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22nd January 2022

Champions Day at Ascot (Sat 20th Oct 2018) – Free Tips and Trends

As we move into the final few weekends of the turf flat season we've another 'crackerjack' of a card this Saturday to look forward to as it's Champions Day at Ascot.

Yes, the Berkshire track is the sole meeting being covered by the ITV cameras this weekend, but with four Group 1's a Group 2 and a competitive handicap its a card that always has a Royal Ascot feel as the best-of-the best from all ranges of trips lock horns.

We get going with the Long Distance Cup over 2m - a race that will revolve around the John Gosden-trained Stradivarius, who has been the staying cup king this season.

The Group One's get going with the Champions Sprint - a contest the James Fanshawe-trained The Tin Man landed in 2016, with Librisa Breeze winning the race last year. The Fillies & Mares Stakes and QEII Stakes are next up before we end the Group One races with the main event - the Champion Stakes. Another 'unmissable' contest that sees the likes of Cracksman and Crystal Ocean doing battle in what looks a top renewal. The card ends with the ultra-competitive Balmoral Handicap.

So, as always, we’ve got it all covered here at TQ with all the key trends, plus our verdict, on each of the LIVE ITV races - we’re confident these trends will point you in the direction of a few winners, or at least help narrow down some of the field to highlight the horses that fit the best profile of past winners – So, let’s get cracking!


Ascot Horse Racing Trends (RUK/ITV)

1.25 - Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2) Cl1 2m ITV

14/16 – Raced within the last 5 weeks
13/16 – Won at Listed or better class previously
13/16 – Winning distance – 1 ¼ lengths or less
12/16 – Aged 5 or older
11/16 – Returned 9/2 or shorter
11/16 – Favourites placed
11/16 – Raced at least 5 times that season
11/16 – Won over at least 2 miles on the flat previously
11/16 – Won at least 5 times previously
8/16 – Raced at Longchamp (3), Ascot (2) or Doncaster (3) last time out
7/16 – Favourites that won (1 joint)
7/16 – Won their latest race
5/16 – Irish-trained winners
3/16 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien
2/16 – Trained by Dermot Weld
Order Of St George (4/5 fav) won the race in 2016
Since 2011: 5 of the last 7 winners came from stalls 2-4 (inc)
Since 2011: Horses from stall 7 have been placed in 4 of the last 6
The average winning odds in the last 10 runnings is 6/1

TQ VERDICT: He’s had a long hard season but it’s still hard to get away from STRADAVARIUS here. John Gosden’s improving stayer has already landed the cool £1million bonus for connections after landing the Yorkshire Cup, Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and the Lonsdale Cup this season and based on the form of those successes will be difficult to topple here. Those against him might look to the hard season he’s had, plus he was also beaten into third in this race last year. He’s the one the others have to aim at, but if you are looking for an alternative then the O’Brien runner – Flag OF Honour – is a big candidate. He’s rated just 4lbs lower than Stradavarius but being a 3 year-old gets a handy 8lbs off the Gosden horse. He also heads here having won his last three, including the Irish St Leger last time out, and looks the latest stayer and potential Cup horse to come out of the Ballydoyle yard. He will be stepping up from 1m6f to 2m here and in what is likely to be soft/heavy going then his stamina will be tested to the max. It will be great to see a few more challengers in this sphere so hopefully Flag Of Honour can make a race of it with Stradavarius, who has had things much his own way in these races this term. Of the rest, Thomas Hobson and Desert Skyline will probably be fighting it out for the minor honours.


