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Qipco British Champions Day: Five outsiders who will relish the soft ground

By Harry Allwood@H_Allwood1
Sat 17 Oct 2020

Harry Allwood selects five horses chalked up at double-figure odds who he believes are capable of going close at Ascot on Saturday.

It can often pay to take on those at the front of the market on Qipco British Champions Day, with the runners facing testing condtions at the end of a long season.

The ground on Saturday is described as soft, heavy in places, and those that have had a number of hard races already this season can sometimes struggle to show their best form in the conditions.

With that in mind, a closer look at contenders who are chalked up at larger odds is always a wise move and the five below are all each-way fancies that are capable of going close at double-figure odds.

1.20 Ascot: Morando at a general 16-1

Connections will be delighted to see that conditions are set to be testing at Ascot on Saturday as Morando has shown his best form with plenty of give underfoot.

It was hard not to be impressed with his victory in the Ormonde Stakes last year where he defeated subsequent Long Distance Cup winner Kew Gardens by eight lengths, and his victory in the Cumberland Lodge 12 months ago at Ascot was also impressive.

Both of those career-best efforts were achieved on soft ground and a repeat of either victory ought to see him be competitive.

The seven-year-old has always been held in high regard, although he hasn’t had many opportunities to show his true potential given he has regularly encountered quicker conditions.

The step up to two miles is a slight question mark, but he has looked a strong stayer and I don’t think he will have an issue staying the extra trip plus we know he handles the track well.

Connections caused an upset when Donjuan Triumphant landed the Champions Sprint at 33-1 last year, so let’s hope Morando can pull off a similar feat for them on Saturday.

1.55 Ascot: Cape Byron at a general 14-1

We have not seen Cape Byron in action since his disappointing run in this contest 12 months ago, after which Roger Varian said his charge did not handle the heavy going.

However, he has won on soft in the past and conditions are unlikely to be as testing on Saturday compared to last year when he was sent off a 9-1 chance.

He clearly relishes Ascot, having scored four times at the Berkshire venue, including two victories over course and distance.

His win in the Bengough Stakes on soft ground last year – where he defeated Donjuan Triumphant who landed the Champions Sprint on his next start – was a smart performance and one that signalled he would be capable of being competitive at the highest level.

It is surely significant that connections have decided to target a race of this calibre on his return and he has scored twice following lengthy absences in the past, so is worth chancing at the prices.

3.05 Ascot: Nazeef at a general 12-1

Nazeeef was a game winner of the Sun Chariot last time out

The front two in the market – Palace Pier and The Revenant – are likely to prove tough nuts to crack in this contest with both of them proven in the conditions, and the former looked a bit special when extending his unbeaten record at Deauville last time out.

One that looks overpriced, though, is Nazeef, who has been hard to fault this season, with just one blip at Deauville in August.

John Gosden’s filly bounced back with a gutsy performance in the Sun Chariot last time out and has place claims if she does not find this run coming too soon.

She is a course and distance winner, has won on soft twice and is a dual Group One scorer. She is also unbeaten in six starts over a mile, so may give her better-fancied stablemate plenty to think about.

3.40 Ascot: Addeybb at 10-1 with Coral and Bet Victor

Watch how Addeybb fared in the Qipco Champion Stakes last year

Addeybb chased home Magical in this contest 12 months ago and although he faces Aidan O’Brien’s contender again this year, he does not have much to find with the star mare judged by that performance.

I think he has probably improved since that run too, as he landed back-to-back Group One contests overseas at the start of this season and shaped well behind Lord North at Royal Ascot on ground he wouldn’t have been seen to best effect on.

Victory in a Listed contest following a 94-day break last time out should have him primed for Saturday and this is sure to have been the plan for some time, so another big run can be expected with ground conditions back in his favour.

4.15 Ascot: Njord at 11-1 with Bet365

Njord has some strong handicap form next to his name

The consistent Njord has done nothing but improve this season and with conditions in his favour, looks sure to go close once again in this competitive handicap.

Jessica Harrington’s four-year-old caught the eye on his penultimate start where he met traffic problems in the Irish Cambridgeshire but still managed to finish fifth, and it is probably best to forgive his run last time out where he was not seen to best effect in quicker conditions.

His best form has come with juice in the ground and his handicap form looks strong given he finished a narrow second behind Current Option – who has since won a Group Three - at the Galway Festival.

He has crept up the weights this season due to his consistency, but Tom Marquand is a positive jockey booking and the combination ought to get a strong pace to aim at.

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