Champions Day has finally arrived and while the ground is much more testing than is ideal – as a punter that gives us an edge as we look for mud-lovers.
So watch out Paddy – I’m after your cash!
Let’s rattle through the big races and start with the Long Distance Cup. It’s easy to forget how lightly raced LEADING LIGHT (1.45pm) is. The Ascot Gold Cup hero has run just 11 times – with eight wins.
He’s won on heavy so conditions should bring his undoubted stamina into play much more. On ratings he should win and it’s worth noting that big rival Estimate disappointed on soft in this race 12 months ago.
A huge field is out for the Champions Sprint and it’s a while now since GORDON LORD BYRON (2.20pm) has had truly soft ground. Connections are adamant he does not need it testing – and the formbook suggests they are right. However, I’m sure he’s best with some juice and his stamina will be a big asset here.
Next up it’s the Fillies’ and Mares Stakes, and without doubt the most interesting horse is Hadaatha, who steps up in trip. However, I have to take her on in the conditions with last year’s heroine SEAL OF APPROVAL (2.55pm), who just loves the cut in the ground and might well plod on best in a Group 1 that is very winnable.
That’s the spirit
The big mile contest is the QE11 and Richard Hughes is adamant Night of Thunder has been crying out for soft ground. If that is the case, the 2,000 Guineas hero will take all the beating. But the Moulin hero CHARM SPIRIT (3.30pm) has already beaten the likes of Toronado and Shifting Power and is proven on very soft ground. He was only fifth in the Newmarket Classic – but can swap the form around on his favoured going.
Mud-loving Cirrus des Aigles will be hard to beat in the Champion Stakes. However, former Derby winner RULER OF THE WORLD (4.05pm) goes very well in soft and there is a real chance to race him close to the pace here as was the case when he was hugely impressive in the Prix Foy. He beat the Prix de l’Arc runner-up Flintshire that day.
He was slightly disappointing in the Arc but was still only beaten less than six lengths by Treve – so was far from disgraced.
Out for revenge
The Balmoral Handicap ends the day and it’s not easy to find a horse how loves a mile on soft ground. The one I like is JACK’S REVENGE (4.45pm) who goes in heavy.
Obviously we have to hope the draw is OK, but he’s one of the few in the field that could have everything in his favour. He’s probably 5lb too high in the weights but his love for soft ground may mean he gets away with a stiff mark. Worth a look at a double-digit price in a race where Paddy is paying the first 5 home.
So good luck everyone. And let’s hope we can cheer home a few winners with a Yeeehaaa! You hear me Paddy?