Darren Goodbody outlines his selections for Champions Day
What a feast of racing this Saturday as Ascot takes centre stage with Champions Day.
The 1.25 is the Long Distance Cup and one I like on this is Joseph Tuite’s LITIGANT. The 2014 Ebor winner was last seen when landing the November Handicap at Doncaster last season, despite this being his first run of the season he is a horse that goes very well fresh.The ground is a slight concern so any significant rain would help the cause, regardless still for me a cracking each way bet for the opener.
We move on to the two o’clock and the Champions Sprint, it’s been a long season for some of these and we could see an improved effort from Rohaut’s SIGNS OF BLESSINGS. The French raider was last seen when landing the De Gheest when beating Donjuan Triumphant by one and a quarter lengths.Had a little to find on his third to Twilight Son in the Jubilee Stakes at the Royal meeting and does look well drawn to give a good account of himself at double figure odds.
The Fillies and Mares Stakes should be going to Dermot Weld’s ZHUKOVA. The daughter of Fastnet Rock is still unbeaten on her three starts as a four year old which included taking the scalp of US Army Ranger in the G3 Enterprise Stakes at Leopardstown last month. She is pretty versatile on any ground and looks the one to give the Ballydoyle entry the most to think about this afternoon.
The shock of the day could come in the QE11 from the Kevin Prendergast stable in AWTAAD. I have always held him in high regard after he beat Galileo Gold in the G1 Irish 2000 Guineas. His defeat to The Gurkha in the Sussex Stakes saw Galileo Gold reverse the form, but he bounced back when landing the Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown when beating Custom Cut by one and a half lengths. He is better than he showed in the Sussex, and I would like to feel at 12/1 is brings value to the table.
Dermot Weld’s FASCINATING ROCK interests me in the Champion Stakes. He could have won the Whip Stakes but for hitting a flat spot two furlongs out, but he never gave up under today’s pilot Pat Smullen who kept him up to his work all the way to the line, big chance in this for me.
Richard Fahey’s THIRD TIME LUCKY can land the finale, the Balmoral Stakes. Has been slow on the up-take this season, but improved recently when a solid fourth in the Cambridgeshire when stating on powerfully in the closing stages.
LITIGANT : 1pt ew @ 14/1 ( BOG)
SIGNS OF BLESSING : 1pt ew @ 11/1 (BOG)
ZHUKOVA : 2pts win @ 5/1 (BOG)
AWTAAD : 2pt each way @ 12/1 (BOG)
FASCINATING ROCK : 2pt each way @ 8/1 (BOG)
THIRD TIME LUCKY : 4pt win (NAP) @ 8/1 (BOG)