Matt Chapman: My French fancy can sink his rivals on Champions Day

It's one of the best day's racing in the Flat calendar and our top ITV pundit fancies Recoletos to surprise in the 3.15pm ...


I was thrilled my first Saturday Paddy Power blog banged in a few winners last weekend and of course this Saturday there’s a huge day on ITV1 in the shape of #ChampionsDay meeting at Ascot. All six races are shown on terrestrial TV and I can’t wait to try and take a few quid off Paddy. You hear me Paddy?

Let’s get straight to it, and the 13.25pm is the Group 2 Long Distance Cup over 2m. Stradivarius has been outstanding this season, but interestingly his rating hasn’t changed for five starts. That suggests despite his campaign, opposition has been poor. So I will take him on with FLAG OF HONOUR, who is improving fast for Aidan O’Brien.

The worry is that my selection has got better for his hat-trick on fast ground, but I just think he’s an improving horse and can can get the better of the favourite here.

Sprint over to now for all the latest odds on Champions Day

It’s the Group 1 Sprint at 14.00. There’s no doubt The Tin Man is the one to beat, but I’ll take an each-way chance with last year’s runner-up TASLEET. He’s always been held in high regard and loves cut in the ground. He was a flop at Haydock last time, but we get a decent price because of that. Fingers crossed William Haggas has him back to his best.

Time for the fillies at 14.40 and the Group 1 Fillies’ and Mares’. John Gosden’s LAH TI DAR lost nothing in defeat in the St Leger and her stamina will be a good asset over this 1m 4f trip if it becomes a slog. I expect her to simply be too good for the rest.

A classy renewal of the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at 15.15pm over 1m. Roaring Lion is down in trip on ground he doesn’t like, so I have to take him on  with French raider RECOLETOS. The Moulin winner is a proper Group 1 miler, and while conditions are right for the likes of Lord Glitters and Addeybb to have a big shout, they might lack the class of my Carlos Laffon-Parias-trained hope.


The penultimate race of the day is the the feature, the Group 1 Champion Stakes over 1m 2f at 15.50. I fully expect defending champion CRACKSMAN to bounce back to his best in ideal ground. He’s blinkered for trainer John Gosden and while he’s not been spectacular this seaosn he’s hardly been shocking either. He’s just better than this lot and Frankie Dettori rides.

And finally it’s the Balmoral Handicap over 1m at 16.30. KYNREN has promised to land a big one for some time, and I think this is the one he will grab for David Barron. So have a few quid on each-way.

He’s not been disgraced on faster ground recently, and has every chance of landing this contest.

So everyone we’ll all be praying for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?

Sprint over to now for all the latest odds on Champions Day