Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with seven to follow on Saturday at Ascot, Market Rasen and Stratford. View selections below
British Champions Day will be run on ground likely to be just on the soft side of good today but that still might not be quick enough for Aidan O’Brien’s dual Guineas winner Gleneagles (2/1) whose participation, at the time of writing, in the Gp 1 QEII Stakes remains in doubt. The trainer was due to walk the course on Friday evening before making a decision; connection have said all year that the colt needs good or faster ground to be seen at his best and he only scraped home in the Irish Guineas on yielding ground back in May.
Solow (2.30) is 10/11 favourite at BetVictor and the French raider has won 11 of his last 12 starts and looked a machine when hammering The Grey Gatsby at Meydan back in the spring. He has been more workmanlike of late but should have the race run to suit with Elm Park and Kodi Bear likely to ensure it is a true test over the straight mile.
The draw hasn’t been kind to my each way selection Journey (8/1 at BetVictor) in the Fillies and Mares Stakes but she goes into the race with a progressive profile having won her last two contests by an aggregate of over 10 lengths albeit only in listed company. She doesn’t want to get embroiled in a battle for the lead, however, with the admirable Covert Love who has held her form all season and looked as good as ever when landing the Prix L’Opera at Longchamp on Arc day. That was less than two weeks ago, however, and she might be going to the well once too often.
Connections of the winner of the Qipco Champion Stakes will receive over £770,000 and with the fifth horse earning over £36,000 it has attracted a good if not stellar field. Jack Hobbs missed the Arc for the race and connections are convinced he has the necessary pace, dropping back to 10f for the first time since he was no match for stablemate Golden Horn in the Dante back in May.
At 5/4 with BetVictor he is the most likely winner but his draw in stall 12 (of 13) is a negative and jockey William Buick has a tough decision to make; does he push forward and track his pacemaker Maverick Wave who is drawn alongside him, or does he try and sit in and attack off the home turn?
It is a fascinating contest and I think Jack Hobbs will drift; I am loath to desert him but an each way alternative might be French raider Vadamos (6/1 at BetVictor 3.05) who is held in high regard by trainer Andre Fabre who is not known for calling geese swans. He was a facile winner over a mile in Germany last time and whilst that form in not good enough (Andrew Balding’s Merry Me 5l runner up) this step back up in trip will suit and he has a good draw in stall five.
At Market Rasen there is a cracking Bumper to conclude the card with Philip Hobbs’ Braavos hopefully making the market for Dubai Angel (5.35). The selection travelled like a good horse at Kelso on debut last month but might have bumped into one in the shape of Meet The Legend and the Malcolm Jefferson yard had a double at Carlisle earlier in the week.
Earlier on in the card Desert Joe (3.55) is likely to ensure there is no hanging around in the feature 3m Chase for Alan King. The selection goes well fresh and hasn’t got many miles on the clock for a 9-year-old.Viva Steve looks a big danger from the Mick Channon yard but he is not guaranteed to appreciate this 3m trip and top-weight Desert Joe is taken to give weight away all round.
At Stratford in the opening Mares’ Handicap Hurdle I am sweet on the chances of Poetic Verse (1.45) who was an impressive winner at Market Rasen when last seen over timber back in August. She is 7lbs higher today but remains in good heart having finished runner up back on the level at Catterick last month.
We have a special Champions Day offer; place a £10 bet on the opening race at Ascot and get a free £10 bet on the second race.