Simon Holt's free horse racing tips for Saturday's action at Ascot on Champions Day

Simon Holt reveals his best bets for the weekend's racing
Simon Holt reveals his best bets for the weekend's racing

Top commentator Simon Holt previews QIPCO British Champions Day and he has bets in the QEII and the Balmoral Handicap.


Recommended bets

1pt e.w Happily in 3.15 Ascot at 16/1

2pts win Kynren in 4.30 Ascot at 11/1

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


There is a distinct possibility that champion trainer John Gosden could dominate Saturday's Champions Day meeting at Ascot where he fields four strong favourites in Stradivarius, Lah Ti Dar, Roaring Lion and Cracksman, but can they all win?

And, if not, which of them are vulnerable?

There will be huge interest in Cracksman's return to Ascot after his seven-length thrashing of subsequent King George winner Poets Word in last year's Qipco Champion Stakes and the likely soft ground conditions again look in his favour.

Poets Word turned those tables in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes over the course and distance on a quicker surface back in June when Frankie Dettori's mount appeared to race lazily just as he had done on his previous start before winning the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

Clearly, it is hoped that the fitting of blinkers will wake him up and, if he applies himself fully, then he should take care of last year's St Leger first and second, Capri and Crystal Ocean who may both be ideally suited by a bit further.

However, the latter pair, who both come here with solid runs behind them, are more than good enough to capitalise if Cracksman performs below his best and this could be race to watch and enjoy rather than one in which to have a bet.

The question surrounding Roaring Lion, easily the highest-rated horse in the Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes is the drop in trip to a mile on soft ground whereas this impressive colt's best performances, in the Eclipse, Juddmonte International and Irish Champion Stakes, have come over a mile-and-a-quarter on a faster surface even though he has won in the past with some give in the ground.

Moreover, Oisin Murphy's mount has had some tough races this season and, in a big field, the fillies Laurens and HAPPILY could give him something to think about.

Laurens showed all her admirable battling qualities to fend off Happily in the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket two weeks ago but there was only a head between them and the runner-up, who has produced her best form on soft going, is now twice the price.

Happily, third in the 1000 Guineas behind Billesdon Brook and Laurens in the spring, has never really had her preferred ground in a relatively light three-year-old campaign and, while she has never beaten Laurens, there has never been that much between them. I like the look of Ryan Moore's mount each-way.

Lah Ti Dar is likely to start at a short price in the Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes dropping back to a mile-and-a-half despite staying on strongly when second to Kew Gardens in the St Leger.

Possibly a bit further back than ideal that day, her attitude late on was impressive and while up against some decent types such as Coronet, third last year behind the re-opposing Hydrangea (who will again appreciate the ground), Prix Vermeille winner Kitesurf and Arc tenth Magical, she should take plenty of beating.

Stradivarius, the winner of four Cup races this season, probably faces his sternest test yet against the progressive Aidan O'Brien-trained Irish St Leger winner Flag Of Honour, who is seen as a successor to Ballydoyle's star stayer Order Of St George, in the opening Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup, and their clash could produce a thriller. This may be another race to watch and enjoy rather than stake heavily on the outcome.

In the Qipco British Champions Sprint, 2016 winner The Tin Man arrives at the top of his game after a fluent defeat of Brando at Haydock and loves Ascot having also won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes here in 2017.

However, James Fanshawe's stable star was only fifth in this race 12 months ago behind Librisa Breeze, Tasleet and Harry Angel (fourth) and, as ever in these sprint races, much will depend on how the race falls.

Harry Angel has all the talent to win and was desperately unfortunate to get hung up in the stalls before the Diamond Jubilee in June. He remains winless at Ascot from five visits but, if everything clicks this time, he could be the one.

For another selection, I will row in again with KYNREN in the closing Balmoral Handicap in the hope that the easier ground will bring out the best in him.

A smooth traveller, William Buick's mount has been knocking on the door in several big handicaps this season but his best winning efforts have come on the soft and he was third in the Spring Mile on a similar surface at Doncaster back in March.

Kynren has certainly been a bit expensive to follow, but he has more than enough ability to win one of these big handicaps.

Posted at 1100 BST on 19/10/18.


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