The first race of Champions Day in the Long Distance Cup sees Trueshan & Stradivarius clash again after meeting at Longchamp last time out with Trueshan getting the better of Stradivarius. You could argue the ground was far more in favour for Trueshan at Longchamp who likes it soft. Could this be the last time we see Stradivarius on a racecourse Ground could be key with the ground currently Good To Soft. A dry overnight and a dry mild day will certainly quicken the ground and id imagine it maybe the quicker side of good to soft. Which may not suit Trueshan. They only faced each other 14 days ago and Trueshan beat Stradivarius fair and square Princess Zoe takes her chance here but again I would imagine would want it softer but has a chance of picking up a place. Hamish is trying at 2 miles for the first time. Tashkhan and The Mediterranean have a handy weight allowance going into this being 3-year-olds and certainly would have each way chance with both of them running well in their previous races and still improving all the time. I can't see a result other than either Trueshan or Stradivarius. But I fancy Stradivarius to get the edge over Trueshan today. Just purely on ground and I'm hoping Frankie saved a little bit on him last time out at Longchamp. I think most racing purists will want Stradivarius to win as a fairy-tale ending. If he does win then I would imagine he may be retired there and then. STRADIVARIUS (WIN)
written by Luke Tucker
Charlie Appleby has his string in excellent form and runs Creative Force who won four in a row earlier in the season. He stays further than this, the ground will hold no concerns and jockey William Buick is still fighting for the jockey’s championship so a big run can’t be ruled out.
Art Power finished fourth in last years’ renewal and warmed up for this with a five length demolition of rivals in a Group 3 at The Curragh last month. That came on a much faster surface than he will encounter today, although his earlier career wins all came on ground with some give so he warrants plenty of respect.
Dragon Symbol has been a shade unlucky in a couple of extremely competitive races, winning over course and distance in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at the Royal meeting, only for the placings to be reversed in the stewards room. He has never finished outside the first two when racing over six furlongs so the step back up in trip looks perfect to enable him to finish the season on a high.
Others worthy of a mention include Glen Shiel who won this race last season but hasn’t really fired this year so would seemingly need the first time blinkers to have a positive effect for him to get involved, while Rohaan is two wins from two over course and distance and should appreciate the slower ground conditions, however trainer David Evans is 0-24 and jockey Ryan Moore is 0-36 in the last two weeks which would have to be a concern.
DRAGON SYMBOL (WIN)
written by Dean Kilbryde
Any preview of this race has to start with Aidan O’Brien’s classy filly Snowfall, the current odds on favourite. She hit peak form in early summer winning three Group ones The English, Irish and Yorkshire Oaks and winning well. However, her last couple of runs haven’t been quite as good, beaten by Teona in France and then a respectable if uninspiring 6th in the Arc on desperate ground. That race was only 13 days ago and may have left a mark. She has some classy form but has never really grabbed my imagination and coupled with a hard race at Longchamp I will look elsewhere here.
Albaflora would have been the selection earlier in the week, but her price has crashed in recent days. She has four lengths to make up on Snowfall on Yorkshire Oaks form on her last outing, but she is a course and distance winner who looks to have been saved for this race. The double figure prices available on her earlier in the week have predictably disappeared.
La Joconde is another of Aidan O’Briens and she has run her best races when front running in races won by stablemate Snowfall. Hollie Doyle today’s pilot gets on particularly well with her, Snowfall may come past her again today, but La Joconde may be able to hold on to her lead a while and grab a place here. On Champions Day there are horses with less chance running at shorter prices today.
Eshaada is an interesting one here, a very promising second in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot she then finished last on her only subsequent outing in the Yorkshire Oaks. A horse can always be forgiven one bad run and if trainer Roger Varian has her at her best, she could be a threat to all.
Invite won a listed contest in taking fashion at Chester however, I don’t think she beat much, and it is a big jump from that form to a Group One on Champions Day albeit I feel this is a poor Group One.
