Our racing expert Ben Linfoot seeks out the value on Qipco British Champions Day with Mehdaayih fancied to bounce back in the Champion Stakes.
Recommended Bets: Champions Day, 2019
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
Frankel will forever be linked with Qipco British Champions Day thanks to his victories in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the Champion Stakes in its infancy, while his most famous son, Cracksman, did his legacy no harm at all with two blockbusting victories in the latter race.
On Saturday he’s represented by five of his progeny once again and, while Anapurna has the best chance of the quintet according to the betting, it’s another daughter of his, MEHDAAYIH, that appeals from a punting perspective at 16/1 (General 1/5 1,2,3, you might get 18s in a place) for the Qipco British Champion Stakes.
If you take Magical out of this race it doesn’t look a vintage renewal and there has to be doubts about her performing to her usual figure given she had such a tough race in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe less than two weeks ago, where she chased the strong gallop set by Ghaiyyath for much of the contest.
With that in mind it looks an open race and Addeybb is short enough given he’s flopped a couple of times at the top level while Coronet carries her head high and doesn’t look one to trust at relatively short odds.
John Gosden could still win this race for the third successive season, though, as Mehdaayih has solid claims in this company if you can forgive her run in France last time out.
I can, as she was too fresh and keen after a mini break at ParisLongchamp, but on her form at Chester on soft ground in the Cheshire Oaks and at Glorious Goodwood in the Nassau Stakes she has a good chance in this contest.
Frankie Dettori looked to have made too much use of her at Goodwood and she was unlucky to be mugged by Deirdre in the closing stages after forcing the issue for most of that contest, while he never got hold of her in France on her first start in over two months.
That, on the face of it, was a poor run, but it’s just one performance to forgive and if it has taken the freshness out of her and Rab Havlin can get her settled she’ll have a much better chance than her odds suggest. She’ll like the ground and rates a fair each-way bet at generous odds.
In the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes another daughter of Frankel, Veracious, was on the shortlist at 40/1 as it’s only a couple of starts since she won the Group One Falmouth Stakes, form that has been franked by Prix de la Foret winner One Master.
However, she does have almost a stone to find on the figures with BENBATL and at 7/1 (General) he’s drifted to a very backable price considering he’s the top-rated in the race by 6lb and looked in such great nick when winning the Shadwell Joel Stakes last time out.
He’s drifted for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the sustained support for The Revenant who is now incredibly short at 5/2 and, secondly, related to that plunge, the very testing ground on the Ascot straight track which is admittedly an unknown for Saeed bin Suroor’s charge.
However, the last time he ran in bad ground was in Haydock heavy following a mini break at the end of a long season, so he’s worth forgiving that and being a son of Dubawi you would expect him to handle softer conditions.
It’s the same for all of them and I’m prepared to risk him on the ground at the price, as he’s a three-time Group One winner who stays further and Oisin Murphy was very definite about going for this contest over the stiff Ascot mile rather than going for the Champion Stakes.
The Revenant is a danger considering he’s thriving and goes well in the conditions, but he’s unproven at the top level and the form of his Prix Daniel Wildenstein looks suspect given Olmedo was too keen early on and Impulsif looked to struggle on the ground.
Magna Grecia is another threat, but he has to defy a 147-day absence and stall one on the far side might not be the easiest to negotiate.
Benbatl looks a solid wager at 7s, but I don’t really want to take Stradivarius on in the Long Distance Cup, even if Kew Gardens is a tempting alternative, while Gosden looks to have a strong hand in the Fillies & Mares as well with Star Catcher and Anapurna.
I do like Tarnawa as an each-way alternative in that race for Dermot Weld, but her price has contracted into 7s now which looks about right given the opposition from Clarehaven.
Earlier on the card kicks off with the Qipco Champions Sprint at 1.35 and while Advertise and Hello Youmzain set the standard a handful of others aren’t far behind and a heavy ground slog on the Ascot straight track can be a great leveller.
With this in mind I want to back a couple of horses that have good course form to their name and for my money DREAM OF DREAMS is underestimated at 16/1 (General) considering his second to Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee is arguably the best piece of Ascot form in the race.
Held up that day by Danny Tudhope, he was a tad unlucky not to reel the Charlie Appleby-trained horse in and it was a performance that proved the stiff six furlongs at Ascot is exactly what he wants, as you would expect from a horse that stays seven very well.
I’m happy to excuse him his last two runs on speedier tracks at Newmarket and Haydock, especially his last run in the Sprint Cup where he was hampered on a few occasions, eventually being forced to the far side to make his challenge.
He’s better than that and the son of Dream Ahead has proven himself on testing ground a few times, including in November at Doncaster in the Listed Wentworth Stakes, so the combination of slow ground and Ascot’s six furlongs really should play to his strengths.
William Buick takes over in the saddle with Tudhope riding SANDS OF MALI (14/1 General), but Richard Fahey’s horse is worth getting onside as well for a double-pronged attack on the meeting’s opener.
A winner of this race in soft ground last year, he’s been second in a Commonwealth Cup, too, so Ascot clearly suits and he’s a huge player on his best form.
He’s a bigger price than he might be on the back of a few lacklustre runs this campaign, but Fahey has been happy with his work leading up to Saturday’s assignment, citing a physical problem after Ascot when ‘he wasn’t moving well’ as a valid reason for his early season flops.
If he’s back to the sort of form that saw him beat Harry Angel well in this race last year, where he only received a couple of strikes with the whip to seal the race, then he’s a horse to have on your side at 14s, as we know how good that runner-up was and the pair were well clear of the third.
Finally, back ESCOBAR each-way at 16/1 (Generalral ¼ 1,2,3,4, you might get 18s at Coral) for the closing Balmoral Handicap.
Rated 105 now, you couldn’t argue he’s the best-handicapped horse in the race but he is in great nick and he does love the Ascot straight course and testing ground.
Last year he traded at 1.12 in-running on Betfair for this very race, as he absolutely tanked through the contest getting loads of cover, before hitting the front and going clear once getting the gap, only for the flying Sharjah Bridge to nail him late in the piece.
He’s held his form well since then, but is only 3lb higher on Saturday and his last two runs at this track are solid pieces of evidence that he’s in excellent form.
The key thing is they were both over seven furlongs, but he’s shaped as though a step back up to a mile will suit, and if Adam Kirby can get him well covered up again, like last year, he could even give the likes of Lord North and Amedeo Modigliani something to think about.
Posted at 1700 BST on 18/10/19
Ben Linfoot's Value Bet aim: The Value Bet is designed to generate long-term profit by searching for overpriced horses in the feature weekend races and at the big Festivals in the UK and Ireland. Running total: +341.39pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Sky Bet Guarantee
Sky Bet are offering EXTRA VALUE to followers of the Sporting Life Value Bet column with exclusive guaranteed advertised prices* for at least an hour from the time of publication 5pm-6pm max £25). Just make sure you're logged in and click on the links to automatically populate your betslip (*does not include Sky Bet Money Back As Cash races)...
Related horse racing links
We are committed in our support of responsible gambling. Recommended bets are advised to over-18s and we strongly encourage readers to wager only what they can afford to lose.