Rest Assured at Ascot
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value on QIPCO British Champions Day and he's backing 8/1 and 12/1 chances.
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1pt win Restiadargent in 14.20 Ascot at 12/1 (General)
1pt win Ile De Re in 13.45 Ascot at 8/1 (General)
I should think most people going to see Frankel at Ascot on Saturday will be hoping to see one final breathtaking performance from the wonder horse.
They'll be hoping to witness a piece of racing history like those at Newmarket did when he powered his way to the 2000 Guineas, and those at York did when he loomed up on the bridle at the two-furlong pole.
Yet the prospect of very testing ground, coupled with the second best turf horse in the world, who relishes such conditions, taking him on, make this his toughest test.
Cirrus Des Aigles is 10lbs inferior to Frankel on official ratings, yet the reigning champion comes into this in fine form after his Prix Dollar romp and if the ground does affect Frankel's level of performance Corine Barande-Barbe's charge could spoil the party.
But the value has gone. I'm of the opinion Cirrus Des Aigles can get much closer to Frankel in testing conditions but 4/1 to beat him? It's not tempting enough.
The showpiece is a race to watch, a race to savour and I hope and think Sir Henry Cecil's pride and joy can gallop his way into retirement with a bloodless victory.
In the QEII Frankel's old rival Excelebration heads the betting and on his form behind him in the race last year he will take all the beating.
However, Cityscape wasn't far behind Aidan O'Brien's charge in the Prix Jacques Le Marois and has very good form at Ascot himself, notably when being narrowly beaten by Canford Cliffs and Goldikova.
There's very little between the two and as Cityscape handles soft ground as well 9/2 seems a very fair reflection of his chances.
However, Elusive Kate at 13/2 is worth consideration as well as she was just a neck behind Cityscape in the aforementioned French race and has genuine excuses for her gallant defeat last time when falling out of the stalls and losing a shoe.
Dutching the pair works out at just over 2/1 and while it's not the worst bet in the world it's not a punt I'll be pursuing.
I think it's worth looking away from the two Group One contests if you're hunting value and RESTIADARGENT appeals at 12/1 in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes.
This race is wide open and while Society Rock is a worthy favourite given his Ascot record and his Haydock Sprint Cup victory last time, I can't see why Henri-Alex Pantall's filly is three times the price.
She might have to improve on her last two efforts behind Moonlight Cloud and Jimmy Styles at Deauville but on her Diamond Jubilee form she has every chance.
Beaten just half-a-length by Black Caviar in that contest, she was a length and a half clear of Society Rock who has of course boosted that form since.
The ground will be much softer at Ascot on Saturday than it was at the Royal meeting but you'd have to think that will suit this three-year-old filly who has won a couple of Group races in such conditions at Maisons-Lafitte.
If you do fancy Restiadargent naturally Jimmy Styles might be of interest at 20/1, but I do think the combination of the return to Ascot and the soft ground will see her reverse that Deauville form with Clive Cox's charge.
In the opening contest, the QIPCO Long Distance Cup, Rite Of Passage is a fascinating contender and could be a huge price at 8/1 if his long absence isn't an issue.
The 2010 Ascot Gold Cup winner won a few races over hurdles in very soft conditions and if he's anywhere near race-fit he could make 8/1 look like a gift.
However, even master trainer Dermot Weld might not be able to pull off such a training feat and you can back a horse at the same price who is bang in form and also relishes testing ground.
Donald McCain's ILE DE RE has upwards of 10lbs to find on official ratings with some of the principals but he's improving on the level and conditions are perfect.
The Chester Cup and Northumberland Plate winner also has some course form in the bag and he could well surprise these established stayers.
At 8/1, it's worth a small bet that he can improve past them.