We have something of a rarity this weekend as all of the ITV Racing action comes from just one racecourse. It’s certainly a meeting worth taking all of the headlines as some of the very best horses in Europe make the trip to Ascot for British Champions Day.
Superstar Baaeed tops the bill as he seeks to end his astonishing career on a high in the Qipco Champion Stakes. There are no better horses than Baaeed in the world but there are more tempting betting propositions than the 1/5 shot. So, we have sifted through the card to try and unearth the best value in this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.
1:25 Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup
Group 2, 2m
Trueshan’s connections have had to show tremendous patience. They may well have the best stayer in Flat racing but they cannot race him as much as they like because he needs some cut in the ground to be at his best. That rules out many of the season’s biggest staying races but not the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup which he has won twice in a row.
It was because they had to wait for the right conditions that Trueshan’s performance last time out at Doncaster was so disappointing for connections. He never looked right and in the end he did well to lose out to Coltrane by just a neck. Trueshan’s love of Ascot and confidence that he will be much more like his usual self see him installed as the 7/4 favourite whereas Coltrane is further down the market at odds of 15/2. St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov will pose a serious challenge but Trueshan should secure his hat-trick.
2:00 Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes
Group 1, 6f
Art Power and Go Bears Go are unlikely to win the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes but they will be key in the outcome. They’ve been given a nice draw next to each other in the middle of the pack and will fire each other up to create a strong early pace. Whether they can hold out up front for long enough over six furlongs on ground that might be officially soft by Saturday afternoon remains to be seen.
Connections of Perfect Power will hope that the early pace will take the legs out of the protagonists and that the cut in the ground will work in his favour so that he can get back to something like the level of form he showed when winning the Commonwealth Cup. There is no doubt that he was disappointing at Newmarket and Deauville but Perfect Power is a Group 1 performer on his day and is well worth each way support at a price of 11/1 on his return to Ascot.
2:40 Qipco British Champions Fillies’ & Mares’ Stakes
Group 1, 1m4f
Three-year-olds have won the last five renewals of the Qipco British Champions Fillies’ & Mares’ Stakes and the betting market suggests it will be more of the same this year. While the market will likely be proven correct in that regard, it may well be that the top two in the betting – Emily Upjohn (7/2) and Eternal Pearl (9/2) – are priced the wrong way around.
Eternal Pearl never made it to a racecourse as a juvenile but she has made up for lost time as a three year old. After taking a few races to find her feet the Godolphin-owned daughter of Frankel has been on a tear. Whichever ratings you prefer, you’ll find that Eternal Pearl has taken a step forward with each of her four wins and that run, and improvement, can continue on British Champions Day.
3:20 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
Group 1, 1m
One of the joys of the latter part of the Flat season is the chance to see the Classic generation step up to take on their elders. The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is always a great battle between the generations with three-year-olds – who get a three-pound allowance – winning six of the last 10 renewals.
Whatever the age of the winner, it is rare that this race doesn’t go to a progressive sort. Baaeed was a typical, if above average, winner last year and Inspiral fits the bill as the right sort this time around. As a filly, the mount of Frankie Dettori gets an extra three-pound allowance which could make the difference given the quality of her recent win at Deauville against very strong opposition. There is potentially much more to come from Inspiral who is the right favourite at a fair price of 11/10.
4:00 Qipco Champion Stakes
Group 1, 1m2f
You can look at the draw, the likely pace or the likely shape of the race. You can even pour through the form in great detail to try and find snippets that other people have missed. The truth is you can look at the Qipco Champion Stakes any way you like and you’ll find that Baaeed is the most likely winner.
Baaeed proved himself to be more than a one-trick pony when he stepped up to 10½ furlongs to win the Juddmonte International Stakes and he is a general price of 1/5 to make it a perfect five wins from five starts for the season. There’s no juice in the price but Baaeed is the best horse in the world and it would be the shock of the year were he not to win.
4:40 Balmoral Handicap
Class 2, 1m
Since being introduced in 2014 the Balmoral Handicap has proven itself to be an unpredictable and thoroughly entertaining contest. Looking through the field for this year and there is no reason for that to change on Saturday. In the quest to narrow the field down and find a winner it’s worth noting that low draws have very much been favourable in recent years. None of those in the first eight stalls are particularly well fancied but if any of them can get out in front early they may be able to take this race away from the opposition.
David Egan may well be tasked with an aggressive ride on Johan to either win the race or go down valiantly in flames. Trainer, Mick Channon, will ultimately be the one giving the instructions but he knows that Johan prefers to do his racing prominently. He also knows that he has a consistent and battle-hardened horse to go to war with in this valuable handicap so consider backing him each way at a nice price of 18/1.