British Champions Day News

Champions Day tips: Harry Allwood's three best bets

By Harry Allwood@harry_allwood
Tue 12 Oct 2021

Harry Allwood has been in fine form over the past few weeks and has three fancies for QIPCO British Champions Day on Saturday, live on Racing TV.

Palace Pier is set to be among the stars on show on QIPCO British Champions Day (Pic: Focusonracing)
Palace Pier is set to be among the stars on show on QIPCO British Champions Day (Pic: Focusonracing)

The jumps season may have notched up a gear over the past week, but flat racing fans still have an incredible day of racing action to look forward to on QIPCO British Champions Day this Saturday, live on Racing TV.

With Mishriff, Addeybb, Trueshan, Palace Pier and Baaeed all set to be in action, plus the likes of Stradivarius and Adayar strong possibilities, it is shaping up to be a mouth-watering final day of the flat season at Ascot.

With a relatively dry forecast over the next few days, the ground is likely to be on the “soft side of good” at the Berkshire venue, according to Clerk of the Couse, Chris Stickels.

The final runners will not be confirmed until Thursday, but the three below are all on course to run and look to hold strong claims. Best of luck.


Race: Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (2.00pm).

Best odds: 5-1 (with Coral).

Remarkable! Rohaan somehow managed to finish fifth at the Curragh last time out

I backed Rohaan ante-post for this contest following his hugely eye-catching effort in the Flying Five in September, and I still see no reason why he will not go close here, provided he doesn’t miss the start.

After breaking slowly and losing many lengths in that Group One contest at the Curragh, David Evans’ charge raced adrift of his rivals until the final two furlongs where he began to charge home to finish a never-nearer fifth and was only beaten two lengths.

It was quite remarkable where he finished given how much ground he lost, and the return to a softer surface over a furlong further on Saturday will be in his favour.

The three-year-old has been a revelation for connections this season - he was rated 55 in December last year – and has rapidly progressed through the ranks this summer, with his victories including the Sandy Lane, and the Wokingham over this course and distance.

He wasn’t seen to best effect on his first two attempts at Group One level following his Royal Ascot success, and is a sprinter that needs holding up and delivering late as he doesn’t tend to do an awful lot once he hits the front.

I have no doubt he has the ability win a race of this nature, though, and his latest effort confirmed he is capable of being competitive at this level. He is also two from two at Ascot, so is worth siding with at 5-1 with lots in his favour.

Palace Pier

Race: Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (3.10pm).

Best odds: 7-4 (with William Hill).

Things did not go to plan for Palace Pier in last year's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

This contest could be the race of the day on Saturday, with the unbeaten Baaeed set to take on star miler Palace Pier in the mile showpiece.

However, preference is for John and Thady Gosden’s colt who was last seen scrambling home to defeat Poetic Flare in the Jacques le Marois in August, his third Group One victory of the season.

He might not have been at his best there, but Gosden Sr was adamant his four-year-old was only “80 per cent” fit due to a troubled preparation and, thankfully, connections have said everything has gone to plan for Palace Pier ahead of Saturday.

He has the best form in the race, and the only time he has been beaten in ten starts was when he finished third in this contest 12 months ago where he lost a shoe and did not appear to handle the tacky ground.

It was also interesting to hear Frankie Dettori say the son of Kingman is the best miler he has ridden following his impressive victory in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, and ground conditions will be ideal for his mount this weekend.

The selection is the best miler in Europe and although Baaeed - who proved he is a Group One performer when making it five from from five in the Prix du Moulin last time out - is hugely exciting, he still needs to raise his game to defeat Palace Pier who I expect will prove hard to beat.


Race: Balmoral Handicap (4.30pm)

Best odds: General 10-1.

Watch how Nugget scored on his return at Haydock in September

Nugget may have only won by a neck last time out, but it is worth marking that effort up as he had been absent since May, and still managed to show a good attitude to defeat some useful handicappers in a 0-105 contest at Haydock.

He travelled like the best horse in that race and connections said afterwards that their improving four-year-old would strip fitter for the outing, so he was value for more than the winning margin suggests.

The form of his efforts in April and May this year have worked out well, and he was a shade unlucky not to win the Thirsk Hunt Cup on his penultimate start where he flew home from an unpromising position.

Richard Hannon’s charge has been raised 3lb for his victory at Haydock, which looks lenient given he is unlikely to have finished improving, and this race has been the aim for him since.

The drying ground will also be in his favour and he looks overpriced at 10-1, especially with Ryan Moore likely to be on board.

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