Horse Racing tips: 4 Ascot course specialists for Champions Day

Timeform reckon these 4 are playing at home on Saturday.

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1.55pm (Champions Sprint Stakes) – Cape Byron

CAPE BYRON has won four times at Ascot in his career, distances ranging from six furlongs to a mile. He was most progressive last season, recording all three wins at this track, namely the Victoria Cup, Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Group 3 Bengough Stakes.

The last two wins both came over the same course and distance as the Champions Sprint, a race in which Cape Byron disappointed in 12 months ago. He hasn’t been seen since, either, which is a slight concern, but he has a sound record when fresh, handles soft ground, and represents a yard that can get them ready after a lay-off, so he can out-run big odds back at his favoured venue.

3.05pm (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes) – Circus Maximus

CIRCUS MAXIMUS has only made the trip to Ascot twice, both times at Royal Ascot, and on each occasion he has come out victorious. He won the St James’s Palace Stakes (which takes place on the round course) in 2019 – beating the likes of King of Comedy and Too Darn Hot – and recorded his second success over this course and distance in the Queen Anne earlier this year, coming out on top in a ding-dong battle with Terebellum.

Circus Maximus isn’t a flashy type, but he is tough and durable and is a three-time Group 1 winner. He has hit the frame in his last three starts at the top level, and seems sure to be bang in the mix again with soft conditions fine.

3.40pm (Champion Stakes) – Magical

MAGICAL is building a really solid course record, winning twice and finishing second in her three visits to Ascot so far. Her first victory came at this meeting in the Fillies & Mares Stakes in 2018, and finished second at Royal Ascot the following year, finding only Crystal Ocean too good in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

That was high-class form, and she didn’t need to be at the same level to win this race on her final start last season, proving too strong for the re-opposing Addeybb on ground Timeform described as good to soft. Magical has proved better than ever this year, and this race has been the plan since she won her second Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown last month. This remarkable mare will once again take all the beating with likely soft ground no problem.

4.15pm (Balmoral Handicap) – Raising Sand

RAISING SAND has established himself as one of the ultimate Ascot specialists, winning four times and hitting the frame on another four occasions, which is all the more meritorious when you consider the competitiveness of the big-field handicaps he usually contests.

His four wins at Ascot have been achieved on ground described as good to soft by Timeform, but he has lots of strong form with even more ease in the going and looks set to go well with conditions in his favour – he was well fancied for the Challenge Cup Handicap on the abandoned card at Ascot earlier this month, and arrives here fresher than most.

Timeform’s Ascot course specialists – Saturday, October 17

1.55pm (Champions Sprint) – Cape Byron
3.05pm (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes) – Circus Maximus
3.40pm (Champions Stakes) – Magical
4.25pm (Balmoral Handicap) – Raising Sand

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