Champions Day at Ascot is always a meeting worth looking forward to with many of the top Flat horses in Europe competing for the four Group 1 races on offer. With decent ground expected at the Berkshire track, there should be no excuses for any of the participants on this occasion.
We will provide Horse Racing tips, previews and predictions for three of the races on the card, the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at 2.00pm, the Qipco Champion Stakes at 3.50pm along with the final race of the day, the Balmoral Handicap at 4.30pm.
Our Tip for the 2.00pm at Ascot:
The northern sprinter Art Power is fancied to finally win his first Group 1 contest, at a course where the son of Dark Angel has an excellent record, starting with a runway victory in a 5f handicap at the royal meeting last year.
The Tim Easterby-trained four-year-old’s next visit to the course was in this race 12 months ago when finishing a one length third behind fellow rival Glen Shiel. Third in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at this year’s Royal Ascot, the mount of Silvestre de Sousa went to run fine races in Newmarket’s July Cup and Haydock’s Sprint Cup before a well-deserved first victory of the season in a Group 3 at the Curragh.
That five length demolition job will have done the confidence of this talented sprinter the world of good and from what may prove a decent draw in stall 20, Art Power can cap a memorable season for the Easterby stable. At a massive price and with some bookmakers expected to go four or five places, it would be no surprise to see another northern contender, Highfield Princess, make the frame.
Our Tip for the 3.50pm at Ascot:
A tremendous renewal of this Group 1 mile and a quarter contest headed by Cazoo Derby winner Adayar and this season’s runaway Juddmonte International scorer Mishriff.
Of the two, preference is for the John & Thady Gosden-trained son of Make Believe who, having not raced since that victory on the Knavesmire, will be the fresher of the pair. The Godolphin runner also had a hard race in the Arc and may not appreciate this drop back in trip.
This is far from a two-horse affair however and at current prices the value may lie with last year’s game winner Addeybb, from the stable of William Haggas who is also represented by Al Aasy and Dubai Honour.
The consistent Pivotal gelding, while at his best on testing ground, has not finished outside of the first two in his last 12 starts, the majority of which were in Group 1 company.
The seven-year-old has won on going ranging from good to heavy, so is unlikely to be inconvenienced by forecast good to soft conditions. Tom Marquand’s mount has been targeted at this race since finishing second behind St Mark’s Basilica in Sandown’s Eclipse (Mishriff back in third) and looks the value bet against the two market leaders.
Our Tip for the 4.30pm at Ascot:
There is little doubt that the horse to beat in this valuable one mile handicap is the John & Thady Gosden-trained unexposed Sunray Major, who just scrapes into this maximum field of 20 off bottom weight, and with the ever-popular Frankie Dettori in the saddle.
The one negative regarding the possible Group contender is the colt’s price of about 5/2. With that in mind and the prospect of bookmakers offering enhanced place terms, it could pay to look for a better value each-way contender.
Johan, Matthew Flinders and Kenzai Warrior are just three who could outrun their prices but it is the Andrew Balding-trained Symbolize who is fancied to run a big race on a course where the four-year-old has run some of his best races.
Jockey David Probert is having an excellent season and his mount came back to something like his best on the course earlier this month when second to fellow rival Aldaary (5lb worse off) with the rest of the 16-runner field well beaten off.
A similar performance would put the gelding in with a great chance of making the frame at the very least.
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