One of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures of the British racing calendar is upon us, as Ascot will host this year’s Champions Day. A day that features six races, the idea behind Champions Day is that the very best take on the very best. Often a thrilling day of racing, Champions Day will bring the curtain down on the Flat Season. In this preview, we will look at three races, the Group 2 Long Distance Cup and a pair of Group 1 races – the 2022 Sprint Stakes and Fillies and Mares Stakes. Here is everything you need to know.
Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup
Group 2, 2 miles, open to horses aged three and over. Total prize pool £500,000
At the time of writing eight horses have been declared, but with some temperamental weather on the horizon, it wouldn’t be a surprise if that number were to reduce before the off.
The favorite for the race is Trueshan, who will be certainly hoping for some give in the ground. Trueshan has made this race his own having won it in both 2020 and 2021. Still just 6, he has every chance of making it three wins in succession.
Looking to dethrone Trueshan is recent St Leger Stakes winner Elder Eldarov. A three-year-old clearly going places, this step up in distance looks sure to suit. Still relatively unexposed this will be just his sixth career start and there could be more to come. Whether he has the stamina to last the trip remains to be seen, but all signs point towards a positive showing.
Aiden O’Brien looks to have the biggest star in the staying division with Ascot Gold Cup winner Kyprios. Kyprios is swerving this assignment and O’Brien will instead be represented by the combination of Waterville and Wordsworth.
Waterville represents O’Brien’s best chance and this exciting three-year-old will head to Ascot fresh off winning the Irish Cesarewitch. Waterville beat 29 other runners that day but this will be by far his biggest test.
Wordsworth ran in the same race as his stablemate and could only finish in 13th. He has found life tough at this level and might be best watched.
Coltrane could be the value play of the race having beaten Trueshan last time out in the Doncaster Stakes. There was nothing fluky about his victory and at a big price, he could have a major say in proceedings.
Quickthorn smashed the field in this year’s Lonsdale Cup which included Coltrane. As impressive a staying performance as you would wish to see, he couldn’t quite back that performance up in the Group 1 Qatar Prix du Cadran only finishing sixth. In slightly calmer waters look for this front runner to set a fast gallop and nab a place.
Rounding out the field is the John and Thady Gosden-trained Trawlerman and the Willie Mullins-trained Stratum.
Both will be considered outsiders. Trawlerman has been a dominant player in handicap company but will never have raced in a contest this competitive before, whilst Stratum is another stepping up markedly in class. Both will give their running but might find things tough at the business end of the race.
2022 Long Distance Cup Prediction
Trueshan has been the dominant horse in this race over the last few years and it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if he were to be victorious once again. We will take a small chance on Eldar Eldarov running a big race and upsetting the favorite.
|HORSE||JOCKEY||ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS|
|Eldar Eldarov||David Egan||+250|
Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes
Group 1, 6 furlongs, open to horses aged three and over. Total prize pool £532,000
One of the most competitive races of the day comes in the form of the Sprint Stakes where at the time of writing 18 runners have been declared.
Realistically all 18 runners are in with a chance but likely to be the leading the betting is the Charlie Appleby trained Creative Force.
The winner of this race last year, he has only had two runs this summer with this race clearly being the main target. He was desperately unlucky not to win the Group 1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot losing to stablemate Naval Crown right on the line. Creative Force also ran with credit in the July Cup Stakes where he finished a credible 4th. He clearly loves Ascot and if fit and firing he is certainly a leading contender.
Naval Crown will also run in this race and since winning at Ascot, his form hasn’t been so strong. Without a win since, Appleby will be hoping a return to a track he clearly likes will bring out the best of his charge.
Rohaan has quickly developed a reputation for being one of the most consistent horses in training and this is a track he loves. He has won on both of his visits to Ascot this year and his latest win came just a few weeks ago. Clearly in good heart, if granted a clear passage he could be one to keep an eye on.
