Not since Bendigo triumphed at Newmarket in 1887 has a seven-year-old tasted victory in the Champion Stakes, but there is every possibility that Cirrus Des Aigles will match this success in 2013 and he is the current 1/1 favourite.
What a big difference six weeks can make, as back in late August, Cirrus Des Aigles was a disappointing beaten favourite in fifth in a Group 2 contest at Deauville.
However, he has bounced back in his two races since, showing some of his old zest to win a Group 3 at Maisons-laffitte and then land the Prix Dollar at the Arc meeting at Longchamp for the third time in four years.
The Champion Stakes is another contest that he has an affinity with – securing victory in 2011 before settling for second spot 12 months ago behind the all-conquering Frankel.
One of the reasons that Cirrus Des Aigles may perform especially well in these two particular races is because they are both run in October and he could simply be a late-season bloomer.
In his last eight races in October, Cirrus Des Aigles has finished no worse than second and triumphed on five occasions.
Of his three defeats, he got within two lengths of Frankel and lost his other two by the narrow margin of a neck.
The fact that Cirrus Des Aigles prefers some cut in the ground over a firm surface, ties in with his form late in the calendar year and there is a real possibility of rain in the lead up to Champions Day at Ascot.
Clerk of the course at Ascot, Chris Stickels, has already indicated that he expects the ground to “be on the soft side”, with one downfall of heavy rain already hitting the course over the weekend and further showers forecast.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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