It is fantastic that we have Qipco British Champions Day on the channel on Saturday and it is difficult not to see trainer John Gosden having an excellent afternoon.
I fancy the short-priced treble might collect with Gosden’s Stradivarius and Palace Pier – plus Dream of Dreams for Sir Michael Stoute - and all looking very strong in the Group One races.
Catterick might be overlooked by some, but not by me. I’ve three selections at the Yorkshire venue, starting with:
3.10 Catterick: Zapper Cass
Might be a little better on the all-weather but ran very well last time we saw him on turf a month ago and his stable have returned to form after a brief quiet spell.
He has shown good form on very soft ground in the past and I am hoping that his wide draw might turn out to be an advantage given the conditions.
He should get the lead and hopefully will get to the stands’ rail and make it difficult for the field to get past. Ali Rawlinson has won twice on him previously.
4.15 Ascot: King Ottokar
This horse has been highly tried in his career, including at Group One level. He didn’t cut it but was rarely disgraced and I feel the handicapper could easily have rated him higher on the balance of his form.
There are several reasons for him to be fancied for this big-field handicap and I am certainly not the only one who has decided that is the case as he has been well backed this week.
His run last time on handicap debut was hard to miss and he would definitely have been closer but for meeting trouble.
He has been generously dropped a couple of pounds for that effort but travelled as though he can certainly handle the pace of these high-grade handicaps and might well improve for a strong run mile.
The trip looks like it will suit him, even though he was thought to be a Derby horse at one stage. It doesn’t look like the gelding operation has had any negative effct on him and James Doyle is a strong booking.
4.20 Catterick: Gamesters Icon
Hit form in no uncertain terms this time last season, when winning four on the spin. Quite rightly, the handicapper took that into account and she has found life tougher so far this term.
However, last time, when back down to only a 1lb higher than for her latest win and upped to 12f for the first time, she signalled that it might be a similar pattern this autumn with a good second at big odds.
She is usually ridden by an apprentice and Tyler Heard is a decent 7lbs claimer, even if he was well beaten the last time he rode the mare. He heps offset the 1lb rise for that latest effort.
4.50 Catterick: Ey Up Its Mick
Has won over 7f in the past, so will have no problem with the trip here even though he has spent this season sprinting.
His style of running certainly makes you think he is going to excel over further, as even when he doesn’t win he is invariably staying on and I have no doubt that will be case here.
There is an abundance of pace in this and hopefully Ey Up Its Mick doesn’t meet too many rivals coming back into his path when he begins his run.
The ground cannot be soft enough for him, so no worries there and he has been narrowly beaten off this mark thre times recently so that is not insurmountable. Hopefully, the step back up and Paul Mulrennan taking the ride for the first time will work the oracle.
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