The ITV Racing team will be donning their finest attire for Champions Day at Ascot and the end of the flat-season.
We’ll be treated to six races packed with talent at the Berkshire course. The feature races include the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at 3.15, while Cracksman takes on blinkers for his final race in the Champion Stakes at 3.50.
Ed Chamberlin and the crew will be bringing you all the action, but before it all begins, we’ve had a little look through the card…
NAP – Lah Ti Dar – 2.40, Ascot
There are several strong favourites to consider today, but question marks linger over many.
Not Lah Ti Dar, though, who heads up the betting in the Fillies & Mares Stakes. John Gosden’s filly is dropping back to a mile-and-a-half here, having impressed greatly with second in the St Leger.
That result arguably said more about her than her pair of wins at Newmarket and Newbury in the spring.
There are opponents to watch out for in Kitesurf, Coronet and Magical, but Lah Ti Dar has had an excellent year, and with Frankie Dettori on board again, should be a cut above the rest.
NB – Laurens – 3.15, Ascot
Gosden’s Roaring Lion has been moved into the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, having contemplated a showdown with stablemate Cracksman.
He’s the favourite here, and Happily and Laurens are two who could push Roaring Lion hard.
It’s the latter we’re leaning towards. The Karl Burke-trained three-year-old is four from five over a mile, and looked sharp in wins at Newmarket and Leopardstown recently.
Happily is one to consider too, but Aidan O’Brien’s runner has never yet beaten Laurens, so if anyone can defeat Roaring Lion, we’re behind Burke’s star.
Lively Longshot – Monarchs Glen – 3.50, Ascot
Cracksman demolished the competition 12 months ago. But a year on and Gosden’s runner has since been beaten by Poet’s Word in June’s Prince of Wales Stakes.
This is Cracksman’s final run, and he’ll be wearing blinkers for the first time. Does that open the door for an upset?
Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean is the most likely challenger, but Monarchs Glen is one we’re keeping an eye on.
Another Gosden entry, the four-year-old is a course and distance winner, doing so back in April. He’s been fully rested since then, and isn’t beyond springing a surprise.
ITV Racing tips:
1:25 Ascot – Stradivarius
2:00 Ascot – The Tin Man
2:40 Ascot – Lah Ti Dar (NAP)
3:15 Ascot – Laurens (NB)
3:50 Ascot – Monarchs Glen (Lively Longshot)
4:30 Ascot – Argentello
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All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication