Fran Berry column ahead of British Champions Day at Ascot

Hello Youmzain is fancied to win the Sprint
Hello Youmzain is fancied to win the Sprint

Hello Youmzain is the standout pick at Ascot on British Champions Day as former jockey and top analyst Fran Berry previews the action.

How can we desert Hello Youmzain in the Sprint Cup - he’s the nap of the day for me.

I was keen on him going into Haydock as I thought he ran a massive race following a tricky start in the Commonwealth Cup and he can only improve on that first start since the summer.

He's a proper autumn horse and Kevin Ryan and the team can't hide the regard in which they hold this horse. He's fancied to get his revenge on Advertise who is bound to see it out on the soft ground.

Speak In Colours is the one at a massive price I'd be wary of as he's been consistent and is another sure to handle the conditions.

There's been a good bit of money for Royal Line in the week ahead of the Long Distance Cup and it'll be fascinating to see if Stradivarius gets the green light to run after John Gosden walks the track in the morning.

There's not much more you can say about him but the ground would be his biggest worry despite winning at the meeting last year.

Kew Gardens looks well worth a try at the trip - in fact I think he'll absolutely love it - and he's the one from this line-up I can see challenging Stradivarius next year. Ballydoyle got the tactics wrong in the Irish Leger and I think he should have won.

With that in mind I'm happy to recommend him around the 4/1 mark against the short-priced favourite.

John Gosden against Aidan O'Brien is a bit of a theme through the day and it comes to a head in the Fillies & Mares. Aidan's got four against Gosden's three and they're all big players including Delphinia and Fleeting who have been threatening without quite delivering.

Ryan Moore salutes the crowd on Kew Gardens
Ryan Moore salutes the crowd on Kew Gardens

Despite Star Catcher admittedly being the one they all have to beat (Frankie very rarely gets it wrong) I'm drawn to Tarnawa at an each-way price.

She's been winning despite idling when hitting the front and will appreciate going back to a mile and a half here following her Blanford win. There should be more to come from Dermot Weld's three-year-old.

In the QEII The Revenant looks short enough now. He showed a bright turn of foot after stalking the pace in France last time and he's a fast-improving horse.

If the Magna Grecia we saw at Doncaster last year and Newmarket earlier this season shows up then you'd have to have a lot of respect for him, while Benbatl I'd question on account of the going, though his proven stamina will be an asset.

Then it's back to some of the usual suspects in Lord Glitters and Accidental Agent so I'm going to throw in Safe Voyage each-way at a big price. He's absolutely at home on heavy ground and while he's unproven at the distance, a horse trying something new at this time of the year can always offer a good way into a race.

Safe Voyage wins again at Haydock
Safe Voyage

Magical had a very hard race in the Arc and was somewhat sacrificed as they seemed to use her to draw Enable out of her shell before the likes of Japan came late.

She was racing hard from a long way home there and it would be to her eternal credit if she bounces back after such a hard race to win the Champion Stakes.

She’s very short in the market all things considered and connections of Addeybb wouldn’t have been overjoyed with the track switch I wouldn't have thought as he can't have it soft enough.

Coronet has a fine record at Ascot but the two at bigger prices I like are Deidre and Mehdaayih.

Deirdre was unfortunate in the Irish Champion Stakes, she should have been second. It could be a case of seeing how much rain they get and see how the inside track is riding before backing her.

If Mehdaayih hadn't run in Longchamp she'd be towards the head of the market for this, I'm convinced of that, and we've seen her bounce back before. She's got her own ideas a little bit but Rab Havlin gets on very well with her.

The Balmoran Handicap is tough as you'll need a Group horse to win it. I can see why Amedeo Modigliani has been backed as he was very impressive last year at Galway and his runs this year have been respectable.

He was checked two or three times in his run at Leopardstown and also didn't get a clear passage at Cork last time.

Clon Coulis is still a decent price though and she looks primed for a big run. Her Hunt Cup effort was super in the summer and she'll handle the ground. Stall one might not look ideal but it's not quite like at the Royal meeting as the track is considerably narrower and being on the wing won't be as much of an inconvenience.


At Naas on Sunday keep an eye out for Frosty in the Listed Naas Racecourse Business Club Irish EBF Garnet Stakes. She's getting back to a mile and will be suited by that given the way she's been running lately. I really like her still.

The Tally-Ho Birdcatcher Nursery is a race with a rich tradition and it's a competitive field as you’d expect but Flaming Moon is unexposed and Nathan Crosse takes off 5lb in the saddle.

The Naas Racecourse Business Club Irish EBF Garnet Stakes is another interesting race in which the well-bred Kiss For A Jewel could take a bit of beating, although it's not one I've a very strong opinion on.


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