QIPCO British Champions Day 2020 Ascot

QIPCO British Champions Day 2020 Ante-Post Portfolio

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes: Palace Pier Evens
QIPCO British Champions Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes:  Mehdaayih 16-1 each-way

QIPCO British Champions Day 2020 Ascot The Tips

I finish the day -3.9 to level stakes on not a great day for me but a great day for the golden couple of Marquand and Doyle! 

It is the 10th anniversary of the meeting marketed as ‘the Ultimate Raceday’ down at Ascot this weekend, QIPCO British Champions Day. I still think of it as quiet new, and I suppose in the history of the sport it is, but it is very much part of the calendar now. Thankfully following the Arc meeting in Paris the weather hasn’t been the main talking point in the build-up this year! It will be soft going but certainly not bottomless with the forecast for the day cloudy and chilly but no rain. Prize-money is down slightly this year unsurprisingly but there is still £2.5 million up for grabs. We have Four Group One’s and a Group Two to enjoy. I managed to make a profit on the day last year and all being well will do so again this Saturday.  

No rule of six on this site, I am punting in the five pattern races but not the closing handicap, and the five bets can be found below.  

We get underway at 1:20 with the Group Two 2m QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup. No great surprise that Stradivarius headed the ante-post market back at the sort of trip you expect to see him following a couple of runs over 1m4f. He went odds-on on Monday when it became clear he would be here. Beaten in this last year by Kew Gardens (winner tipped on here) in a thriller after a busy few weeks if there is a chink in his armour it might be tiredness bearing in mind how busy he has been lately. Can he regain his crown? Yes of course he can. Will he? It's hard to be completely confident. I wondered if ‘the lads’ might run Passion in this but she isn’t part of the O’Brien raiding team. Broome is one that has to enter calculations, though the trip is a bit of an unknown, his wins have been on soft or yielding. Dawn Patrol is perhaps the main Ballydoyle hope off the back of his win over two-mile at the Curragh recently. Fujaira Prince has won me a couple of bob this season and certainly deserves his place in the line-up. He just lost out in the G.3 Irish St. Leger last time and the Ebor winner will surely go close here. Search For A Song is the horse that beat him in Ireland and off the back of that run has an obvious each-way chance especially with the 3lb she gets from the boys. Having won the Irish St Leger twice now she clearly enjoys a stamina test and Dermot Weld aint one for sending them over just for a day out. The softer going is a question mark, and at 6-1 the bookies aint taken a chance on her price, but she looks booked for a place at least. I am on each-way and if the jolly falters.....................

At 1:55 we have the speedsters out for the Group One QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes over the six furlongs which is in my opinion the trickiest heat of the day. Dream Of Dreams won the G.1 Sprint Cup at Haydock on soft and will surely go closer than his disappointing run in this last year on heavy. Dirty Dozen member Art Power has a squeak but has come up a little short at the top level and there is no reason to believe he can reverse the Haydock form with the favourite. G.1 July Cup Stakes winner Oxted is considered connections having decided to come following his workout earlier this week over at Lambourn but I think he would have preferred faster ground. Starman won a Listed heat last time on only his third start on softish going and remains open to any amount of improvement, though he’ll need to improve by about half-a-stone here. Two of those behind him at York have come out and won G.3’s since giving the form a solid look and he wasn’t exactly all out to win by just under two-lengths. A chance is taken that he has the improvement in him at the 10-1 that’s about generally that will hopefully look very generous after the race.  

At 2.30 it is the Group One 1m4f QIPCO British Champions Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes a race that has broken-up a little. Love and Enable headed the ante-post market but neither were ever likely to come, whilst I thought Magical was always going to defend her crown in the Champion. The one I had an eye on was Fancy Blue after she couldn’t run in France on the Arc card but she won’t be here either having been retired due to an injury. Mehdaayih was the subject of a couple of glowing reports from the Newmarket Gallops in late September and early this month. Fifth in the Champion Stakes last year at the meeting she has only been seen once this season when sixth in the G.1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at the Royal Meeting. Paddy Power were by far biggest at 16-1 in the week and I have that each-way. It is easy to forget she was jolly for the Oaks last season and if Gosden has her at her best, which the gallops reports suggest she might be, she will go very close in this especially with the four biggest names in the division this season not here for one reason or another. The fact Dettori rides is seen as a positive as you would expect he had the pick of a few in this. Three-year-old Wonderful Tonight gets the weight and has a chance though she looked very at home winning over two-mile in the G.1 Prix de Royallieu and may find this trip on the short side now. My Oaks tip Frankly Darling is considered but she has been found wanting in her two tries at G.1 level.  

