Alex Hammond previews the Champion Stakes at Ascot
Sky Sports Racing presenter Alex Hammond takes a look at the feature race in Ascot the QIPCO Champion Stakes, on British Champions Day.
This Saturday sees Sky Sports Racing covering our QIPCO British Champions Day and Im delighted to be there. A card that is star-studded is , but I will concentrate on the big one here. Its been well documented that this race is among three run to the (inner) obstacle track, but that usually means the ground will not be as testing as first feared. A love of gentle ground is essential.
William Haggas five-year-old was well beaten at this meeting 12 months ago at the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, but that had been his first run since May of that year as he did not receive the soft earth he prefers. He has been more busy this season and he has not done a fantastic deal whilst he was unsatisfactory at the Huxley Stakes at Chester back in May. He finished a respectable second to Elarqam at York, beat Magic Wand to win the Wolferton after the deluge at the Royal assembly in June and beat Pondus in ground last time out. Thus far though, he has come up short in the maximum level and the ground might not be analyzing enough to level the playing area.
He has a tiny quirk, although there is no doubt Sir Michael Stoute has got plenty of skill. If he wants the floor soft is up for discussion, although this mile and a quarter is his optimum trip. Requirements are possibly the least of his problems, due to his day he could give all these a real fright and theres an opportunity that with age comes more maturity, so not one to write off, however we may not observe the very top of him before next year with a little more experience under his belt.
This elegant mare eventually got a pleasant Group 1 victory to her name at the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud at June and just like buses, she subsequently made it 2 at the maximum level using a win in the Prix Jean Romanet in Deauville a couple of months ago on her latest start.
She had been desperately unlucky not to reel in Magical in the Champion Fillies and Mares on this card last year and I believe she is well capable of earning it a hat-trick of all Group 1s in conditions that are right up her road with Mr Ascot, Frankie Dettori in the saddle.
Japans sweetheart showed she could cut it against some of the greatest females in Europe after winning the Nassau at Goodwood and is unlucky not to have potentially bagged two European Group 1s when denied victory in the Irish Champion Stakes when getting no kind of streak. She has been prices each time shes set foot on the trail in Ireland and the UK, but shouldnt be overlooked at the Champion Stakes at which she appears capable of making her presence felt once again. The negative has to be the floor as she seems to be more effective on a surface.
Aidan string looks like playing a supportive role to her better stablemate Magical. The trip moves, over seven furlongs and a mile with her attempts. Having said thatshe ran into the race of her own life at the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes 12 months past when beaten a neck by Roaring Lion to second, but was over a mile and she has never replicated anything since.
What a mare shes. She has danced every dance this year finishing out of the initial two once since her triumph at the Fillies and Mares on this card last year. Out when fifth at the Prix de lArc de Triomphe which was not a bad effort by any other means that came last time. Shes unfortunate to be about in precisely exactly the exact same time as Permit as shes finished runner-up in the maximum level in the last 12 months to her three times, however there is no Permit in this and shes got a wonderful chance of winning once more. There would have to be a concern about the times she has laid herself but she is tough and gifted. Requirements will have no fears for their own either.
Im a fan of Fox Tal and think he could measure up to the plate andbe a major light in Andrew Baldings secure as a next year. He pulverised his competitors in a Requirements Stakes a month and I think he has the makings of a top class colt, whilst he has to prove at this degree. He has, although the floor is really a complete unknown. He is a massive each-way participant for me.
Hes a lot to do on bare ratings, but what he does have in his favour is your ground. When circumstances are similar to this he yells. The excursion suits him well, if hes good enough to ruffle a few of these feathers, but I would be amazed.
This filly looked very smart to be honest she has not done a excellent deal incorrect since then and after winning back the Cheshire Oaks in May. The Oaks was a shambles because of her and that I thought she had been unlucky not to acquire against the Nassau Stakes. You can set a line through her run at ParisLongchamp at the Prix de lOpera the afternoon as a whole just didnt pan out well for Frankie Dettori and as she was much too excited. Shell love conditions and she provides a decent string to his bow to John Gosden.
It is possible it will not be soft enough , although addeybb is a mud lover. Will be John Gosdens duo; MEHDAAYIH and CORONET. Coronet was definitely and has come into her own this year a bit unlucky in the Fillies and Mares on this day last year behind winner Magical. Its interesting they have opted to go for this race rather than the Fillies and Mares and shes in the kind of her lifetime.
Mehdaayih is just another filly I like and you are able to set a line on Arc evening daily, since she pulled too hard and she seems decent value to me . Shes done very little wrong other and when she has not gone over the top for your period can run another fantastic race. I also believe Fox Tal can run a race . It is guaranteed to be a cracking contest.
Read more here: http://zurichexpats.com/?p=15544