By News Team
16th October 2020
It’s the culmination of the British Flat season on Saturday as Ascot hosts British Champions Day. With four Group Ones as well as Europe’s richest handicap, it’s a card that has all bases covered and here are Nick Luck’s thoughts and fancies on all the action.
British Champions Day, Ascot
BROOME is an each-way play at 14/1 in the Long Distance Cup (1.20pm) race that opens up British Champions’ Day. There are very few horses in here who really want soft autumn ground, and I’ve no interest in backing Stradivarius at 10/11 wheeling back so soon after the Arc. Broome has often been described a lazy by his trainer but has just the man to wake him up in Colin Keane and is unbeaten (and impressive) in three tries on yielding ground or softer, including two sound beatings of stablemate Sovereign. He finished one place behind Stradivarius when given no chance against the bias behind Ghaiyyath at Newmarket and is completely unexposed at the trip, which must suit.
STARMAN is very lightly raced against some old timers, but he might just be the answer to a very tricky Champions’ Sprint (1.55pm). No disrespect to Dream Of Dreams, but the Haydock form isn’t an insurmountable standard, while Oxted is a brilliant horse, but I fear this stiff six on soft might just blunt that brilliance. One Master is a lovely mare, but needed it bottomless to plug on into second last year and this is a better race.
My selection is unbeaten, and to wallop Dakota Gold on just his third lifetime start marked him out as a bit special. His pedigree says he wants a test at this trip, and his run style will suit Ascot’s stiff finish with horses coming back to him. He’s exciting and looks the play at 10/1.
MEHDAAYIH gets the vote in the Fillies’ and Mares’ at 12/1 (2.30pm) – again, we’ve not seen a whole lot of her this year, but her form in last year’s Nassau and Champion Stakes give her a pretty clear class edge. She ran perfectly okay against colts at Royal Ascot on her last appearance, and will be comfortable here over 12 furlongs, against her own gender, and on softish ground: the last twice she had that precise set up, she first beat Manuela De Vega by five lengths and then won a Group Two at Saint Cloud on the bridle.
THE REVENANT is still quite a decent price at 4/1 to upset Palace Pier in the QEII (3.05pm). Second – and arguably rather unlucky – last year, he apparently was more in need of the run on his comeback this time. If that was the case, he might have improved, because he achieved more on the formbook and that should have set him up perfectly. His stable have continued in blistering form since their terrific Arc weekend, and this horse looks sure to run well.
I have nothing negative to say about Palace Pier, but in the unlikely event of a blowout, I’ll also be having bit each-way at a hefty 66/1 on DARK VISION, who is starting to show that his two-year-old brilliance wasn’t a flash in the pan. He knocked in a serious effort when beating the Montatham in the Royal Hunt Cup here and bettered that again with a defeat of the Sun Chariot runner-up Half Light at Baden Baden. I’m not a great one for form stemming, but that at least indicates he shouldn’t be five times the price of Nazeef.
I’m prepared to give JAPAN (14/1) (I almost can’t believe I am writing this) one last chance in the Champions Stakes (3.40pm). On his day, he’s a talented as any of these, but is going to need a bit of a burn up at this trip. With Serpentine and Magical in the field, it seems impossible that Ballydoyle will not have complete command of the race set-up, as there isn’t much else around in the way of pace. I see Serpentine drving forward from stall five, and Magical to sit behind – Japan should get the perfect tow round the inside fence from stall two. Memories are short in this game: Ryan Moore chose the selection over Magical in the Irish Champion Stakes and seemed adamant in his post race interview that you would see a much better Japan next time out. Here we are, then.
ORBAAN (16/1) could be another winner of the Balmoral (4.15pm) for David O’Meara, who has an excellent record in the race. He is definitely drawn in the thick of the action alongside his two main dangers, Keats and King Ottokar and, if Danny Tudhope is brave enough to leave his challenge late, he might just enjoy the way the race unfolds. It is worth remembering that this is a horse that former trainer Andre Fabre thought talented enough to run in the Sussex Stakes on just his fourth start, and he looked like he was about to produce a peak effort when fourth at this track under Jamie Spencer last time.