Will Aidan O’Brien equal Bobby Frankel’s Group 1 winners record? Can Harry Angel maintain his magnificent form over 6f? And who will win in the titanic battle between Churchill and Ribchester?
Those are the main questions as the 2017 flat-season draws to a close with Champions Day at Ascot.
With no fewer than four Group 1 clashes in a six-race card, it promises to be a remarkable day of top-quality racing action.
Without further adieu, let’s get cracking with Saturday’s ITV Racing tips…
NAP – Cracksman – 15:50, Ascot
Our NAP this week comes from the last Group 1 race of the day.
We’re backing Cracksman to conclude a stunning season with a third straight black-type success in the Champion Stakes.
John Gosden’s three-year-old has twice been successful at Group 2 level and has all of the credentials to land a maiden Group 1 victory.
Frankel’s most successful British-bred son will face stern competition from Barney Roy, Poet’s Word and Highland Reel.
However, he should be able to handle the drop back in trip. And with Frankie Dettori in the saddle, the colt couldn’t be in better hands.
NB – Ribchester – 15:15, Ascot
If Beat the Bank or Churchill can beat Ribchester over a mile we’d be mightily impressed.
The four-year-old has been beaten only once this season in five starts, and even that was only by a neck in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood,
He bounced back from that setback to win a third Group 1 when claiming the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp at Chantilly last month.
And back at Ascot for the fourth time, we’re going with the son of Iffraaj to bolt up against contenders who in our opinion don’t match his class.
Lively Longshot – Hydrangea – 14:40, Ascot
We think that the Fillies & Mares Stakes is a wide open contest.
And for that reason, we’re going for Aidan O’Brien’s Hydrangea to register her first victory on British soil.
O’Brien’s mount has been behind stable-mate Winter on no fewer than six occasions this season.
But she reversed placings to land the Matron Stakes before a narrow defeat in the Prix de l’Opera Longines to Rhododendron.
That form can’t be ignored.
And with Rhododendron and Winter both missing from the Ascot line-up, Hydrangea looks to have a clear run up against Bateel and Journey.
She can take the step up in trip in her stride and has each-way claims at the very least.
ITV Racing Tips
13:25 Ascot – Stradivarius
14:00 Ascot – Harry Angel
14:40 Ascot – Hydrangea (Lively Longshot)
15:15 Ascot – Ribchester (NB)
15:50 Ascot – Cracksman (NAP)
16:30 Ascot – Zabeel Prince
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.