Simon Holt best bets for Ascot on Saturday

Oxted wins the Darley July Cup

Four bets for our man on QIPCO British Champions Day including a 10/1 fancy in the closing Balmoral Handicap.

Recommended bets, Saturday October 17

1pt win Oxted in 1.55 Ascot at 15/2

1pt win Dame Malliot in 2.30 Ascot at 9/2

1pt win Addeybb in 3.40 Ascot 10/1

1pt win Alternative Fact in 4.15 Ascot at 10/1

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record

Testing conditions are set to prevail once again on a star-studded QIPCO British Champions Day card at Ascot on Saturday when the superb stayer Stradivarius and tip-top miler Palace Pier will bid to prove that they are indeed champions of their division.

If they run to their best, then the John Gosden-trained, Frankie Dettori-ridden pair look hard to oppose, but they will start at very short prices thereby steering us in a different direction with OXTED fancied to confirm himself the leading speed horse of the season in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.

Roger Teal's highly progressive gelding returns three months after putting up a scintillating performance to win the July Cup in which he showed too much pace for the smart but ill-fated Sceptical with the previous Commonwealth Cup winner Golden Horde in third.

Oxted and Cieren Fallon win the Darley July Cup

On that performance, Oxted is officially joint top rated here with Dream Of Dreams yet will start at a much bigger price.

One question the selection will need to answer is his ability to handle the ground as his best performances have come on a faster surface, but it's a chance worth taking given that his sire Mayson was best on the soft and has passed that on to many of his progeny while Oxted's dam was well suited by plenty of give underfoot.

Interestingly, Cieran Fallon's mount has had a wind operation since his July Cup win which offers the potential for further improvement.

Dream Of Dreams was well beaten in this race last year but has a good record overall at Ascot and will be suited by the conditions. He was a highly impressive winner of the Hungerford Stakes (7f) at Newbury in August but not quite so dominant perhaps when beating the re-opposing Glen Shiel and Golden Horde (who wouldn't have enjoyed the soft going) in the Haydock Sprint over this trip subsequently.

Dame Malliot and Hollie Doyle score at Newmarket

The conditions will be influential in all the races and DAME MALLIOT is fancied to take the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes after her fine third behind Tarnawa and Raabihah in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp where she would have preferred more cut.

Nevertheless, that looks very strong form with the winner going onto take the Prix de l'Opera while Raabihah was a strong-finishing fifth in the Arc.

Likely favourite Wonderful Tonight gained her second win in France this year in the Prix de Royallieu over the Arc weekend but that race was over a mile-and-three quarters and she had previously finished fifth (not beaten far) when behind Dame Malliot in the Vermeille over this trip.

Later on, the admirable Magical bids to follow-up last month's Irish Champion Stakes victory, and her win here last year in the Qipco Champion Stakes.

Addeybb (right) and Magical after last year's Champion Stakes

There are none tougher than Aidan O'Brien's mare but she had to fight hard to beat ADDEYBB by three-quarters of a length 12 months ago and the latter will start a much bigger price on this occasion despite making good progress since.

Tom Marquand's mount gave his young rider two victories to remember in Australia during the winter and would not have been ideally suited by the quicker ground when second to Lord North in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes here in June.

Given a break subsequently, Addeybb returned with a win at Ayr and should be spot on for a big run with the going now very much in his favour.

Mishriff, preferred by Dettori over Lord North, has done nothing but impress in winning three times this season, including in the French Derby, but this opposition looks a good deal tougher.

In the concluding Balmoral Handicap, Dettori is an eye-catching booking for ALTERNATIVE FACT who he rode to finish third in the Silver Royal Hunt Cup over this course and distance in June.

That was a particularly good effort by Ed Dunlop's charge who would have preferred easier ground which he proved when winning in the soft at Haydock next time.

Very consistent under the right conditions, Alternative Fact can go well at double-figure odds in a very competitive field.

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Posted 1455 BST on 16/10/20

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