The end of the British Flat racing season is upon us and what a way to finish.
Four Group Ones, two Group Twos and Europe’s richest mile handicap as Ascot hosts British Champions Day. The bad recent weather means it will be pretty tough on the straight course, while the decision to move the longer distance races to the hurdles track has meant things will be much easier.
Our horse racing betting expert previews the pick of the action.
Fillies & Mares Stakes
The market for the Fillies & Mares Stakes is headed by John Gosden’s Star Catcher who is seeking a four-timer after wins at Royal Ascot, the Curragh and Longchamp. Those last two victories were at Group One level and she’s clearly the one to beat.
I’m not entirely convinced she’ll be at home on the heavy ground though and given she’s available at 13/8 with Grosvenorsport.com, I’m going to take her on.
Fleeting has finished behind Star Catcher three times this season and based on that you’d think she’ll struggle to reverse the form. However, all three of those runs have been over 1m4f and I’m not sure that’s her ideal distance.
Her most recent start, a close second in the Group One Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp, was over 1m2f on ground described as ‘very soft’ and she’ll get similar conditions here.
Given she’s run well over further, her stamina could be a real asset if the ground does get testing and I’m quietly confident this will be the day she gets the better of Star Catcher.
11/2 looks more than fair and she looks a rock-solid each-way proposition.
Of the 36 Group One races in Britain, there are only three that Aidan O’Brien hasn’t won. The King’s Stand at Royal Ascot, the Sprint Cup at Haydock and tomorrow’s Champion Stakes. I’m confident there will only be two remaining come tomorrow afternoon as I fancy his Magical to win the Champion Stakes at 7/4.
The four-year-old daughter of Galileo has been a fantastic servant for the Ballydoyle yard winning three Group Ones including the Fillies & Mares Stakes at this meeting last year. She won three straight races to kick off the 2019 campaign including the Group One Tattersalls Gold Cup, but then bumped into both Crystal Ocean and Enable during the middle part of the season. She was far from disgraced in those defeats and showed her class when defeating a very good field in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown last month.
She didn’t run badly in the Arc at Longchamp either on very soft ground, proving her ability to go on all surfaces. Providing that hasn’t left its mark, she should take plenty of beating.
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