What a days racing. This is the season finale’ at Ascot and it is a fitting card to round off a super flat season. We go through the full sets of distances today to establish the Kings and Queens of Europe and they have all turned up. Arc Winners, Guineas winners and Group winners abound.
1:25 ASCOT Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2) Cl1 2m
Quest for More travelled supremely in the Cadran but we believe that extended distance has to have taken a lot out of this horse and would have to look elsewhere in this race. Sheikhzayedroad was very brave when beating Quest for More at Doncaster and has had a little longer to recover but he might just find one too good. Forgotten Rules looks to be coming back to form and is the least raced this year and freshest and that is certainly worth something but they have all, surely, got Order of St George to beat. So impressive in the Arc, finishing third and with few miles on the clock he steps back up to his premium distance. Looking at a trifecta we fancy Simple Verse to join the last two in the frame. It looks like a cracking start to a wonderful day.
2 units win Order of St George | 1 unit reverse forecast Order of St George with Simple Verse
2:00 ASCOT Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1) Cl1 6f
Now this is a sprint race. Let’s start with Quiet Reflection. Karl Burke was very keen to take on Limato, so he must believe his filly is in tip top order and if she is then she really will take the beating . Her last win at Haydock was impressive and she wasn’t far behind Limato earlier in the season in the July Cup. We tipped up Meccas Angel over 5f at York and she ran a blinder over the same trip at Chantilly but this is six and it will stretch her. Shalaa made an impressive comeback on soft ground that wouldn’t have suited and he will undoubtedly come on for that run and is a big player in this race with Frankie on board. Twilight Son has got close to the level required and any improvement puts him in the frame. The Tin Man was just behind Quiet Reflection last time out and if Tom Queally can just find the key he has a real turn of foot. The French raider, Signs of Blessing looks a real threat with a good win at Deauville to his name and both Librisa Breeze and Growl deserve their chance at this level whilst they may come up a bit short of the standard required. Brando is also of interest after his win in the Gold Cup. Against the odds, it’s the Tin Man for us. He can get a tow in to the race and then unleash late on with his turn of foot.
1 unit e/w The Tin Man | 1 unit e/w Shalaa
2:35 ASCOT British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1) Cl1 1m4f
As you would expect, this is a class field. Architecture will be keen to get back to winning ways after a second in both the English and Irish Oaks and then a slightly sub standard 3rd in the German equivalent. She remains a talented filly. Zhukova might be capable of springing an upset after bettering the Derby 2nd at Leopardstown. Speedy Boarding has been a revelation with her best being a Group 1 win at Chantilly but that was over 10f. If she can make 2 further furlongs she could improve again and win and whilst Journey’s win last time out was convincing that was at listed level. She is, however, obviously talented. Three year olds hold the edge and after defeating Found last time out Seventh Heaven is all the rage. She will be short but if she reproduces the form of her York win she won’t be beaten
2 units e/w Seventh Heaven
Big time winners abound in this renewal and what a field it is. Let’s start with Lightening Spear. His win at Goodwood last time out was a career best and didn’t suggest it was a fluke. He needs to run better again this time to win but he might be able to. Awtaad’s trainer Kevin Prendergast can’t wait for this race as he thinks his charge is better than ever and on the form of his Irish Guineas win he will take some beating. After a break his comeback run to win last time out was as good as ever and he has come on from that, according to Prendergast. Galileo Gold was disappointing at Deauville but our Guineas winner can put that behind him and Richard Fahey believes they all have Ribchester to beat. That means there is no place for Stormy Antarctic on the winners podium, if the previous trainers are right, nor Jet Setting or even the remarkable, Minding, who drops back two furlongs chasing Group One glory at 3 separate distances. This is one to savour. Three year olds have held sway on balance but this hasn’t been a vintage colt crop, although the fillies look good. Its Minding, Ribchester and Awtaad in the frame, the question is – in what order? Awtaad is just too big a price and has to be backed
1 unit e/w Awtaad | 1 unit e/w Ribchester
3:45 ASCOT Qipco Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1) Cl1 1m 2f
Fascinating Rock has a victory over Found this season and whilst, after a break the 2nd to Success Days wasn’t great it might say more about Success Days. Jack Hobbs is interesting after such a long break but whilst he could win he is not a betting proposition after his injuries. My Dream Boat, simply hasn’t reproduced the form he showed when defeating Found at Royal Ascot and that race now looks a fluke. Found turns up after her Arc success and if she wins this may well be the greatest filly ever, certainly in terms of constitution but in order to do that she has to defeat Almanzor, whose trainer Rouget kept him back from the Arc for this race. He must be the one to be on in what is simply a red hot race. We fear only jockey error can get him beat. If he can stay out of trouble and gets a strong pace to run at with a sweeping run, he will win again.
4 units win Almanzor
4:25 ASCOT Balmoral Handicap Cl2 1m CH4
What a finish to the card. All the really good 1 mile handicappers, all in one place for a winners purse of £155,000 with £3,000 for 6th place. We are guessing the guys will all be riding a finish!! In the two runnings of this race a 5 yo has triumphed, one of them runs in this race, Bronze Angel, but he doesn’t seem the force of old now he is 7. GM Hopkins fits the bill but is carrying top weight for his 2016 efforts, which have been good. Tullius is having his first run in a handicap for a while and has to be respected. The handicapper might have got to grips with Firmament and Here Comes When has been disappointing in 2016. Morando looks an improver after we tipped him up to win at Ayr but he will need to in order to win this. Poor old Donncha gets cut very little slack by the handicapper as he just keeps running well without winning. Silent Attack seems to have got in lightly after a 2nd in a Group 2, which given it was Turkey may not be much but the horse that narrowly beat him has been placed in a Group race here in the UK so he is of interest. Our two selections seem to have the most scope to improve past their mark and win a race of this type.
1 unit e/w Morando | 1 unit e/w Silent Attack