It’s Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday and I’m going to start like I mean to on with a few value plays to navigate the rain-drenched card.
We start with the Long Distance Cup (13.25) and it can be broken down quite easily!
Stradivarius has endured a long, hard season and won’t like the ground, Flag of Honour has been granted an easy lead on his last two outings and also needs it quicker, while the old boy Thomas Hobson simply isn’t good enough.
That leaves us with David Elsworth’s DESERT SKYLINE who will get his optimum conditions for the first time this season and can land the opener at a huge price, with 33/1 now on offer.
PROJECTION remains a work in progress for Roger Charlton and he overcame several negatives to land the Group 3 Bengough Stakes earlier this month.
In a bigger field and with a faster pace assured, the son of Acclamation should get a nice tow into the 6f Champions Sprint Stakes (14.00) and he looks the each-way value against the likes of confirmed mud larks and previous winners, Librisa Breeze and The Tin Man.
To my eyes, LORD GLITTERS should have won the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and has been very oddly campaigned on fast ground since that August rush, which I find very strange.
Back at his beloved Ascot, with some give in the ground, I can’t see him being out of the frame in the QEII Stakes (15.15) as long as he is given a ‘proper’ ride and any give in the ground will surely be a bonus as is Paddy’s offer of four places if eight or more runners take part. Of course, Roaring Lion being diverted to this straight mile event is a slight obstruction to our bet.
On the positive side it means we will get a slightly bigger price.
— Racing UK (@racing_uk) October 18, 2018
With that confirmed playboy, Cracksman, set to make his comeback in the feature Champion Stakes (15.50) this 1m 2f contest looks like a one-horse book, but I think I have found some extortionate value in this Group One in the form of an each-way play, VERBAL DEXTERITY.
This son of Vocalised is barely out of the novice stage with only the six runs under his belt and has been crying out for a bit of give in the ground and crucially arrives at the Berkshire track a very fresh horse.
His run in the Irish Champion Stakes can be safely ignored on account of the ground and I am convinced there is bundles more improvement in him under the current conditions. I expect him to out-run his double figure odds by some way. Word has it, he worked out of his skin last week.
HYDRANGEA gets her first chance to run on soft ground since slamming Bateel in last year’s race and can duly defend her Fillies and Mares title at 14.40 despite the attentions of ‘The Sound of Music’ filly Lah Ti Dar.
SOUTH SEAS should give us a good run for our hard earned in that annual cavalry charge that is the 1m Balmoral Handicap at 16.30.
But I am going to go left-of-centre for my best bet of the day in the form of ARROWZONE in a terrible class six handicap at Wolverhampton at 21.15 away from the bright lights of Ascot.
A pound below his last winning mark, the seven-year-old showed his turn was close at hand with a cracking run at Chelmsford over 10 furlongs last week. This slight drop in trip on his return to Dunstall Park looks spot on.