The Paul Mulrennan column: Lion can roar again at Ascot

By Paul Mulrennan
Fri 19 Oct 2018

Racing UK ambassador Paul Mulrennan outlines his fancies for Qipco British Champions Day, points punters in the directions of a sprinter running at Catterick and talks about being a guest on Luck On Sunday.

QIPCO British Champions Day is a day to savour and I can’t believe Saturday will be the eighth edition. It has quickly bedded in and it’s strange to think British racing didn’t have such a big finale previously.

With £4.47 million in prize-money it’s the richest day’s racing in Britain and it’s no surprise to see some of the best horses of the season line up. I read that 19 individual Group 1 winners will turn up.

The biggest star on display has to be Roaring Lion, who runs in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. It’s difficult to believe that he was beaten nine and a half lengths, albeit to Masar, on his first run of the season back in April.

Roaring Lion will be hard to beat at Ascot
Roaring Lion will be hard to beat at Ascot

John Gosden has ironed out his kinks and Roaring Lion has done nothing but improve all season. To win the Coral-Eclipse, Juddmonte International and QIPCO Irish Champions Stakes is one hell of an achievement. I cannot see the drop back to a mile being an issue and he’s hard to oppose.

A win for him would also cap an incredible season for Oisin Murphy, who has nearly ridden 200 winners this year, which is a fantastic achievement.

It would be wonderful to see Laurens win and everyone should know by now, you underestimate her at your peril. She’s won four Group 1 races this season but now faces the opposite sex for the first time. However, she gets the fillies’ allowance and we know how difficult she is to get past.

It would be a fairytale win for PJ McDonald, who I have seen a lot of at Jack Berry House, where he has been recovering from a fractured ankle and heel, following a fall in early September.

He’s made a remarkable recovery. I think the race is between Laurens and Roaring Lion, with John Gosden’s star to edge it.

It could be a wonderful day for John, as I can’t see past Cracksman in the QIPCO Champion Stakes and Stradivarius looks rock solid in the Long Distance Cup.

I quite fancy Sir Dancealot to run a big race at a big price in the Sprint. I thought he ran a decent race when fifth on Arc day. He hit a bit of a flat spot and then ran on again and I don’t think he liked the ground in France that day.

Gold can shine at Catterick:

Over at Catterick, take note of Dakota Gold in the William Hill Catterick Dash Handicap. Different tactics were employed last time at Haydock, where he was allowed to bowl along and make use of his speed and won comfortably. The sharp five furlongs at Catterick will be right up his street.

A taste of TV action:

Finally, I made my debut on Luck On Sunday on Racing UK last weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was good to get into some in-depth discussions with Nick Luck, James Willoughby and Gerald Mosse and the programme certainly delves a lot deeper than any other racing show I’ve seen. I’d recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

This is my last column of the season so good luck over the winter and hopefully my next column will see me talk about horses I’m actually riding, rather than watching on injured from the sidelines!

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