2.00 - Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1) Cl1 6f ITV

15/16 – Won over 6f previously
15/16 – Returned 12/1 or shorter
15/16 – Won at least 3 times previously
14/16 –  Raced within the last 6 weeks
14/16 – Raced at least 4 times that season
13/16 – Won at Listed or better class previously
12/16 – Aged 3 or 4 years-old
12/16 – Raced at Ascot previously (3 won)
12/16 – Finished in the top 4 in their latest race
11/16 – Won a Group race previously
10/16 – Favourites placed
10/16 – Raced at Haydock (5), Goodwood (2) or Newbury (3) last time out
4/16 – Won their latest race
4/16 – Favourites that won
Librisa Breeze (10/1) won the race in 2017
The Tin Man (13/2) won the race in 2016
Since 2011: 4 of the last 7 winners have come from stalls 12 (2) or 14 (2)
Since 2011: 4 of the last 7 winners came from double-figure stalls
Since 2011: Horses from stalls 12 placed 5 of the last 7 runnings
Since 2011: Horses from stalls 14 placed 4 of the last 7 runnings

The average winning SP in the last 11 runnings is 13/2

Note: The 2005 renewal was run at Newmarket

TQ VERDICT:All eyes here will be on how the 123-rated Harry Angel returns to the track after a few below-par runs. Yes, he had an excuse in the Diamond Jubilee at Ascot after playing up in the stalls and also getting a leg caught in them, but he seemed to play-up again in the gates at Haydock last time and cold only run 6th of 12 in the Sprint Cup last month. If on-song, he’s the clear on to beat but after those recent experiences he’ll certainly have a lot of risks attached to him too – so he’s not for me. We’ve also got the last two winners of the race lining-up again in The Tin Man (2016) and Librisa Breeze (2017) – both command respect. Of the pair, The Tin Man is a big player based on his recent Sprint Cup win – he had Brando just ½ a length back in second that day and with it also coming on heavy ground then he’s a lot going for him. The only niggle for me is that he’s not the best at backing up his wins – he’s only won back-to-back races once and that came back in 2015. So, LIBRISA BREEZE could be the answer to follow-up last year’s success. The key to him is the soft ground, which he’ll get here. He’s been running over a slightly longer trip recent too, so the drop back will help and with just three runs this season will be a lot fresher than most. His recent form with some degree of ‘soft’ in the going description reads 2-1-2-1! Of the others, Son Of Rest was a dead-heat winner of the Ayr Gold Cup and looks an improving sprinter that will also like conditions, while the Henry Candy-trained LIMATO (e/w) is in rude health at the moment and heads here on a 4-timer. He stays further than this 6f trip, but he’d have a lot better chance if the ground dries out a lot more.


2.40 - Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1) Cl1 1m4f ITV

10/10 – Raced 3 or more times that season
9/10 – Won at Listed or better class previously
8/10 – Finished 1st or 2nd in their last race
8/10 – Won over 1m4f previously
8/10 – Returned 6/1 or shorter
8/10 – Won at least 3 times previously
8/10 – Raced within the last 9 weeks
7/10 – Returned between 4/1 and 6/1
7/10 – Rated 110 or higher
6/10 – Favourites placed
6/10 – Aged 3 years-old
5/10 – Won their last race
3/10 – Ridden by Ryan Moore
2/10 – Trained by Sir Michael Stoute
2/10 – Favourites that won
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 6/1
Hydrangea (4/1) won the race 12 months ago
Note: The 2009 & 2010 renewals were run at Newmarket

TQ VERDICT: Trainer Aidan O’Brien took this 12 months ago with Hydrangea but if she’s to follow-up then you’ll have to forgive her last two outings. She is, however, a better horse on soft ground though so the quick conditions this season have not been ideal. With her conditions now and being a proven winner of the race then she’d be foolish to rule out. O’Brien also has Broadway, Bye Bye Baby, Flattering, Sizzling and Magical in the race, with the last-named of that bunch looking his next best chance. Pilaster looks an improver that was a fair third to God Given in the Park Hill Stakes last time out, while Kitesurf was a Group One winner in France last time and is feared coming over from the powerful Andre Fabre team. It goes without saying the one to beat though is the Gosden runner – Lah Ti Dar – who was last seen running second in the St Leger. The drop back in trip will help with her stamina stretched last time and now racing against her own sex she’ll have a much better chance – especially getting 6lbs from the older horses. This will also be by-far the softest ground she’s contended with so does have a question mark to overcome on that score. However, it could be the other Gosden runner in the race – CORONET (e/w) that looks the value. This 4 year-old is one of just two proven course and distance winners in the field and was a fair third in the race last year too. She’s a consistent sort that has finished in the top three in all his starts this season and ran another blinder to be second behind the recent Arc runner-up Sea Of Class last time out at York. While her form at Ascot reads well too 1-3-3.


