Man On The Spot previews the Sporting Life Pick 7 races on Saturday, featuring all of British Champions Day at Ascot and a race from Catterick.
1.25 - QIPCO Long Distance Cup, Ascot
Sheikhzayedroad had the odds-on Order Of St George a couple of lengths behind when landing this a year ago but had won the Doncaster Cup on his previous start, unlike this time when only third. Aidan O'Brien's charge had arrived here following a superb run in the Arc, which may have taken its toll, and ran a similar race at Chantilly just three weeks ago. He also had an almighty tussle with Big Orange in the Gold Cup with Michael Bell's star coming out on top by a short-head but the latter was then put in his place by Stradivarius in the Goodwood Cup. John Gosden's three-year-old is slightly worse off on the weight-for-age scale and he didn't appear to handle softer going behind Capri in the St Leger. Dartmouth, a high-class middle-distance performer, looked a stayer to reckon with when landing the Yorkshire Cup but hasn't made the transition, though his latest run behind Order Of St George in the Irish St Leger at the Curragh should be ignored as that wasn't his form. DESERT SKYLINE showed at Doncaster that he's a progressive stayer who will enjoy the conditions better than most so he looks the each-way value in a cracking renewal.
2.00 - QIPCO British Champions Sprint, Ascot
The Tin Man won this a year ago with Brando third, Librisa Breeze sixth, Quiet Reflection just behind and Donjuan Triumphant last of the 13 runners after giving trouble at the start. The latter pair have improved markedly but this looks a much stronger renewal with the three-year-olds HARRY ANGEL and Caravaggio looking to be crowned champion sprinter. The former was outpaced by his rival in the Commonwealth Cup here, his third defeat in three visits to the track, but had no problems reversing the form in the July Cup then left Tasleet and The Tin Man in his wake when scooting away with the Sprint Cup on heavy ground at Haydock. With further rain forecast, conditions will be in his favour and he can see off his great rival though Aidan O'Brien's colt didn't mind testing ground when comfortably landing the Flying Five at the Curragh last month.
2.40 - QIPCO Fillies & Mares, Ascot
Journey, runner-up to Simple Verse in 2015, went one better in impressive fashion a year ago. John Gosden's mare has had just three subsequent starts and looked to be coming back to her best in the Prix Vermeille at Chantilly, though was beaten fair and square by BATEEL (NAP) with Left Hand in third. The winner, who finished last of 13 in this last year when trained by David Simcock, has improved out of all recognition and her Chantilly victory stamped her as a mare of the highest quality. Gosden also runs Coronet, who had seen Enable disappearing out of sight three times this campaign before finding 1m6f beyond her in the St Leger, and The Black Princess, who got a shocking run in the Vermeille then found 1m2f too short in the Prix de L'Opera where Hydrangea ran a fine race to finish second with Left Hand fifth. Aidan O'Brien's first string steps up to this trip for the first time and it would be no shock to see her there at the finish.
3.15 - Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Ascot
RIBCHESTER came here a year ago having won a Group 1 at Deauville and this time arrives with another top-class victory at Chantilly to his credit. Richard Fahey's brilliant miler couldn't quite get to Minding a year ago and probably has another Ballydoyle inmate as his main rival here. Churchill surpassed his superb juvenile form to win the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Curragh though has subsequently suffered three defeats, the latest two over further. He's on a retrieval mission here and will need to be right back to his best. Al Wukair wasn't far behind him in the first colt's classic and showed his liking for soft ground with a battling victory in the Jacques Le Marois at Deauville, the race the selection won last year on his way here, and though Beat The Bank has never run in a Group 1 he could hardly have been more impressive in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket when there was some cut in the ground.
3.30 Catterick - totescoop6 Catterock Dash Handicap
Udontdodou won at Chelmsford recently but was only fourth in last year’s renewal behind the placed horses Confessional and Aleef. Little separated that pair last year but the former arrives in better form having gone close at Haydock last time when ahead of GREEN DOOR. But the latter has subsequently shown signs of a resurgence when third in a tougher sprint at Leicester and Bob Cowell’s charge gets the vote on that form. He’s also preferred to lightly-raced stablemate Storm Over but Memories Galore has a shout on last week’s second at York and Equimou could also go well judged on her recent fourth at Ascot.
3.50 - QIPCO Champion Stakes, Ascot
CRACKSMAN followed a neck defeat by Capri in the Irish Derby by looking imperious in the Great Voltiguer at York and the Prix Niel at Chantilly, all over 1m4f. The latter pair were on ground with some give and, though taking on very strong opposition over shorter, he can make his stamina count and land his first Group 1. He finished just behind Cliffs Of Moher when Aidan O'Brien's colt was mugged by stable companion Wings Of Eagles at Epsom but their subsequent careers have gone in different directions and Ballydoyle look to have a better chance with the admirable Highland Reel, who beat subsequent Group 1 winners Decorated Knight and Ulysses in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes here in June before a rare lacklustre run in the King George. Barney Roy won the St James's Palace Stakes before just failing to catch Ulysses in the Eclipse then ran out of steam in the Juddmonte at York after taking on Churchill. He's certain to go well while Brametot, a short-head winner in both the French 2000 Guineas and Derby, and Irish Champion Stakes runner-up Poet's Word can also get into the action in what should be a thriller.
4.30 - Balmoral Handicap, Ascot
A fantastic prize for a Class 2 handicap with six of the entries carrying penalties for recent victories. George William showed his liking for soft ground over 7f at Salisbury but has no problems with the longer trip while Dark Red drops back in distance after a smooth victory over York's extended 1m2f. ZABEEL PRINCE has been raised 11lb for his impressive victory over this trip at the latter fixture so coming here with a penalty looks the right option and he'll take some beating, though probably won't be top value in what looks a competitive race. Accidental Agent is on the upgrade and though this will be his debut over a mile he certainly wasn't stopping when landing a similar-class handicap over 7f here a fortnight ago though runner-up Lord Glitters was having his first start for David O'Meara after arriving from France and looks a major threat. The Grape Express and Brigliadoro are penalised and on hat-tricks and John Gosden's pair, Gm Hopkins and Linguistic, are also worthy of consideration.