Champion Stakes - Ascot - 15:40

Focus on the favourite

Magical (2/1)

Magical perhaps didn’t get the credit she deserved during the early part of her career, much of it spent in Enable’s shadow, but she has amassed an army of followers with a succession of high-class displays that has allowed her to rack up an incredible seven wins at the highest level. One of her Group 1 victories was achieved in this race last season, when she beat Addeybb by three-quarters of a length having been well positioned in a race not run at a strong gallop, and she has shown even better form this term. Her three-quarter-length defeat of Ghaiyyath in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown last month was a career-best effort and is the best piece of form on offer. She is tough, reliable, handles testing ground and is very much the one to beat.

An outsider to consider

Addeybb (10/1)

Addeybb is also a tough and reliable performer and he will relish the testing conditions at Ascot on Saturday. He ran well when runner-up to Magical in last year’s renewal – on ground considered good to soft by Timeform – and took his form up a notch when winning a couple of Group 1s on soft ground in Australia in the spring. Addeybb, who won the Wolferton Stakes over this course and distance last season, bolstered his good record here when finishing runner-up to Lord North in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes in June, and he did well to defy a penalty at Ayr last month. Another bold show is on the cards.

A stat to note

Skaletti has won 12 of his 15 starts

French raider Skaletti has never competed in a Group 1 before but he was won 12 of his 15 starts and is certainly worth a shot at this level. Skaletti was impressive when winning the Group 2 Prix Dollar for a second time at Longchamp on Arc weekend, quickening well after having to wait for a gap. The form of his previous success – in the Group 3 Gontaut-Biron – also received a boost at Longchamp through Sottsass' victory in the Arc. Skaletti had beaten Sottsass at Deauville – admittedly in receipt of 7 lb – and is not one to quickly dismiss.

The Verdict

Magical can make it a hat-trick on Champions Day having won the Fillies And Mares Stakes in 2018 and the Champion Stakes last season. She has raised her game again this season and arrives on the back of a career-best effort so has plenty in her favour. Lord North and Addeybb are high-class performers in their own right and should also give a good account.

Timeform weight-adjusted ratings:

  • 140    Magical
  • 138    Lord North
  • 136    Japan
  • 136    Addeybb
  • 132p    Mishriff
  • 132    Serpentine