Even with an apparent dip in form Snowfall rates the most likely winner she is rated ten pounds higher than any of her rivals for a reason. That being said her form has dipped a little and she had a slog on desperate ground in the Arc just thirteen days ago, for that reason I cannot have her at current odds-on quotes. Albaflora looks to have been aimed at this but the value in her has disappeared this week. Therefore, I am going to take a chance on an outsider. La Joconde has run some very good races when making the running and eventually finishing behind Snowfall. Probably her two best performances have come with Hollie Doyle riding and with only eight runners she can finish in a place at a big price.
LA JOCONDE (E/W)
written by Steve Marriott
A top class renewal of the Queen Elizabeth II stakes.
Without writing off the majority of the field, this could be a fantastic duel between up and coming three year old Baaeed and arguably the best miler we’ve seen since Frankel in Palace Pier.
Palace Pier has only suffered one defeat in his ten race career and that came in this race twelve months ago. There were however a couple of potential excuses for that. The ground was particularly soft and he also lost a shoe.
He has had looked solid all season and he’s surely the one they all have to beat.
Baaeed is the new kid on the block. We didn’t see him on a racecourse until June where he made a pleasing debut at Leicester, winning cosily after the penny dropped.
He has quickly made up into a very smart performer winning the G1 Prix du Moulin.
There’s no doubt this horse has unlimited potential and in receipt of three pounds from Palace Pier that only leaves him a pound to find on official ratings.
Last year’s winner The Revenant hasn’t quite sparkled this season. This however would have been the target. His latest run in France was very encouraging and he arguably should have won. His record in this race is a win and a second place, although on both occasions it was heavy ground. He’s not going to get that this year, but hopefully there’s enough juice in the ground that will enable him to run into a place at a double figure price.
THE REVENANT (E/W)
written by Matt Polley
Although the betting might suggest it's a two horse race with Mishriff and Epsom Derby winner Adayar vying for favouritism I'm tempted to find an each way alternative and I'm hoping one of the oldest horses in the race could be the way to go.
If the phrase "Horses for courses" holds any truth then surely Addeybb has a strong a chance as any. Winner of this prestigious contest last year he aims to retain his crown and with 3 wins and a 2nd in just five starts here at Ascot his course form looks mightily strong. Compare that to the current favourite Mishriff who's failed to win in two starts here previously.
The yard of William Haggas is going well and yes the trainer also saddles Dubai Honour, who looks to make it four wins in a row, but perhaps with a touch of sentimentality I want to see the veteran lift the final Group 1 of the season once again. He may not be the likeliest of winners but with current odds hovering around the 9/1 mark he makes sense to back him each way.
written by Rory Paddock
This looks typically competitive numerically speaking although Sunray Major arrives here on the back of an extremely impressive course victory last time and his six pounds penalty for that looks rather lenient. Raced just the four times to date and proven on the ground and track, it is very difficult to see him not going close despite being drawn in twenty-one.
King Leonidas represents the same yard as the favourite and he has a similar unexposed profile, his third at Newbury last time came after an absence of over a year and he very much caught the eye having been given plenty to do. Likely to strip fitter today, there is always the concern that he could ''Bounce'' though he would likely go very close if showing even moderate improvement and respect is afforded.
Sir Busker has been called plenty of names over the year's and he wouldn't be one for maximum faith in a tight finish, he does have a fantastic record over this course and distance though and a repeat of his third in the in the Group One, Queen Anne would surely be enough. Champion jockey elect, Oisin Murphy takes the ride and despite his welter burden, he must be feared in this class.
Aldaary hacked up in a very good race here last time and silenced the doubters in doing so, his clear liking of rain softened ground ought to bring him right into this and his yard are firing at present. Up in class and the weights, this demands more of him although he could well prove up to it.
Escobar went agonisingly close to landing this race in 2018 though improved upon that when landing the 2019 renewal, things haven't gone so well since and his losing record is mounting up. Dismissing his chances here would be