Harry Allwood has been studying all the form for the grand finale at Ascot and selects his best backs and lays
By Harry Allwood
There is more than one way to try and make QIPCO British Champions Day pay at Ascot on Saturday.
I have three horses to back and a well-fancied trio to oppose. Here goes:
___Race: Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup_
Back: Stradivarius General odds: 6-1
The John Gosden-trained three-year-old finished third behind the Aidan O’Brien-trained Capri in the St Leger at Doncaster last time out. The colt had previously won the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot and beat Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup over two miles.
Six-year-old Big Orange is set to re-oppose having missed his intended engagement in the Prix du Cadran at Chantilly last month. He was no match for Stradivarius at Goodwood but had previously produced a career best to beat three-time Group One Winner Order Of St George, who was fourth in this race last year, in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
Stradivarius will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, who teamed up with Gosden to win this race in 2015 with Flying Officer. There should be more to come from the lightly-raced son of Sea The Stars who is unbeaten at Ascot and the step back up in trip will be in his favour.
Race: Qipco British Champion Sprint Stakes
Lay: Caravaggio General odds: 4-1
Having looked a sprinter out of the top drawer when winning the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in June, the son of Scat Daddy subsequently disappointed in two races at the highest level.
Aidan O’Brien’s three-year-old, who is two from two at Ascot, got back to winning ways at the Curragh last month but was still below his brilliant best.
Caravaggio is set to take on the Harry Angel, who he finished fourth behind in the July Cup at Newmarket.
Harry Angel demolished his opponents in the Sprint Cup on heavy ground at Haydock last month and will prove hard to beat if reproducing that form.
Last year’s winner The Tin Man is also among the final field of 13 and Caravaggio should be opposed.
Race: Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes
Lay: Bateel General odds: 4-1
Bateel completed a hat-trick of wins in the Prix Vermeille at Chantilly last month at the expense of Journey.
The Francis-Henri Graffard-trained five-year-old has shown her best form on soft ground, so connections will be hoping there is more rain before the off.
However, she will find it harder to beat Journey this time as she is entitled to improve for her latest outing.
Journey was an impressive winner of this race 12 months ago and was also second in 2015. Conditions should be ideal for the daughter of Dubawi who has a strong chance of recording back-to-back wins in what looks a wide-open contest.
Race: Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
Lay: ___Beat The Bank_ __ General odds: 4-1
Beat The Bank made it five wins from six starts when winning the Group Two Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket in impressive fashion last month. His only defeat this season came in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and he scoped dirty afterwards.
The progressive three-year-old takes on Ribchester, who got back to winning ways at the highest level in the Prix du Moulin at Chantilly last month. The Richard Fahey-trained four-year-old has won four times at Group One level and has also won twice at Royal Ascot.
Four-time Group One winner Churchill also lines up and the Aidan O’Brien-trained son of Galileo has a strong chance on his best form.
Beat The Bank is clearly progressive but will need to improve again to be competitive. He’s not for me.
Race: Qipco Champion Stakes
Back: Barney Roy General odds: 5-1
The Richard Hannon-trained Barney Roy has some high-class form next to his name in Group One races this season. He finished third behind Ulysses in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York last time out and was narrowly denied by that rival in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown the time before.
Hannon has advised the son of Excelebration will be ridden more patiently on Saturday, which is sure to suit the Godolphin-owned colt, and with no Ulysses in his way this time can get back to winning ways.
John Gosden’s Cracksman, who is a dual Group Two winner this season, has been popular in the ante-post market having bypassed the Arc this month. However, he will be dropping back down to ten furlongs, which is not certain to suit and Barney Roy may have too much speed for him.
Having had only six runs, there should be more improvement in Barney Roy and the three-year-old can gain his second Group One win of the season.
Race: Balmoral Handicap
Back: Lord Glitters General odds: 11-2
The David O’Meara-trained Lord Glitters looked unlucky not to gain his fifth career victory in the totescoop6 Challenge Cup over seven furlongs at Ascot this month off a rating of 102.
The four-year-old, who was having his first start for 145 days, was held up before powering home to finish half a length adrift of the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained Accidental Agent, who he meets again.
Lord Glitters has been raised 4lb since but will race off the same rating on Saturday and there should be more progress left in the son of Whipper, who will be having his second start for O’Meara.
The extra furlong will suit the gelding who is versatile ground-wise and looks sure to go close.
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