By News Team
15th October 2021
The culmination of the British Flat season takes place at Ascot on Saturday with QIPCO British Champions Day and what a day it should be with six high-class contests.
Nick Luck has previewed every race for us…
TRUESHAN can get British Champions Day off to a steady start by taking the Long Distance Cup (1.25pm) at 7/4. Hard as I scour this race for value alternatives, I actually think that – at the time of writing – the favourite represents the best value, with conditions not quickening so markedly as to inconvenience him and therefore place the ball in Stradivarius’s court. It is true that this test will suit the great Strad better than the deep ground Cadran, but the truth is that Trueshan has consistently performed to a higher level than the Gosden star for well over a year. Of the others, Hamish clearly remains unexposed and The Mediterranean could run a nice race in the money.
HAPPY ROMANCE is set to run a big race in the Sprint (2.00pm) at 12/1. She has slipped slightly under the radar as a top notcher as the first part of her season was pretty undistinguished, but she’s really got it together the last twice, finishing off particularly well in the Sprint Cup at Haydock to be beaten less than a length. This will be a less sharp test of pure pace, and she’ll have plenty to run at here from what could be a pretty good draw.
LA JOCONDE is strictly an each-way play at 28/1 in the Fillies and Mares (2.35pm). You can forget her last run as she was quite far back in a messy race over too short a trip against a track bias. There is a strong possibility that she is the lone speed in this race and, back over a distance that will suit, she could catch a few of these out given how well Hollie Doyle has maximised the filly’s ability in their past assignments together. Now obviously she has work to do with Snowfall and Albaflora, but the favourite has had a long season and comes here off a tough race in the Arc, while Albaflora is well credentialed, but is a quarter the price of the selection conceding the age allowance.
PALACE PIER can finish his career on a high in the QEII (3.10pm). But for a collection of rather unfortunate circumstances in this race last year – terrible ground, a lost shoe, a poor draw and making his move way too rapidly mid-race – he would be unbeaten. Conditions look absolutely perfect for him this time, he’s drawn alongside Benbatl who should tow him nicely into the race and – if John Gosden is right that he can build on his Jacques le Marois win – he’ll be very hard to beat at 7/4, notwithstanding the immense talent and potential of Baaeed.
ADAYAR (2/1) can make it 2-0 over Mishriff in the Champion Stakes (3.50pm). I agonised long and hard over this, but that relentlessness in the King George combined with that flash of brilliance in the Arc convinces me that he is the real deal. He might have needed his run in Paris given his burly frame and long absence, while the rail was almost certainly a disadvantage, as was having to make his own running. My belief is that he will be well suited by a drop to 10 furlongs: he should settle better and his pedigree suggests it is what he ought to be doing. I can envisage a Cracksman-esque performance if everything drops right.
KING LEONIDAS could be the answer to the Balmoral (4.30pm) at 6/1. He clearly has to answer to stable companion Sunray Major, who is definitely at least a Group 2 horse. But the favourite is pretty rapid, like his brother Kingman, and a really well run mile might just stretch him a little on easy ground. The selection, by contrast, may want a bit further, but he could hardly have run with more encouragement on his recent run at Newbury, travelling well enough to suggest he could cope with the drop in trip.