Kinross has got better and better with each run this season and has won each of his last three races. He arrives at Ascot having won the Group 1 Prix de la Foret and anything close to that will see him run close. He looks the undoubted value angle of the race.
Having been off the track since May it’s hard to know what sort of fitness Brad The Brief will be in, but he heads to the race after landing his biggest prize to date in the Group 2 Greenland Stakes. He is unbeaten this season and at a big price could be one of the more attractive long-shot options.
2022 Sprint Stakes Prediction
Kinross has just got better with each and every run this season and heads to Ascot full of confidence. As long as this race hasn’t come too soon, he could be in contention to bag his second consecutive Group 1 contest.
|HORSE||JOCKEY||ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS|
|Creative Force||William Buick||+333|
|Art Power||David Allan||+600|
|Naval Crown||James Doyle||+1000|
|Perfect Power||Tom Marquand||+1000|
|Brad The Brief||David Egan||+1200|
|Castle Star||Jamie Spencer||+1600|
|Go Bears Go||Rossa Ryan||+2500|
|King’s Lynn||David Probert||+2500|
|Double Or Bubble||Jack Mitchell||+3300|
|Run To Freedom||Dane O’Neill||+6600|
|Ventura Diamond||Oisin Orr||+6600|
Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes
Group 1, 1 mile and 4 furlongs, open to fillies and mares aged three and over. Total prize pool £532,000
Another tricky betting heat awaits us in the third race of the day as fourteen fillies have been declared for this year’s Fillies and Mares Stakes.
Headlining the field is the John and Thady Gosden-trained Emily UpJohn. An unlucky runner-up in the Oaks, she ran terribly when a favorite for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Clearly a capable horse, she pulled too hard that day and her connections will be hoping she can settle much better here.
The Gosdens also saddle Mimikyu who was a convincing winner of the Group 2 Coral Park Hill Stakes last time out. The manner of her victory was impressive that day and at a decent price, she could represent the value pick from the Gosden runners.
Eternal Pearl for Charlie Appleby heads into the race looking for her fifth successive win. Both of her last wins have come in lower grades than this contest so a big step forward will be needed. Her win in the Dubai Stakes last time out was impressive and her chances can’t be easily dismissed.
Sea La Rosa for William Haggas is a Fillie who has got better with each run this season and she will head to Ascot fresh off winning the Group 1 Prix de Royallieu. A convincing winner that day, the form is rock solid and she will certainly hope to play a major role in proceedings here.
Francis Graffard will be hoping to bring this prize back to France and runs Sweet Lady here. She seemed to benefit from a long break before winning the Group 1 Prix Vermeille last time out. As long as this run hasn’t come too soon, she is another at a good price who could be worth a look.
No trainer has had a better season in the Fillies division than Irish trainer Paddy Twomey. Twomey will be hoping to finish his season off in style with a win and runs Rosscarbery. A winner at Grade 3 level, she finished a plucky runner-up in the Group 1 Jean Romanet. That was a promising run and she looks like one of the more likely long-shot contenders.
2022 Fillies & Mares Prediction
Despite not winning the Oaks, Emily UpJohn looked a superstar in the making. Her last run at Royal Ascot was bitterly disappointing and we have to hope she would have learned from the experience. We are willing to give her another chance in what could be one of the contests of the day.
|HORSE||JOCKEY||ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS|
|Emily UpJohn||Frankie Dettori||+350|
|Eternal Pearl||William Buick||+500|
|Sea La Rosa||Tom Marquand||+700|
|Sweet Lady||Gregory Benoist||+1000|
|Stay Alert||David Egan||+1200|
|Lilac Road||Cleren Fallon||+1600|
|Rosscarbery||W J Lee||+1600|
|Emily Dickinson||Ryan Moore||+2000|
|Verry Elleegant||Mickael Barzalona||+2500|
|Thunder Kiss||Gary Carroll||+5000|
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