The Group One Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO over a mile is due off at 03.05. The unbeaten Palace Pier has been odds-on in places for a while for this, basically since he won the G.1 Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois at Deauville. Speaking after that win John Gosden said: "We've got to be thrilled with him and I'd just love to see him back on good to soft. The big target with him now is the QEII. I don't see him as a Breeders' Cup Mile horse, I really see him as a mile or mile-and-a-quarter horse. I'm not sure about the tight turns of America. My question is rather does he go to the Moulin or not and then it will definitely be the QEII. Quite frankly after that I'd like to put him away for next year.” He is arguably the best miler in Europe right now, won't mind the likely soft under hoof conditions and was being aimed at the race. I took Evens a couple of weeks back and have been waiting to collect ever since! Speaking to the Racing Post website on Friday Gosden said: "Palace Pier breezed nicely yesterday and cantered this morning. It's been the plan to bring him to Ascot since he won at Deauville in August. As there weren't any opportunities for him here, the only other race he could have run in was the Prix Moulin, but it didn't seem to make a heap of sense to go back to France having only just been over there so that's why we've waited." Circus Maximus is naturally feared but has to give the selection 3lb and is officially rated 6lb inferior. The four-year-old will be there or thereabouts though. Francis-Henri Graffard’s mud-lover The Revenant was runner-up last year and returns. Graffard said recently “Everything is fine. The horse needed the run the other day, he has improved a lot and he should be spot on for Saturday. I don’t think the ground will be as soft as last year, but it should be fine for him." He should be in the places again.  

The main event is the 3:40 the Group One QIPCO Champion Stakes over 1m2f. Second last year with the word soft in the going Addeybb has to be on any shortlist. Magical is back again to defend her crown and the ultra-consistent mare is naturally considered. She went jolly midweek as soon as the O’Brien camp confirmed for definite she would come for this race. You know you’ll get a run for your money but she is short enough. I couldn’t back Japan with your money and who knows about Derby winner Serpentine? Lord North was second in the Balmoral Handicap last year which shows how much he has improved this season! The G.1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes winner will be popular with many. French raider Skalleti travels over in fine form and with some impressive scalps to his name including beating Sottass at Deauville in August. He won the G.2 Prix Dollar over Arc weekend and has a chance of grabbing some place money at least. G.1 Prix du Jockey Club winner Mishriff headed the ante-post market and with the weight-for-age the colt has a big chance in this line-up. He has form on the going and there could be more to come yet from the Gosden trained three-year-old. There is a lot to like about the way he has won the last twice and it is hoped the turbo can kick-in again in the final half-a-furlong and see him go clear as I am on at 3-1. Talking again on the R.P. website again Gosden said "He's bringing French form to the table so we'll see how that stacks up, but he'll like the ground and this has been the plan since August.” John Gosden has the A-Team of the meeting and as Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith used to say 'I love it when a plan comes together'.

The card ends at 4:15 with the Balmoral Handicap Stakes but I will be feet-up with a glass of something by then as I really don’t fancy anything in the race.  

Be lucky  

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5th October 2020: 

I had to take a bit of the Evens that I saw about Palace Pier in the mile Group One Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. He is arguably the best miler in Europe right now, won't mind the likely soft underhoof conditions and is being aimed at the race. John Gosden did us punters a favour quite clearly stating this as his target after the colt won the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois at Deauville. The trained said  "We've got to be thrilled with him and I'd just love to see him back on good to soft. The big target with him now is the QEII. I don't see him as a Breeders' Cup Mile horse, I really see him as a mile or mile-and-a-quarter horse. I'm not sure about the tight turns of America. My question is rather does he go to the Moulin or not and then it will definitely be the QEII. Quite frankly after that I'd like to put him away for next year.” 

12th October 2020: 
Mehdaayih was the subject of a couple of glowing reports from the Newmarket Gallops in late September and early this month. Fifth in the Champion Stakes last year at the meeting she has only been seen once this season when sixth in the G.1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at the Royal Meeting. Paddy Power are by far biggest at 16-1 and I have that each-way. It is easy to forget she was jolly for the Oaks last season and if Gosden has her at her best, which the gallops reports suggest she might be, she will go very close in this with a number of the big names obviously not going to be here now.

14th October 2020:
Today it has been revealed that Kameko will miss Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot and head straight to next month’s Breeders’ Cup meeting. I can't say I am surprised and in fact it makes the job for Palace Pier that little bit easier. In better news for the meeting trainer Roger Teal has said Oxted now looks likely to  line-up in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes and it would appear last year’s winner Magical will go in the Qipco Champion Stakes and defend her crown. A note of caution if you were thinking of an ante-post plunge O'Brien was keen to stress all plans are subject to change to for his runners.