Ruby Walsh: Tarnawa looks a shrewd each-way play on Champions Day

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It’s Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday and it could be all about Frankie Dettori again. He’s four big rides in the Group One races aboard Advertise, Star Catcher, King of Comedy and Coronet and also rides Stradivarius in the Group 2 Long Distance Cup. Can he will them all?

I doubt it – but we all have to dream.

Frankie rides Advertise in the opener at 13.25 but Hello Youmzain looks the improver in the field to me. His form is very good and he won the Group 1 The Sprint Cup at Haydock over this 6f trip on soft ground last time. If you wanted one at a big price each-way – I wouldn’t put you off Joseph O’Brien’s Speak In Colours.

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Stradivaruis has been incredible all season, but has looked vulnerable before on soft ground and his John Gosden has already walked the Ascot track to make sure it’s suitable for him to run in the Group 2 Long Distance Cup at 14.10. With that  in mind, I’ll side with Aidan O’Brien’s Kew Gardens who has been crying out for this step up in trip. Willie Mullins runs Max Dynamite and he’s need a carer best to win it, but it’s hard to see him getting better at his age.

In the 14.45 over 1m 3f, Frankie deserts Epsom Oaks winner Anapurna in favour of Irish Oaks winner Star Catcher, while Ballydoyle’s Fleeting, who was second in the Irish Oaks, is sure to be flying home at the finish. However, I’m going to go with another Irish challenger in Dermot Weld’s Tarnawa, each-way.

Dermot has a great record at this meeting.


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The 15.20 QE II Stakes over 1m can go to soft-ground specialist The Revenant while in the featured Champion Stakes at 16.00,  the big question is whether Magical is over her exertions when fifth in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe a fortnight ago. I’d probably chance Deirdre if I had too.

We end with the 1m Balmoral Handicap at 16.40 and it’s hugely competitive. Jamie Spencer is a go-to jockey for Ascot and he rides Clon Coulis who was second in the Royal Hunt Cup in June on good to soft ground. She could be reasonably handicapped and worth an each-way play in a race where Paddy is paying the first 6 home.

Willie Mullins runs Riven Light in the 10f Listed race at Leopardstown a week after probably not staying in a 1m 4f contest at Limerick. This should be a more suitable trip and he probably has a good each-way chance in what looks a better race.

*Prices correct at time of publishing 

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