Sponsors of British Champions Day, QIPCO, have pumped over £4m worth of prize money into the event, making it the richest race day all year in the UK.
With Al Shaqab racing’s Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani and Qatar Racing’s Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani heavily involved in QIPCO, it might be expected that they would like to recoup some of that investment at Ascot.
The former has just Ayaar engaged in the Balmoral Handicap, but Sheikh Fahad’s operation go into the big day with a whole host of chances of winning back some of their money.
The Qatar Racing team spoke of how the aim all season has been to have a winner on Champions Day, and as the day gets nearer, we take a look at their three best chances.
Pallasator – QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup – 5/1
Much will depend on whether this lively sort behaves himself in the preliminaries, but when he doesn’t use his energy terrorising the parade ring, he can be very good indeed.
He ran a great race to finish second in this contest last year in heavy ground, and with a better surface this time round can use his turn of foot to greater effect.
A win last time out in the Doncaster Cup suggests that the lacklustre performances of early in the season were nothing to cling onto, and if behaving himself should be in the mix-up.
Strath Burn – QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes – 12/1
Charlie Hills may hold the key in the dash over five furlongs, with his Muhaarar heading the market, with stable-mate Strath Burn just three places below in the betting.
The son of Equiano finally broke his maiden at odds of 1/10 at Doncaster in July, and connections haven’t looked back since.
A victory in the Hackwood Stakes was a good step forward, but his next run, when going down by just a short head in the the Haydock Sprint Cup suggests he is not just in this race to make up the numbers.
Simple Verse – QIPCO British Champions Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes – 8/1
The Ladbrokes St Leger winner (eventually), Ralph Beckett’s filly has shown untold progression this season.
She started her season finishing third in a Kempton maiden, before getting off the mark on the polytrack of Lingfield next time out.
A switch to the turf seems to have worked wonders as she climbed from a mark of 77 to 115 in four runs. She drops back two furlongs at Ascot so will need to avoid getting tapped for toe, but could yet have more improvement in her.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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