Can the dragon be slayed in the Long Distance Cup? Order of St George produced a below-par effort when failing to defend his Irish St Leger crown at the Curragh last month, but returned to something like his best form with a creditable third on his most recent start in the Arc 13 days ago.
The leading stayer in training should prove extremely difficult to beat if those exertions haven’t taken too much out of him. Simple Verse looks an obvious danger with this trip expected to suit, while Litigant, who’s had more time off than a Southern Rail conductor, could also reward each-way support.
Twilight Son was disappointing when down the field in the July Cup, but appeared unsuited by the quick ground that day and has been given plenty of time to recover from those exertions. He produced the best effort of his career when second in this race 12 months ago and this dual Group 1 winner is fancied in the British Champions Sprint. Mecca’s Angel and Quiet Reflection both have claims to the title and can give the selection most to do.
The Ballydoyle filly Seventh Heaven probably isn’t named after the American rock band of the same name but she was an impressive winner of the Yorkshire Oaks last time, beating subsequent Arc winner Found. She may have been slightly flattered by the bare form of that effort (the runner-up clearly needed the race), but is 5 lb clear of her nearest rival on Timeform ratings here. Zhukova is feared most representing a trainer with a terrific record at this meeting.
One at a price now: Lightning Spear in the QE II. He’s fancied to run well in the QEII, having been a comfortable winner of the Celebration Mile at Goodwood seven weeks ago. That effort augured well with a return to the top table in mind and – likely to be fresher than most at this stage of the season after just four starts – he is expected to see off the attentions of the improving Ribchester. It would also provide owners Qatar Racing with a big winner at their own QIPCO-sponsored party. No scary clowns jumping out from behind trees here, though.
We’ve gone through the Champion Stakes runner-by-runner over here for our A-Z Guide so you’ll have to jump off before finally, to the 23-runner Balmoral!
Unfortunately, this handicap is probably the closest we’ll get to the Queen’s private residence. John Gosden’s Remarkable didn’t look totally straightforward when down the field here, but is entitled to improve with that first run for over three months under his belt and he looks very well handicapped on the form of his previous fifth in the Jersey Stakes here (beaten less than four lengths behind Ribchester). He can prove an apt winner on what John Motson might call a “quite remarkable” day’s racing.