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Ascot hosts British Champions Day on Saturday as the Flat season reaches its (unofficial) conclusion with a bang.
It’s the richest race day in the UK and there are four Groups 1s, a Group 2 and a Heritage Handicap on the schedule. William Buick will be crowned as the champion jockey but the trainers’ championship is set to go down to the wire with Charlie Appleby and William Haggas pretty much neck and neck on prize money.
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Baaeed will draw all the attention in the Champion Stakes as he bids to sign off from the track with his unbeaten record intact, while the supporting cast includes the likes of Eldar Eldarov, Trueshan, Creative Force, Emily Upjohn, Inspiral and Modern Games.
Our snazzy Racecards page has all you need to know about the runners and riders at Ascot, the latest horse racing odds are on the Paddy Power website (where we’ll live stream all six races) and you can see if you’ve backed a winner in an instant on the Fast Results tab.
The staying division has been electric this season and while Kyprios has other targets and Stradivarius has been retired, the opening race on the card could well prove to be the best of the day.
Trueshan – bidding to win the Long Distance Cup for the third year in a row – is the standout name but he faces competition from St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov, Irish Cesarewitch scorer Waterville, Doncaster Cup hero Coltrane, Lonsdale Cup king Quickthorn and Ebor Handicap hero Trawlerman. Wordsworth and Stratum complete the field but they’re hardly making up the numbers as they’re also high-class horses in their own right.
Creative Force scored the biggest victory of his career when landing last season’s renewal but Charlie Appleby’s colt is without a win this year, although he was within a neck of stablemate Naval Crown over course and distance in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Naval Crown will hope to bounce back from a poor run at Haydock last time out, while the fantastic field includes Ascot specialist Rohaan, Commonwealth Cup scorer Perfect Power and Prix de la Foret winner Kinross. This looks like a spicy sprint.
Emily Upjohn hasn’t quite lived up to the hype in her three-year-old campaign as a slow start in the Epsom Oaks cost her the Classic before a wretched run in the King George over course and distance. She hasn’t been seen since and is back to racing against her own sex but finds herself in receipt of the 6lbs weight-for-age allowance.
Eshaada beat Albaflora by a short head in last season’s renewal and both are back for another crack, although it’s Charlie Appleby’s progressive Eternal Pearl who looks to be the big danger as the Frankel filly bids to bring up a five-timer.
Ascot 15:20 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1)
Inspiral suffered a shock defeat in the Falmouth Stakes but bounced back in fine fashion on her first crack at open company in the Jacques le Marois. The conditions of this look favourable for John & Thady Gosden’s stable star but Modern Games brings high-class form to the table with three Group 1s already on his CV.
Jadoomi could emerge as the main contender of the older horses having been supplemented at a cost of £70,000, while 2020 winner The Revenant makes the trip over from France once again.
Ascot 16:00 Champion Stakes (Group 1)
The seemingly unbeatable Baaeed looked even better over 10 furlongs when landing the Juddmonte International last time out and he is ready to rock and roll for one last dance before heading to stud for a well-earned retirement from racing.
A fresh challenger in the form of Adayar, the winner of last year’s Epsom Derby and King George, means Baaeed faces, arguably, the stiffest test of his career on his final start. It’s set up to be a cracking clash and could prove crucial in the Appleby v Haggas battle for the trainers’ title.
A big-field handicap rounds off the card and the weights are headed by Escobar, who won the race in 2019 and carries a penalty for scoring in the Peroni Nastro Azzurro Challenge Cup over course and distance earlier this month.
If the British Trainers’ Championship remains tight then Appleby could be an avid viewer as the Haggas yard fires three darts at this contest – Bashkirova, Montatham and Sweet Believer.
- Horse Racing Tips: Jason Weaver’s 6 slick picks for Champions Day
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- Horse Racing Tips: Mick Fitzgerald’s Champions Day at Ascot best bets
- Gallop over to Paddy Power News for all the latest racing tips
- Champion Stakes tips and runner-by-runner guide as Baaeed faces Adayar at Ascot