QIPCO British Champions Day 2022 Ascot
QIPCO British Champions Day 2022 Ante-Post Portfolio
Qipco Champion Stakes: Adayar 14-1 each-way
QIPCO British Champions Day 2022 Ascot The Tips
It is Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot and we have Four Group One’s and a Group Two to enjoy with the small matter of £4 million prize money up for grabs. I have been sitting on a ticket for Adayar in the Champion Stakes for a while but that was my only ante-post punt this year with running plans up in the air for so many this year. As it turns out we have a number of equine superstars running and the highest rated thoroughbred in the world right now on show. The five bets for Qipco British Champions Day follow.
1.25 Group Two Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup – two-mile
Trueshan heads the market and will get his preferred going but was beaten by the re-opposing Coltrane last time at Doncaster when everything was in his favour so has questions to answer at the moment for me. His track and trip record is two from two having won this contest as he liked for the past two years so is feared but I can’t have him off the back of his last two runs – I think his effort in winning the Northumberland Plate off top-weight may have left a mark. St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov showed some fighting spirit to get up there and gets 9lb from the older horses which gives him every chance if his Doncaster heroics haven’t left their mark. He won the G.2 1m6f Queen's Vase here at the Royal Meeting loving every yard of the straight on this track to get up on the line in that so he clearly doesn’t mind a battle and both those wins suggest two-miles should hold no fears. Roger Varian clearly thinks so saying this week “He’s been progressing all year and seems to be getting better. We think his best is still to come, hopefully on Saturday and beyond into next year. He shapes like he’ll stay two miles, looks like he might be better over it.” I am on the three-year-old at the standout 11-4 with Power this morning BPG.
2.00 Group One Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes – 6f
Defending champion and Dirty Dozen member Creative Force is yet to won this season after three starts but has plenty of form in the book on softer going, as when taking this last year, and does seem to go well up this strip – also won the 7f G.3 Jersey Stakes last year. He was only just chinned by Naval Crown in the G.1 6f Platinum Jubilee Stakes at the Royal Meeting, behind that one again in the G.1 July Cup at HQ on his last appearance, but I am convinced this six-furlongs on softer going is ideal. Charlie Appleby has spoken about how a decision was made to wait for the autumn conditions after the July Cup he added this week “Creative Force was at the top of his form at Royal Ascot on quick ground and put up another solid run in the Darley July Cup, but we know he brings more to the table with ease in the conditions. That’s why we made the decision to give him a break and wait for this target. For me, he is the favourite they all have to beat.” As I mentioned on the Dirty Dozen page at the start of the season Charlie Appleby said in November 2021 “The idea with Creative Force will be to work back from another crack at the British Champions Sprint” well here we are and I am on at 4-1 BPG early. As for each-way options Perfect Power won the 5f G.2 Norfolk at two and the 6f G.1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot this year in two runs here so appears to like the track. In the build-up Richard Fahey said if his charge “He loves Ascot. I thought about going to France, but speaking to Sheikh Rashid (Dalmook Al Maktoum, owner) we decided to go straight there (Ascot) with him.” Kinross drops back to six having won the G.1 Prix de la Foret on Arc weekend whilst Art Power, a recent winner for me in Ireland, has every chance of being in the shake-up.
2.40 Group One Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes – 1m4f
Charlie Appleby and William Buick rely on Eternal Pearl here with the filly chasing a five-timer; her preparation couldn’t have gone better. She has to improve again to win here but she has a couple of G.3’s to her name and form on softish going. Charlie Appleby said this week on the Godolphin website “You can see improvement in Eternal Pearl on what she has done on the track and you see that improvement at home physically as well. She is a nice Frankel filly out of one of our homebred mares who has strengthened throughout the year. That’s why we purposefully have not dipped our toe into G1 company already because we wanted to give her that time to develop. She goes into this with a lovely profile. This is her big step up into G1 level and she goes into it in great order. I feel that we have minded her in the right manner and she is going there with the best chance to put herself up on the top table. She ran on soft ground at Goodwood and handled the conditions, so we are quite relaxed ground-wise on what we could potentially encounter at Ascot. She has a bit to find but we don’t know where her ceiling is yet.” I am on at 5-1 that I took on Thursday evening. Emily Upjohn was hugely disappointing in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes over track and trip when last seen in July and the going is an unknown for her. A hood goes on and she could have more to offer yet, but if you take Nashwa out of the Oaks form (she has won twice over 1m2f since) the rest aint done that much to stamp the form of her second at Epsom other than Tuesday running well in defeat four times since. As can happen with fillies she may have left her season on the Epsom Downs in her ill-fated second place run in the Classic.
