Andy Holding previews all five live Channel 4 races from Ascot on British Champions Day.
12.45 Long Distance Cup
Nothing has stood out in this division all season, and as such, we have a wide-open race on our hands. If there is something with a bit of upside, FLYING OFFICER (best price 13/2)
could well be the one and at least he arrives here fresher than most with only two runs under his belt this season. Clearly not the easiest to train being so lightly-raced, John Gosden must feel as though he’s improved significantly from his only poor run in his life in this race last year because he’s gone to the expense of supplementing this five-year-old at the final forfeit stage. His recent victories at Salisbury and Newmarket suggest he could well be proved correct and the son of Dynaformer is therefore worth another chance. The quirky, but talented Pallasator – third in the race last year – makes most appeal of the rest.
1st Flying Officer, 2nd Pallasator
Flying Officer - 0.5pt e/w @ 13/2Won 3.9pt
1.20 Champion Sprint Stakes
Muhaarar and Twilight Son have dominated this category all season, but it could well turn out that they won’t have things all their own way with the emerging talent of THE TIN MAN (best price 8/1)
lurking in the wings. James Fanshawe’s charge was hugely impressive when landing a competitive and strong-run handicap over the C&D last time out with any amount in hand and it’s significant that his trainer, having initially suggested he would draw stumps for the season with the son of Equiano, has had a change of heart in the interim. Clearly, the Newmarket handler believes his charge is capable of recouping the 40k supplementary fee forked out by connections and if he runs to the level of that latest performance, it could turn out to be a shrewd piece of business.
1st The Tin Man, 2nd Muhaarar
The Tin Man - 0.5pt e/w @ 8/1Lost 1pt
1.55 Fillies And Mares Stakes
In what looks a wide-open contest, it may well be worth risking a few quid on BOCCA BACIATA (best price 25/1)
now she gets a chance to run over 1m 4f for the first time. Jessica Harrington’s charge certainly shaped as though she’s worth a try over an extra two furlongs based on the evidence of her latest outing in the Group 2 Blandford Stakes at the Curragh and there’s no way this talented mare should be an unconsidered 25/1 outsider on the pick of her best form.
1st Bocca Baciata, 2nd Journey
Bocca Baciata - 0.5pt @ 25/1Lost 0.5pt
2.30 Champions Mile
TERRITORIES (best price 10/1)
couldn’t quite cope with the older, stronger and more experienced Esoterique in the Jacques Le Marois at Deauville last time, but that performance still equates to one of the best singular pieces of form on offer and at top price 10/1, he most certainly represents the best value bet of the race. Although Andre Fabre’s inmate was beaten fair and square by Gleneagles in the 2000 Guineas earlier in the season, the ground would have been plenty fast enough for the son of Invincible Spirit and there’s every chance he will be bang there in the mix again granted softer underfoot conditions on Saturday.
1st Territories, 2nd Solow
Territories - 0.5pt e/w @ 10/1Lost 1pt
3.05 Champion Stakes
Being the founder member of the Jack Hobbs appreciation society, it pains me to go against John Gosden’s superstar in a race which he has been prepared for especially, it’s just he makes little appeal at his current price and he’s been posted out wide in stall 12 just to further dampen enthusiasm. If any horse can overcome such an impost, he can, but the wisest stance would be to look elsewhere for the early value and that lies at the feet of THE CORSICAN (best price 12/1)
– who continually gets underestimated. A creditable fourth in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes when things didn’t quite go his way, he again suffered at the hands of fate on his next outing at Goodwood. David Simcock’s charge made up for that unfortunate episode by slamming a smart field at Newbury on his latest start and it’s been all systems go for this big prize ever since. Whether he’s quite up to the standard of Group 1 level remains to be seen, but at 12/1, he’s got to be worth a roll of the dice to find out.
1st The Corsican, 2nd Jack Hobbs
The Corsican - 0.5pt e/w @ 12/1Lost 1pt