One of the biggest surprises looking through the big winners since the inaugural British Champions Day in 2011 is that high-profile trainer John Gosden is still waiting for a first visit to the winners’ enclosure.
In fact, he hasn’t been blessed with the longest list of star candidates, with his best chances all coming in the opening two years with Nathaniel in the Champion Stakes, Aiken in the Long Distance Cup and beaten joint-favourite Great Heavens in the Fillies and Mares Stakes.
However, if there was ever a chance for Gosden to break his duck, 2015 looks the probable year based on what’s already been achieved in this Flat season.
The exploits of the likes of Golden Horn, Jack Hobbs and Shalaa have already helped land eight Group 1 pots, while 23 group-level victories have been secured in total.
Here are the three horses tasked with handing Gosden a Champions Day success in 2015:
The five-year-old was sixth in the Long Distance Cup last year, but hopes exist for an improved effort this time given that Flying Officer had to be supplemented after not being on the initial entry list.
Having been bumped numerous times last October, an improved performance is expected and Flying Officer is unbeaten in both starts this term, albeit both in weaker contests when sent off as an odds-on favourite.
The general negatives are that horses trained in Ireland have held the upper hand in this contest in recent years.
Another Gosden horse that has needed supplementing for Ascot is Journey in the Fillies and Mares Stakes in what will be her first foray into group company.
She was massively impressive when winning a moderate Listed contest by eight lengths last time and deserves a crack at this level, but competition is set to be strong.
Probable rivals include Arabian Queen, who remains the only horse to ever beat this year’s Epsom Derby winner Golden Horn, consistent Group 1 performer Covert Love and impressive French raider Candarliya.
This year’s Epsom Derby runner-up and Irish Derby winner looks the strongest selection for a Gosden winner, especially as he will receive weight from many of the other fancied runners for only being a three-year-old and is officially rated 3lb superior to the field.
He has been relatively well rested, having only had the one run since June and this was little more than a preparation run on the all weather to presumably ensure he is spot on for this.
Found from the Aidan O’Brien team looks the main rival having missed the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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