15:50 Ascot – Champion Stakes
With four Group 1’s on the card Ascot’s Champions Day showcases some of the best flat performers in Europe and today is no exception. The fourth in the line of top class races is The Champion Stakes. We’ve had so many amazing horses claim this race in its illustrious history with the likes of Frankel, Almanzor and Cirrus Des Aigles who’ve claim this prestigious race in recent years.
Last years victor Cracksman aims to make it back to back successes in one of Ascot’s premier annual races. Beating the likes of Poet’s Word and Highland Reel last term he seems to have found a race that, on paper, looks slightly easier than last years renewal. This being said however Cracksman isn’t the same horse he was then. Last years win came on the back of victories at York and Chantilly respectively however after five consecutive victories Cracksman found himself as the bridesmaid and not the bride after finishing second behind long-standing rival Poet’s Word here at Ascot. A 2 and a quarter length deficit that day connections of John Gosden’s runner will be pleased to see that Poet’s Word isn’t set to lineup this time around.
The obvious rival is Crystal Ocean who’s been super consistent this year and a 2nd placed effort behind Enable is far from a disgrace. The likelihood is that Crystal Ocean is going to find the challenge of Cracksman an easier task that the one posed by Enable but just wether or not Sir Michael Stoute’s charge is quite up to winning at this level is a slight concern.
The horse that certainly makes us scratch our heads and lean in with intrigue is Cracksman’s stable mate Monarch’s Glen. A course and distance winner who hasn’t competed at anywhere near this level but looks vastly open to improvement. There’s an abundance of questions that the four year old has to answer however I wouldn’t consider it far from ludicrous to see him challenge some of the main protagonists.
The saying “the cream always rises to the top” seems to be very apt for this race and although Cracksman is likely to be very short odds there’s no doubt he’s the classiest entrant and as such is the most likely victor.
13:25 Ascot – Stradivarius (WIN)
14:00 Ascot – Harry Angel (E/W)
14:40 Ascot – Lah Ti Dar (WIN)
15:15 Ascot – Laurens (E/W)
16:30 Ascot – Zwayyan (WIN) – NAP