QIPCO Champions Day at Ascot will once again feature French raider Cirrus Des Aigles, who has been installed as favourite to emulate his 2011 victory in the Champions Stakes.
He will face another competitive field on a day featuring many of the horses which have graced the turf throughout the 2013 flat campaign.
Cirrus Des Aigles was beaten by the legendary Frankel in last year’s renewal of the Champions Stakes and the seven year old gelding has only recently returned to form with two wins after an indifferent start to his season. With his favoured soft ground expected at Ascot, he will be difficult to beat and BetVictor offer him at 11/10.
Godolphin may saddle Farhh as the main opposition but he has been absent from the racecourse since May when winning the Group 1 Lockinge over a mile at Newbury on good to firm ground. 1m 2f on soft ground may not be too his liking and he can be backed at 4/1 with William Hill for the Champions Stakes while Skybet quote him at 6/1 for the Queen Elizabeth II stakes over two furlong less distance.
Juddmonte International winner Declaration of War also features in the betting for both races but trainer Aidan O’Brien is expected to withdraw the horse should soft ground prevail at the course. The Irishman may yet run Ruler of The World in the 1m 2f event and who favours some cut in the ground. Priced at 12/1 by Betfred the Epsom Derby winner was not disgraced when seventh in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe two weeks previously and is not without a chance.
His stable companion Kingsbarns is entered for both the mile and ten furlong championship races. In his only race this season at Leopardstown, he was pulled up after meeting interference during the race. It will be a big ask for him to claim victory in either race but with his favoured easy going, he represents decent each way value at 16/1 (Coral) for the Champions Stakes and 20/1 (William Hill) for the QEII.
The market for the Queen Elizabeth II mile race is headed by Dawn Approach who seemed to suffer for a series of hard races when only 5th of 13 behind Moonlight Cloud at Deauville during August. The 2,000 Guineas winner is offered at 2/1 by Bet365 and may be re-opposed by Toronado who failed to stay the 1m 2f distance in the Juddmonte during August.
Richard Hannon is more excited about the prospects of Olympic Glory who will be fitted with first time blinkers and is a soft ground specialist. Boylesports offer him at 9/2 for the race although he will have to reverse a five length beating by French horse Maxios during mid-September at Longchamp. Maxios is available at 5/1 with Paddy Power.
On the supporting card, Harris Tweed may run in the British Champions Long Distance Cup and he showed good winning form over 1m 6f during the summer. With the ability to handle most ground conditions he is offered at 8/1 by Skybet to win the 2 mile contest.
With more rain in the weather forecast over the next few days there may still be some late decisions regarding the participation of several of the leading horses.
- Champions Stakes – 20pts win, Cirrus des Aigles at 11/10 BetVictor
- Queen Elizabeth II – 10pts win, Olympic Glory at 9/2 Boylesports
- British Champions Long Distance Cup – 5pts win, Harris Tweed at 8/1 Skybet
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