Ascot British Champions Day Betting Tips – 20th October 2018

Horses Racing in a Group

Late October each year sees one of the most anticipated single days of racing of the British flat racing season take place at one of the country’s most iconic racecourses. For many racing fans it is the five day extravaganza which is the Royal Ascot Festival which is the undoubted highlight of the flat season, and the scene of many of the most abiding memories of the campaign year after year. It is therefore only fitting that we return to the Berkshire venue for the season-ending celebration that is British Champions Day.

With contests for the best sprinters, milers, fillies and stayers and of course the headline act of the British Champions Stakes itself, as well as the crowning of the champion flat jockey of the season, this meeting acts as the perfect send off for the best of the flat performers before the winter nights set in and focus turns towards the jumps.

It may be named “British Champions Day”, but rest assured that the stellar prize money on offer will attract not only the top domestic performers, but also those from Ireland, France and occasionally even further afield.

Unlike many of the major racing events of the season, there may be just the one day to this meeting, but it certainly crams a lot in to what is an exceptional six race card. The Champion Stakes tops a quartet of Group 1 contests, with a Group 2 for the stayers and a high quality handicap rounding out the card.

1:25pm – Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2), 2m

Flag Of Honour to win at 9/4 with bet365

John Gosden’s Stradivarius will likely be all the rage in the opener, and it’s pretty easy to see why. With the Yorkshire Cup, Goodwood Cup, Lonsdale Cup, Gold Cup and a £1million bonus already on the CV this season, this son of Sea The Stars is the undoubted king of the staying division. He’s two from three at this track, but that sole defeat did come when third in this race last year. Like 12 months ago, the ground looks set to be riding soft again this year and the favourite may just be worth taking on given his record on this sort of going.

Kew Gardens and Capri would both be interesting contenders for Aidan O’Brien if taking up this engagement but they may well be rested here. As such, the one to be on is the horse which connections have already supplemented for the race. Flag Of Honour didn’t quite cut it at 1m2f-1m4f, but has proved a different proposition since being stepped up in trip. A perfect three from three at 1m6f, including in the Group 1 Irish St Leger last time out, he looks a horse on the up and may have more to offer stepping up to 2m for the first time here.

2:00pm – Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1), 6f

Librisa Breeze each way at 5/1 with BetVictor

The sprinters take to the track next with the market set to be headed by the 2016 winner of this, The Tin Man. The James Fanshawe runner certainly arrives in good heart, having proved that he does handle give underfoot after all when landing a heavy ground Sprint Cup at Haydock last time out. He warrants his place towards the head of the market but has never managed to win back to back races in his 20 career starts to date which just puts us off at a shortish price.

This doesn’t look a particularly strong year for the three year olds, with Commonwealth Cup runner up, Sands Of Mali probably the best of them. He makes some appeal at a big price, but does have a bit to find and doesn’t quite offer the value to our eyes.

The one to carry our cash is the defending Champion, Librisa Breeze. The Dean Ivory runner ran a shocker when last of eight last time out in the Hungerford Stakes over 7f, but had previously shown the ability still remains at six years of age when a good fourth in a Group 1 in France. Having been given a couple of months off to sort himself out following that flop at Newbury, we expect a much better effort here.

The real key to this one though is the ground. In six career starts on going containing the word soft in the description, he has never finished outside of the first two, including when coming home 1¼l clear of the field in this race 12 months ago. The Tony Bloom runner looks a solid each way bet at the prices.

2:40pm – Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1), 1m4f

Hydrangea each way at 8/1 with Coral

The family of Lah Ti Dar have certainly been in the headlines for all the right reasons lately thanks to the exploits of her brother Too Darn Hot. This John Gosden filly hasn’t been running too badly herself though in winning three of her four starts to date, with the only defeat coming when runner up in the St. Leger last time out. She’ll start favourite here but was just found slightly wanting in the stamina department at Doncaster, and with the ground at the track currently riding soft, may not be ideally suited should this turn into a real test, as seems very likely.

We will once again stick with the winner from 12 months ago and lend our support to Aidan O’Brien’s Hydrangea here. Ignore her effort last time out as the yard was under something of an illness cloud at the time and think back instead to her run here 12 months ago.

To put a real soft ground specialist like Bateel to the sword to the tune of two lengths was no mean feat and a repeat of anything like that performance may make her very tough to beat. Having hit the line really strongly that day, she may well be the one to expose any chinks in the stamina of the market leader and odds of 8/1 look well worth a punt to us.

3:15pm – Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1), 1m

Addeybb each way at 6/1 with Ladbrokes

The betting for the big mile contest of the day will likely be shaped by the participation – or otherwise – of John Gosden’s Roaring Lion. The best horse in the current field also holds an entry in the Champion Stakes, but the testing ground may yet lead to him being dropped in trip for this instead. He has been beaten twice at this mile distance already this season though and as such we will look elsewhere.

Karl Burke’s Laurens will likely give it a good go on the front end once again, and whilst she is now thoroughly proven in this grade the suspicion is that she won’t enjoy quite such an easy time of it as she did when clinging on in the Sun Chariot Stakes last time out. In receipt of weight from the boys she nevertheless likely won’t be too far away.

This may be a Group 1 contest, but we wouldn’t be surprised were it the form of the Lincoln Handicap which comes to the fore here with both the winner and runner up from that event – Addeybb and Lord Glitters – greatly respected.

Preference is for the former. The William Haggas runner just about turned that contest into a procession that day, thrives with give underfoot and arrives here a fresher horse than most on the back of a significant break.

3:50pm –Qipco Champion Stakes (Group 1), 1m2f

Cracksman to win at 5/6 with bet365

The big race of the day may well come down to a head to head clash between John Gosden and Sir Michael Stoute with the betting market making this just about a duel between Cracksman and Crystal Ocean. With the pair well clear of the field on official ratings – unless Roaring Lion turns up – it’s tough to argue with that assessment. Crystal Ocean has enjoyed an excellent campaign, winning his first three and finding only the superb Poet’s Word and Enable too good in his two most recent starts. However, all things considered, we just prefer the claims of the defending champion once again in this one so it is Cracksman for us.

The son of Frankel didn’t just win this race last year, he absolutely routed a field including Poet’s Word to the tune of seven lengths. Given a 122-day break following his disappointing effort in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, he comes back for one last hurrah here before joining his sire in the stallion ranks. A perfect five from five with give underfoot, he looks set to have ideal conditions and should take some stopping under Ascot hero Frankie Dettori.

4:30pm – Balmoral Handicap (Class 2), 1m

South Seas each way at 20/1 with Ladbrokes

The sole handicap of the day closes out the card in a race in which each of the four editions to date have been won by a runner either four or five years of age, a fact which speaks against current market leaders Raising Sand and Flaming Spear.

One who does fit the bill is the Andrew Balding runner, South Seas. This son of Lope De Vega has some pretty smart back form, including when runner up to Dubai World Cup winner, Thunder Snow, in a Group 1 in France.

Whilst he clearly hasn’t quite gone on to deliver all that was hoped of him, he may be up to making his presence felt here. Three times a winner on soft or good to soft, he was rated as high as 110 in his pomp and gets in off 102 here. With the talented Oisin Murphy doing the steering he looks worth an each way punt at big odds of 20/1.