3.20 Group One Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Sponsored By Qipco) - straight mile
This looks a proper race With Modern Games, Inspiral and 2020 winner The Revenant in the line-up. Modern Games showed his wellbeing hammering a field out in Canada last time in the G.1 Woodbine Mile Stakes. Before that he was second to Baaeed at Goodwood in the G.1 Sussex Stakes and in being beaten 1¾ lengths got closer than most have to that colt over a mile! The concern is he may want the ground better than it is, Charlie Appleby has said he won’t run if too soft, and the Breeders Cup is the main target going by all the interviews I have listened to. Inspiral has just the one defeat to her name, when second in the G.1 Falmouth Stakes at HQ and as a three-year-old filly gets various allowances from the rest of the field. On her previous visit here she was impressive when winning the G.1 Coronation Stakes on the round course but wasn’t exactly breath taking in the G.1 Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville last time when winning by a neck. With the ground perhaps not ideal for her either this is a hard call and The Revenant has to be considered as the one that will like it soft. That said a line through Prix Jacques le Marois third placed Erevann, who beat The Revenant in the G.2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein last time, gives Inspiral the edge on him. I am on the filly at a very short 11-8 this morning BPG with Modern Games very much feared and The Revenant also a concern.
Footnote: I am on Modern Games at 2-1 ante-post for the Breeders Cup Mile.
4.00 Group One Qipco Champion Stakes – 1m2f
I backed Adayar at 2-1 last year when a disappointing fifth but that was at the end of a busy campaign whereas this season, he arrives fresh as a daisy after just one run and I am on again this time at 14-1 each-way ante-post. Yes, there is the small matter of Baaeed standing in his way but he looks a certainty to place-up and if any horse in training can finally lower the colours of the world number one it is, hopefully, Adayar over 1m2f in October at Ascot. We know how good he is, he was of course the first horse since Galileo in 2001 to win the Derby and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes in the same season last year, and on breeding, especially on the Dam side, you might argue this shorter trip of ten-furlongs would suit him best. Talking earlier this month Charlie Appelby said “Coming back to a mile and a quarter was something I felt was going to suit him – he’s out of one of our homebred mares (Anna Salai) and is by Dubawi, so pace was always there. We’re going into Champions Day with fresh legs............. We’re very much looking forward to Ascot and looking forward to him competing at Group One level over 10 furlongs as well as we believe he’s got the pace to do it. t’s going to be a great race (with Baaeed). It is what racing wants and it is what we want to see, two good horses going head-to-head. You only need two horses for a race and hopefully if those two turn up it will be good enough.” There is little I can add to what has already been penned about Dirty Dozen member Baaeed and you can see why he is odds-on. The William Haggas trained four-year-old is rated 8lb superior to Adayar, with that colt in turn rated 7lb clear of the rest of the field. He has been unbackable all year – ruined the point of having him in my Dirty Dozen somewhat – and is unbackable again here. He could well go off to stud unbeaten, but this is real life and not a fairy-tale, you never know..........................
I liked what Charlie Appleby said this week "We are excited and it's good for racing to see two good horses take each other on, although they are not the only ones in the race and you can make cases for others. It's a great race collectively, but Adayar taking on the great unbeaten Baaeed is exciting. Can we beat him? We are going there a fresher horse this year in conditions we are quite relaxed about. It's going to be a fantastic race and hopefully one that will go down in the history books as being one of the great races we have seen over the past few years."
William Buick will be rightly crowned Champion Jockey (that Championship running from 30th April until then end of this meeting) after an incredible season with over 150 winners and a strike-rate of 27%. An interesting side-shoot of the big race is of course Charlie Appleby and William Haggas heading the Trainers' Championship as we go into the big day with over five-million pounds in prize-money trousered so far each. That Championship runs until the end of the calendar year but a big day here for either will make them almost uncatchable.
I am leaving the Balmoral Handicap alone.