Champions Day Tips: Championship Goes To The Wire

QIPCO Champions Day at Ascot takes centre stage on Saturday and Gaz has three value bets for the days action.

The Champions Day card at Ascot looks phenomenal and I’m sure all Horse Racing fans are counting down the hours until it gets started. With five group races and a big field handicap there’s something for everyone. Add in a tight jockeys championship race and entertainment is guaranteed.

Dragon Lost His Puff

The aforementioned jockeys championship will be a key narrative throughout the day within the media. The gap between Oisin Murphy and William Buick currently stands at 3 and the Champions Sprint Stakes (14:00) could be a key race. Murphy rides Dragon Symbol and his mount has been on the drift over the past 24 hours. Regular followers of this column will be familiar with Dragon Symbol as I’ve tipped him up a number of times this season. On each occasion he’s ran a decent race, but hasn’t managed to get his head in front in the big races. I’d like to see him win here but I can’t help but think the Dragon may have lost his puff. He’s had a busy season, running ten times already, and I think there’s better bets in this field.

The value bet could be last years winner Glen Shiel. He hasn’t been the same horse this season but, if he can turn back the clock, the 22/1 on offer could look silly. There’s a few others who have chances but I’m fairly confident this is the day for Creative Force to shine. I mentioned earlier in the season that this was a horse to follow and he’s proved that theory right progressing from handicaps to group company. I don’t think he’s got the rub of the green in recent runs but he’s still managed to run with lots of credit. He’ll be primed for this and at 13/2 looks a smashing bet.

Aday’ To Remember

As I’ve already mentioned the card at Ascot is stacked and there’s storylines everywhere you look. The race of the day for me is the Champions Stakes. Last years’ winner Addeybb looks a little disrespected in the market and could be an each way play. He finished ahead of Mishriff in last years’ race and followed that up earlier this season when splitting Mishriff and St. Marks Basilica in the Coral Eclipse.

I’m sticking with Derby winner Adayar in this race though. He fluffed his lines last time out in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe but he had excuses. The soft ground wouldn’t have suited such a big horse and he just couldn’t stay after running keenly throughout. The quick turnaround is an obvious concern but he wouldn’t be entered here if he wasn’t bouncing at home. He’s already beaten Mishriff this season when winning the King George at this venue quite impressively. I don’t think the step back in trip will be a problem and he should confirm his dominance over that rival tomorrow.

Set Out Your Stall

The day ends with a highly competitive handicap. As you’d expect there are a number of runners that catch the eye. The Gosden stable have a strong hand with Sunray Major and King Leondidas filling the top two spots in the market. Sunray Major is open to improvement and could rout this field, but at odds of 5/2 I’m happy to take him on. He’s running against seasoned handicappers and it wouldn’t surprise me if he bombed out. The one from the Gosden Stable that sticks out as value is Magical Morning who was well fancied for the Cambridgeshire recently. He didn’t perform that day but has Jamie Spencer aboard and I think he could out run his 28/1 odds.

Magical Memory was nearly my selection for this race but I think this will go the way of the Irish raider Saltonstall. Ado McGuinness is a master at targeting races and he wouldn’t be sending this horse over if he didn’t think a big run was on the cards. This horse hasn’t managed to win this season but his handicap rating has been dropping accordingly. He has the services of 5lb claimer Cian MacRedmond tomorrow and that gives him a great chance. While he hasn’t won, the 4th place in the Irish Cambridgeshire was a great run and if he can reproduce that form, the 33/1 on offer with some firms looks like a massive price. That said, I’m taking slightly shorter odds (25/1) to avail of the extra place offers.

SRD Selections

14:00 Ascot – Creative Force (13/2) Win

15:50 Ascot – Adayar (2/1) Win

16:30 Ascot – Saltonstall (25/1) Each Way (Betfair Paying 6 Places)