Charlie Austin: This 14/1 shot gets my vote for a whopper Champions Day at Ascot

Our striker in the know breaks down the big battles of the day, gives you one to watch from his own syndicate and talks Aidan O'Brien's chances of breaking the world record


Aidan O’Brien beating the world record for Grade 1 winners

He’s got a great chance. I didn’t see the first one by Bobby Frankel and do I want to see this one?  Yes, I want him to do it as I want to see great things happen. He’s a great trainer and great for the sport. What’s going on at Ballydoyle at the moment is amazing and to have that many Group 1 wins in a season just shows how far he is in front. You won’t find many people with a bad word to say about Aidan.  I’m a massive fan and am even having a conversation about getting a horse off his son, Joseph, at the moment.

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1:25 Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2) 

I had a nice bet on Order of St George in the Ascot Gold Cup when he was second. It was one of those days. I thought he was going to get there and he just didn’t. You’d have to think the more rain, the more of a chance he’ll have. Stradivarius beat Big Orange at Goodwood, but you’d think he’s more of a good ground horse. Summer soft ground is different to winter soft ground, so for me it’s Order of St George who gets the nod.

2:00 Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1) 

This will be a really good sprint. Harry Angel’s shown what he can do when he won the July Cup. He can win from the front, he can come from behind, he can do it all. I backed Caravaggio at Royal Ascot when he won but I really think Harry Angel will show his class above everyone else. If the rain keeps up though, surely Quiet Reflection won’t be far away.

2:40 Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1)

It’s Coronet for me. She wasn’t beaten a long way last time in the St Leger at Doncaster as she didn’t stay. If she did stay, then she wouldn’t be running in this race. Simple as that. Frankie Dettori has opted for Journey, but I’m going for Coronet.

3:15 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1) (Sponsored By Qipco) (British Champions Mile) 

This could be the race of the day. I saw on Twitter during the week that Richard Fahey really likes Ribchester and you’d be a brave man to go against him. But Aidan O’Brien is not a man to question. If he thinks Churchill is the best to go in and win, then he’s been entered for a reason. Then you look at Andrew Balding with Beat the Bank and he’s only been beaten once. Is he in the same class as the other two? I’m not sure. You’d be a brave man to question Aidan O’Brien so I’m going to favour Churchill.

3:50 Qipco Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1)

With Cracksman, what are we expecting really? He’s lovely, he’s well bred. He could go on and win this by a street. For me though, I like Barney Roy. I like the way James Doyle rides him. I just feel with Ulysses out of the way it’s going to be a match race between these two and I would take Cracksman on at the price. Barney Roy is the value for me.

4:30 Balmoral Handicap (Sponsored By Qipco)

She’s had a great season and with the soft ground, I’m going to go for Accidental Agent trained by Eve Johnson Houghton at 14/1. You can see why Zabeel Prince heads the market, but by the time this is under orders, there will be a lot of cut in the ground. At the price and the value, I think Accidental Agent won’t be far away.

Bet of the day

The standout bet for me is Quiet Reflection. It’s a good each-way bet, or even back it in the market without Harry Angel. The way Quiet Reflection handles the ground, she can go closer to troubling the favourite than the Tin Man and Caravaggio.

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Excel Racing Syndicate

It’s going really well for us. We’re up to 16 horses now which are in training across several stables in Britain. We’ve got one national hunt horse to keep us ticking over through the jumps season but we’re mainly flat. We’ve been going over three years now and I’m delighted we bagged our first Group success this season.

The goal initially was to get an Ascot runner and tick that box, but now a big Group winner would be really nice! We love a low-grade winner as much as anything but obviously the dream is to have horses to be able to compete on the big stage across both codes.

Another Batt, who we bought off John Nicholson over in Ireland, won a Group 3 in Turkey (International Trakya Trophy) last month, which was great. He trains with up & coming Newmarket trainer George Scott and bolted up on his British debut at Ripon winning by seven lengths with Silvestre De Sousa aboard but since then he hit the goalpost a few times in quality Listed contests. Frankie (Dettori) rode him in a listed race at Ascot on King George Day after he won on superstar filly Enable and he was beaten by a nose.

After just getting touched off at Ascot we looked at targets further afar and the Longines Festival in Velifendi, Turkey stood out. With a prize pot of €195k up for grabs we couldn’t turn the opportunity down! Another Batt went over rated 101 in the UK, we believed we were officially a few pounds better in than everything else in the race, which proved to be the case. I managed to get over to Turkey to watch him run, it was a brilliant trip one that was well worthwhile.

Apart from that, we’ve a two-year-old that hasn’t run yet for Marco Botti called Houlton and he’s a nice colt, one to keep an eye on for the future. Hopefully he will have his first race in a few weeks time, but he’s more of a three-year-old project to look forward to.

It’s also that time of year that we add several yearlings to the team, we’ve purchased a few nice yearlings in the last couple of weeks, some in the UK and we also branched out to Keeneland (America) this year in search of some nice yearlings, hopefully there’s a star amongst them.

Betting Summary

1.25pm – Order of St. George (Evens)
2.00pm – Quiet Reflection (6/1)
2.40pm – Coronet (5/1)
3.15pm – Churchill (10/3)
3.50pm – Barney Roy (4/1)
4.30pm – Accidental Agent (14/1)

*Prices correct at time of posting*

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What do you think?