By Harry Allwood
QIPCO British Champions Day takes centre stage at Ascot on Saturday and the races look competitive. The ground is going to play a major part and may not suit some of the market principals. I’m siding with horses who will handle conditions and are all capable of going close.
Leg 1: Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup
Selection: Duretto (5)
Duretto will be running over two miles for the first time but shapes as though this stamina test will not be a hinderance. There has been market support for the five-year-old, who has only had two starts this season, and he relished testing conditions when winning at Chester last month.
There are questions marks surrounding all of those above him in the market and Duretto looks capable of at least making the frame.
Leg 2: Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes
Selection: Quiet Reflection (12)
Quiet Reflection won twice at Group One level last year and looked as good as ever when winning a Group Three at Naas last month.
She is versatile ground-wise and has shown some of her best from on soft ground. The four-year-old arrives a fresh horse and connections have sounded bullish about her chances this week.
Leg 3: Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes
Selection: Coronet (7)
Coronet has run respectably in Group One races since winning over course and distance in June. Although she has yet to win on soft, she did finish third at the highest level in May on testing ground.
There should be more to come from the lightly-raced three-year-old and she does not have much to find with the main protagonists.
Leg 4: Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
Selection: Al Wukair (7)
The consistent Al Wukair, who has won four of his six starts, won on soft ground at the highest level in August and is on the upgrade.
This is likely to have been the target for some time and has been kept fresh. The three-year-old does have a bit to find but is sure to run his race once more.
Leg 5: Qipco Champion Stakes
Selection: Poet’s Word (4)
Poet’s Word finished runner-up in the Irish Champion Stakes last time out. He had previously won a Group Three on soft ground.
He is now rated 119 so does not have much to find with the market principals. His stamina is likely to come into play and looks capable of going close.
Leg 6: Balmoral Handicap
Lord Glitters is well handicapped and is versatile ground-wise. The trip looks ideal for the David O’Meara-trained four-year-and he is sure to go close.
Gm Hopkins is not the most consistent but will go close if he is on a going day. The six-year-old has won on soft so should handle conditions and looks on a competitive mark.