Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with three to follow on Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday. View selections below
The ground should be perfect for Champions Day the celebration of the British flat season; congratulations to Jim Crowley and Josephine Gordon on winning their respective jockeys’ titles but let’s get down to the action.
The Long Distance Cup looks at the mercy of Order Of St George having finished third in the Arc last time but that was less than a fortnight ago and at 8/11 with BetVictor I would prefer to look for an each way alternative.
Simple Verse won the Fillies and Mares on this card last year and steps up to two miles for the first time; she looks sure to go close but the lightly-raced Forgotten Rules (1.25) won this corresponding race two years ago and was unlucky 12 months ago when hampered at a crucial stage. He has been laid out for the race again by Dermot Weld and I hope the ground is riding on the slow side of good for the gelding; at 7/1 with BetVictor he is the each way recommendation.
I am worried about the bounce factor for Shalaa (2.00) but I always felt he could make up into a champion sprinter and he is another each way recommendation; John Gosden suggested there was plenty of improvement to come after the colt made a winning reappearance over C&D at the beginning of the month when he raced freely. The hope is that initial freshness has been taken out of his sails; at 11/2 with BetVictor he gets the vote.
The QEII is another cracking race with Minding a worthy favourite although I’m not sure the dual classic winner should be as short as 2/1 given she has not run over a mile since beaten in the Irish Guineas back in May. She finished third in the Irish Champion Stakes last time and I have always felt that 10f would be her ideal trip.
Ribchester (3.10) was arguably unlucky in the Sussex Stakes on his penultimate start but set the record straight when winning the Jacques Le Marois at Deauville in August; he is 2-1 down to Guineas winner Galileo Gold in their head-to-head but I love the way Richard Fahey has campaigned his colt. The colt is 5/2 with BetVictor but I feel he might drift out as money comes for a couple of the bigger priced horses.
The Champion Stakes is the feature and it revolves to my eyes around Almanzor (13/8 with BetVictor); the French raider was quite brilliant when winning the Irish Champion Stakes last time when he was 11th with two furlongs to run against a top quality field. Ascot has only a short straight and the colt is drawn in stall one. Does jockey Christophe Soumillon go forward or does he hold his colt up at the back of the pack? He has the best form in the race, has won his last five on the spin and can become the first winner from the classic generation since New Approach back in 2008.
I am loath to desert Found who did us a favour in the Arc but she has a wide post to overcome in 11 and might find Almanzor too speedy again.