Neil Morrice brings us all of his best bets and tips from Ascot Champions Day and Wolverhamption.
Neil shares his Ascot Champions Day tips below:
ASCOT CHAMPIONS DAY
Race 1 QIPCO BRITISH CHAMPIONS LONG DISTANCE CUP (Group 2)
Trainer: William Haggas – Jockey: Tom Marquand
With Stradivarius showing signs of regression in the evening of what has been a stellar career, Trueshan and HAMISH are new kids on the Cup block that can fight out the finish to provide a stirring start to Champions’ Day. Trueshan took out the corresponding race in impressive style 12 months ago and had the Indian sign on Stradivarius in similarly testing conditions in Longchamp’s Prix du Cadran. There is no obvious reason why that form should be turned around, but in Hamish the Haggas stable fields a proper pretender to the crown. Despite encountering training issues through his four and five-year-old campaigns the Motivator gelding has retained all his ability. He showed that when dispatching Hukum in the September Stakes, and though that was on Polytrack my selection has produced his best form. Furthermore, Hukum gave the form a nightly boost when running away with the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at the last meeting here.
Prediction: 1st HAMISH, 2nd Trueshan, 3rd Stradivarius
Race 2 QIPCO BRITISH CHAMPIONS SPRINT STAKES (Group1)
No19 VADREAM (Each Way)
Trainer: Charlie Fellowes – Jockey: David Egan
Fellowes’ faith in VADREAM was realised when the filly scooted upon a Group 3 over course and distance a fortnight ago. That was just reward for a couple of luckless defeats and showed she is more than capable of cutting it at Pattern level. On the book, Vadream has a bit to find with a couple of these, but when a filly finds her form in the autumn in the manner she has they can produce extraordinary improvement.
Art Power sets the standard in as much as he likes this course, earned in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee and July Cup and ran right away with a Group 3 at the Curragh. If that has injected confidence into the grey he can again get into the money on a terrain that holds no perils for him. Dragon Symbol has peppered the board with near-misses as well as seeing his number taken down after finishing first in the Commonwealth Cup. Like Vadream he requires everything to drop right, and should that happen he is a player.
Prediction: 1st VADREAM, 2nd Art Power, 3rd Dragon Symbol
Race 3 QIPCO BRITISH CHAMPIONS FILLIES AND MARES STAKES (Group 1)
Trainer: Andrew Balding – Jockey: John Egan
If Snowfall is starting to train off, this fascinating race for distaffers can see INVITE taking advantage. A daughter of The Gurkha, Invite is a dark improver granted that on her only start for Balding she bolted up in a Listed race at Chester. She enjoyed getting her toe into the ground on the Roodee, and is the subject of some rave reviews from Kingsclere. Snowfall was a sensational winner of the Cazoo Oaks and duly followed-up in the Yorkshire Oaks, but since York cracks have emerged with a shock defeat by Teona in the Prix Vermeille and what amounts to only a satisfactory effort to finish sixth behind Torquator Passo in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Another filly attempting to re-establish herself is Eshaada, whose Ribblesdale second here in June reads well, but she needs to put behind her a thrashing by Snowfall at York, in which she was beaten by a distance.
Prediction: 1st INVITE, 2nd Snowfall, 3rd Eshaada
Race 4 QUEEN ELIZABETH II STAKES (Group 1)
No9 ALCOHOL FREE (Each Way)
Trainer: Andrew Balding – Jockey: Oisin Murphy
The ante-post market has been dominated by last year’s runner-up Palace Pier and rising star Baaeed, and while this pair will attract the lion’s share of the betting handle on the prize, ALCOHOL FREE can cause them problems. Palace Pier hasn’t put a foot wrong this year with four straight successes, and when holding Poetic Flare in the Jacques Le Marois at Deauville the colt showed he knows how to win. However, his only defeat happened on rain-softened conditions and there’s a chance the going could again blunt his impressive turn of foot. Baaeed puts a five-race unbeaten record on the line as he tries to follow up a clear cut success over Order Of Australia in the Prix Moulin (Group 1). He dispatched an unspectacular set of rivals that day in Paris, and worryingly for connections, the form has taken a couple of hefty knocks. With regard to Alcohol Free, she has a good chance of upsetting Palace Pier on a line through Poetic Flare, who is a very reliable yardstick. The one thing you have to do is forgive the Coronation Stakes heroine her flop over a longer trip in the Juddmonte last time, which is something I’m prepared to do as she reverts to a mile on the back of a couple of very pleasing workouts.
Prediction: 1st ALCOHOL FREE, 2nd Palace Pier, 3rd Baaeed
Race 5 QIPCO CHAMPION STAKES (Group 1)
No10 SEALIWAY (Each Way)
Trainer: Cedric Rossi – Jockey: Mickael Barzalona
Mishriff looked the real deal when taking out the Juddmonte at York and is a worthy favourite for a strong renewal of this historic contest. Though unable to contain Adayar in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, John Gosden’s colt is clearly at his best over the mile and a quarter he encounters today. Adayar tried to go for glory a long way out in the Arc and paid the price when tiring in the final furlong. He looked to have quite a hard race, and this comes very quickly after Longchamp. Addeybb was an impressive winner of the corresponding race 12 months ago when displaying his love for soft ground. A horse that has played a major part in making the career of his jockey Tom Marquand, he’s had this on his radar ever since chasing home St Mark’s Basilica in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in early July. Dubai Honour is a fast improver in the same trainership as Addeybb, but could find this a bridge too far, and the one that can provide a surprise package is French raider SEALIWAY. Having chased the shadow of St Mark’s Basilica in the French Guineas and Derby, Sealiway returned from a break needing the race but nevertheless running a cracker to finish fifth in the Arc. The Galiway colt became visibly tired and struggled with the trip, but its a run that’s put him spot on for today, and at double-figure odds he rates a very attractive each-way proposition.
Prediction: 1st SEALIWAY, 2nd Mishriff, 3rd Addeybb
Race 6 No6 ESCOBAR (Each Way)
Trainer: David O’Meara – Jockey: Adam Kirby
Seven-year-old ESCOBAR is one of the senior runners in the nightcap, which provides with its 20-strong field the betting extravaganza of the day. He’s familiar with the Ascot terrain, having contested the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in 2020. More recently he fluffed his lines behind Aldaary here, but though that rival and the upwardly mobile Sunray Major have bold claims, Escobar can bounce back and get into the shake-up.
Race 5 No3 HASTY SAILOR
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute – Jockey: Richard Kingscote
Lightly-raced HASTY SAILOR has progressed from race to race in just three outings this year, latterly opening his account at Newcastle. Back from a break, he can serve notice that he will be a force in his trainer’s all-weather team for the remainder of the year.
Race 6 No2 ATACAMA DESERT
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute – Jockey: Richard Kingscote
With Emblem Empire saddled with a penalty, ATACAMA DESERT could be the way to go in this interesting novice. The close relative of Main Sequence has a better draw than his rival and has trained well ahead of this first foray onto the race track.
Race 7 No7 SYMBOL OF LIGHT
Trainer: Charlie Appleby – Jockey: Robert Winston
Winston’s recent return to the jockey ranks can be greeted with a success for Godolphin on SYMBOL OF LIGHT who shaped well on his Newmarket introduction and will be wiser for it. He has trained well on an all-weather surface at home.
Place Accumulater Perm (Races 2-8)
5, 1, 7 x 4, 2 x 1, 5 x 3 x 2, 1 x 7 x 1, 6