3.15 - Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1) Cl1 1m ITV

16/16 – Raced at least 3 times that season
15/16 – Raced at Goodwood, Longchamp or Leopardstown last time out
15/16 – Returned 7/1 or shorter
15/16 – Aged 3 or 5 years-old
14/16 – Had won a Group 1 or 2 race previously
14/16 – Finished in the top three in their last race
13/16 – Favourites placed
12/16 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
10/16 – Raced at Ascot previously (6 won)
8/16 – Won their latest race
8/16 – Won at least 7 times previously
7/16 – Raced at Goodwood last time out
7/16 – Favourites that won
4/16 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien
2/16 – Trained by Freddie Head
2/16 – Trained by John Gosden
3/16 – Ridden by Frankie Dettori
Persuasive (8/1) won the race 12 months ago
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 3/1
Since 2011: Horses from stall 2 and 7 have won 4 of the last 7 runnings

Note: The 2005 renewal was run at Newmarket

TQ VERDICT: A cracking renewal with a lot of conundrums to solve. This year’s Lincoln winner – Addeybb – will be much more at home on this softer ground after finding conditions way too quick last time at Newbury in the Lockinge. That came back in May so he heads here fresh, but we know he goes well after a break after landing the Lincoln with a 6 month lay-off. Beat The Bank was the winner of the Summer Mile here back in June – with LORD GLITTERS back in second that day so this pair are interesting too. However, the runner-up that day will love the softer ground this time and can gain his revenge. His last run in Canada can be forgiven but that was the first time he’s been out of the top three from 15 runs. He finishes his races off well and looks a decent each-way option over the hot favourite – ROARING LION. This Gosden runner is avoiding his stablemate – Cracksman – by heading here instead of the Champion Stakes for what looks a slightly easier race. The drop back to a mile will be the only doubt but the testing conditions will bring his stamina into play. He’s rated 127, which is 6lbs higher than his nearest rival – Recoletos, who comes over from France. The Lion has already roared to success in three Group One’s this season and looks the clear one to beat again. The likeable, Laurens, is another to note and gets a handy 3lbs from Roaring Lion. She stays this 1m trip well and is more than proven at the highest level with five Group One wins under her belt already – she won’t be far way as long as her recent races are not catching up with her. Of the rest, Century Dream is a proven course and distance winner that could still be improving, plus it would be silly to totally rule out the O’Brien runners – I Can Fly and Happily.


3.50 - Qipco Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1) Cl1 1m2f ITV

16/16 – Won at least 4 times previously
15/16 – Won between 4 and 8 times previously
15/16 – Aged 5 or younger
15/16 – Finished in the top 3 in their latest race
14/16 – Won over 1m2f previously
14/16 – Won a Group 1 or 2 race previously
12/16 – Raced within the last 6 weeks
12/16 – Aged 3 or 4 years-old
12/16 – Raced 5 or more times that season
10/16 – Won their last race
7/16 – Raced at either Longchamp (4) or Goodwood (3) last time out
6/16 – Favourites unplaced
6/16 – Returned a double-figure price
4/16 – Won by a French-based trainer
4/16 – Favourites
3/16 – Ridden by Tom Queally
Cracksman (13/8 fav) won the race 12 months ago
Trainer Aidan O'Brien has never won this race
Since 2011: Horses from stall 5 have won 2 of the last 5 runnings
The average winning SP in the last 15 years is 11/2

