The Mandarin’s Ascot Champions Day Racecard for Saturday 16th October

Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2) 1.25
Stradivarius (nap)
We’ll be hoping that the old pairing can have one last day in the sun, back at this track where Frankie Dettori has such an enviable record. Of course, after their clash with Trueshan in the Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp, Alan King’s five year old has obvious claims to succeed Stradivarius as King of the staying division, but it’s all about the ground, and whether Stradivarius and Frankie Dettori can muster up a final hurrah on a course they have owned over the last four years. A great duel in prospect but Stradivarius should hit the highest note one more time!

Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1) 2.00
Art Power
Tim Easterby, who is having a superb season, probably holds the key to this Group 1 with Art Power. The grey Dark Angel colt could not have been any more impressive when storming home by 5 lengths in the Group 3 Renaissance Stakes at The Curragh last month, and holds serious form at Group 1 level when a 2 length fifth in the Sprint Cup Stakes at Haydock. That run may have been on unsuitably quick ground, so, with more ease underfoot and a less competitive look to this line up, he surely has a decent chance. Sure to go close

Qipco British Champions Filles & Mares Stakes (Group 1) 2.35
The best filly for many a year was good enough to finish sixth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in her classic season, and up against her own sex here is hard to oppose. It’s been a busy season, but she she should be head and shoulders above this field if fully recovered from the French date just two weeks ago. Ralph Beckett’s Albaflora looks a smart rival, but Snowfall is the one to follow

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1) 3.10
Palace Pier (nb)
It is the race of the day, as Europe’s best miler takes on the young pretender to his crown, William Haggas’s Baaeed. Palace Pier is proven at this level, but was third in this race last year on soft going, so the prevailing conditions have to be a factor. Baaeed landed the Prix Moulin de Longchamp last time out, so should be fine on this Ascot track that will be softened up by plenty of dew for this Autumn meeting to take the pace out of the surface. Last year’s victor, The Revenant, returns for another stab at this big prize and these three are the ones to count

Qipco Champion Stakes (Group 1) 3.50
The multiple Group 1 winning stable star from William Haggas’s in-form Somerfield Lodge base has, remarkably, never finished out of the first two in his last twelve starts, since June 2019, and should get suitably moist conditions here. He’s already beaten main danger Mishriff this term, though in fairness the small field may have affected race tactics. With the trainer of he moment, Charlie Appleby, likely to run Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe fourth, Adayar, it’s hotting up to be a classic renewal. We’ll stick with Addeybb, who’s been there, done it, and worn the t-shirt

Balmoral Handicap 4.30
Richard Hannon’s Siyouni colt has been steadily progressive this term, and arrives here looking for a third win in five starts. He looked to have plenty left under the bonnet when last out at Haydock, so Ascot’s stiff finish should suit. With the highly rated Sunray Major sure to attract plenty of support, a decent price is sure to be on for the selection and he has solid each way claims at the least

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