A strange flat season edges towards a close with the finale that is Champions Day. This season has been one the vast majority of us have watched from home. We enjoyed sponsoring two fantastic cards at Haydock in August which offered me a chance to attend racing. It is amazing just how much you miss from home, it has certainly made blogging on the Flat much harder having not seen many horses in the flesh. Despite that, we had some good days – the highlight being a 20/1 winner at Royal Ascot. Today we head back to the Berkshire venue for four selections to give us a big finish to the Flat.
Dream Of Dreams has benefited from less racing this season with two good wins to his name. Last season, he was seen getting stuck in the mud here and ran poorly after a much longer campaign. That said, I think that One Master can offer some good opposition at an each way price. The six year old has shown her versatility on the ground over the years and was second in this contest last year. The horse was a good winner over seven last time out in France and can score once again at a fair price.
The QE2 is always a decent race but this to me is a one horse race. Palace Pier has such a likeable profile for John Gosden and is nap material on a tough card. The three year old by Kingman boasts a perfect record with three wins coming so far this season. His trainer has won two of the last three renewals and is looking to cap another brilliant season. The going poses no issues and I think we will see something very special here under Frankie Dettori.
As a Champion Stakes goes this renewal is a proper race. Last years winner Magical will have a real job on her hands to retain her Champions Stakes crown. She does however arrive into the race in brilliant form having reversed the form with Ghaiyyath at Leopardstown last month. The same team also run Japan and the Derby winner Serpentine who has become a bit of a forgotten horse.
Magical to my eye is head and shoulders above that pair and the biggest threat comes from John Gosdon’s three year old Mishriff. Mishriff was a good winner in France last time out and many would argue he should have gone in the Arc. This race remains a big prize that Gosden has claimed twice in the last three years. For me I think I will stick with Magical. She has proven to be so consistent over such a long period of time I can’t leave her now.
Looking over my selections I am tempted to have a Lucky 15! But I need to try and find some value outside the shorter prices tipped so far. For me the closing race is one of the toughest on the card. Raising Sand is a good starting point as he is a horse we know that will relish the conditions. That said, I am concerned he didn’t get the chance to have a prep run ahead of this and the stable form would be a slight worry. My pin has landed on Greenside of Henry Candy’s. He was out only eight days ago at York and is fully entitled to have needed that run, having been off since July. I suspect this race has been the aim and he ticks the going box having won on Soft on his seasonal reappearance at Haydock. We have not had the chance to see enough of Marco Ghiani but his five pound claim will be very helpful to Greenside’s chances. At the prices, he offers good each way value and rounds off my four tips for Champions Day.