TQ VERDICT: CRACKSMAN will be looking to become the eleventh horse since 1900 to win back-to-back Champion Stakes and now the ground has turned soft it might take a good one to stop him. Yes, he played up at Ascot last time out in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, but the quick ground and the fact he got a bit excited before the race meant he had excuses. He still did well to finish just over 2 lengths behind Poet’s Word, who went onto franked the form by landing the King George next time out, so the run wasn’t all bad considering his antics before the race. Connections are also putting the blinkers on Cracksman for the first time here, but – as mentioned – the key is the soft ground. His form with some degree of ‘soft’ underfoot reads 1-1-1-1-1! Frankie continues in the saddle and they can cap-off, what’s already been, a cracking season for the Gosden yard here. His main rival will be Crystal Ocean, who went down fighting in the King George so the drop back to 1m2f should help. It remains to be seen just how much that tussle with Poet’s Word took out of him but a 42 day break would have helped. He’s actually rated 4lbs higher than Cracksman and with winning course form, plus a win in soft ground then rule him out at your peril. Of the rest, the Aidan O’Brien yard have, surprisingly, never won this race but they will be trying to put that right with Capri. We last saw him running a fine fifth in the Arc, after leading the field right up to the final few furlongs. He wasn’t beaten far in the end too and the drop in trip, especially in this ground, makes last year’s St Leger winner interesting too. He is, however, still rated 11lbs behind Crystal Ocean and 7lbs behind Cracksman so would need a career-best. The rest look likely to be playing for places but the other Gosden runner – Monarchs Glenmight be the surprise package in the race if building on his Listed Wolferton Stakes win at the Royal Meeting here in June. He’d need to but does head here having won three of his last four so there could be more in the locker and could do best of the bigger-priced runners.


4.30 - Balmoral Handicap (Sponsored By Qipco) Cl2 1m ITV

Just 4 previous runnings
4/4 - Winners drawn 10 or lower
3/4 - previous winners were aged 5 years-old
3/4 – Carried between 9-1 and 9-3 in weight
3/4 - Winners ran at Newmarket last time out
1/4 - Winning favourite
Trainers David O’Meara, Roger Charlton, Saeed Bin Suroor and Marcus Tregoning have won the race in the past
Horses from stalls 12 or 13 have been placed in the last 3 runnings

TQ VERDICT: Only four previous runnings to go on, but with all four being drawn 10 or lower then there might be a small pattern building up – if that’s the case then Poet’s Society (1), Mitchum Swagger (2), Hathal (3), Safe Voyage (4), Via Via (5), Original Choice (6), Mijack (7), Sharja Bridge (8), Aquarium (9) and Waarif (10) are the ones looking to uphold that draw trend. With three of the last 4 winners carrying between 9-1 and 9-3 then of those drawn 10 or lower SAFE VOYAGE (e/w), AQUARIUM (e/w) and VIA VIA (e/w) are the three that standout and might be worth chancing. Safe Voyage was a good winner at the Galway Festival last time out and before that dotted-up on soft ground at Haydock. Connections have also clearly been taking their time with the horse as this will only be his third run this year, plus they stick with the 5lb claiming Sean Davis in the saddle. The Mark Johnston-trained Aquarium won well last weekend at York and despite being up 6bs here is another horse that seems to love the soft ground. Plus, with that last win coming over 1m2f then we can expect connections to make full use of his stamina over this 1m trip. Finally, Via Via has been knocking on the door in recent races and with Ryan Moore booked to ride is sure to get interest. He was a decent third in the Cambridgeshire last time out and a 2lb rise for that doesn’t look too harsh. He’s gone okay in soft before too and don’t forget was also a fine 6th in the Lincoln earlier this season. Of the rest, Raising Sand will be popular after his recent Challenge Cup win here but a 5lb rise and this furlong longer trip make life a bit harder – he’s a player but little value. Flaming Spear brings some class into the race but off 9-10 it won be easy in these conditions, while the generally consistent Kynren often goes well in these big field handicaps.





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