarding odds.
Order Of St George (1325 Ascot) & Harry Angel (1400 Ascot), 1pt win double, approx 7/2 generally available
Journey (1440 Ascot) & Cracksman (1550 Ascot) 1pt win double, approx 12/1 William Hill
Here Comes When, (1515 Ascot), 0.5pts each way, 22/1 Paddy Power 1/5 top 4
Oh This Is Us, (1630 Ascot), 1pt each way, 18/1 Ladbrokes, William Hill 1/5 top 5.
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