Rob Eddy's tips for Saturday feature three selections from Champions Day at Ascot.
Ascot is the feature attraction on Saturday as the Berkshire circuit hosts the British Champions Day card, a stunning offering with four Group 1 races and more than £4million in prize money, making it Britain’s richest raceday.
They also race at Newton Abbot, Market Rasen and Stratford over jumps on Saturday, alongside Leopardstown, Limerick, Catterick and Wolverhampton (AW) on the level in what is set to be a flurry of racing action – assuming it all beats the weather.
We’re focused on the Champions Day action from Ascot, with three fancies including Trueshan as he goes for a fourth straight win in the Long Distance Cup.
Trueshan (Ascot 13:15) @ 2/1
Bluestocking (Ascot 14:25) @ 7/1
Paddington (Ascot 15:05) @ 2/1
Trueshan can outstay them all in home game
Soft ground at Ascot come this time of year has proved ideal for TRUESHAN, Alan King’s staying star now bidding to complete a four-timer in the Long Distance Cup and move within one of Further Flight’s five-in-a-row record from the 1990s.
The knives were out for Trueshan after a couple of poor efforts in the spring, with talk of a campaign over hurdles being mooted to rejuvenate him and, once more, the Gold Cup here in June was missed as the ground was too quick.
He was a 10/3 chance in last month’s Doncaster Cup – his biggest SP since he won his first Long Distance Cup here in 2020 – and he burst back to form in holding off progressive Ebor runner-up Sweet William on Town Moor. They meet again now.
Further proof of his rejuvenation came with a four-length success in the Group 1 Prix du Cadran at Longchamp before September was done and the three-week interval between then and now looks perfect.
While last season’s outstanding stayer Kyprios is a key danger for Aidan O’Brien, he missed 344 days and was soundly held by Eldar Eldarov in the Irish St Leger in his comeback last month. That gives the Ballydoyle inmate something to prove and with this being Trueshan’s backyard at this time of year, Hollie Doyle’s partner is fancied to shine again in the mud at Ascot.
Bluestocking has a big pot in her
Though she arrives into this Qipco British Champions Fillies’ & Mares’ Stakes off the back of a disappointing defeat when second as odds-on favourite at Chester last month, Ralph Beckett’s BLUESTOCKING is worth sticking with.
The Camelot filly looked desperately unfortunate when second in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh in July, seemingly having timed her move to perfection under Colin Keane only for Ryan Moore and Savethelastdance to rally from an unpromising position and grab the win in unlikely circumstances.
Next up, Bluestocking went to York in August and found her path blocked at a crucial stage in the Yorkshire Oaks as her Royal Ascot conqueror Warm Heart scored.
That Chester defeat since isn’t one to hold against her, she looked to have it won and was collared by Al Qareem in the dying embers, Karl Burke’s gelding adding a Group 3 win here since to frank the form.
Bluestocking’s best effort came in that Irish Oaks on soft ground, so conditions here are fine and a pair of first-time cheekpieces could eke out more improvement from the Camelot filly. She’s left the impression there is a big race to be won and what better time than now for a yard in stunning form of late, Beckett’s team operating a 30 percent strike-rate recently.
‘The Bear’ can reign supreme in quality QEII
PADDINGTON has assembled quite the following this season as Aidan O’Brien’s Siyouni colt went from winning a Naas handicap off a mark of 97 in March to completing a Group 1 four-timer come the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
He’d bagged the Irish 2000 Guineas, the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Eclipse at Sandown by that point and his winning run stood at six.
He was only third in the Juddmonte International at York in August but that came at the end of a busy sequence and he certainly didn’t give in easily.
After a nice break since, he drops back to the mile trip at which he was irresistible earlier in the season and the manner in which he motored home from Facteur Cheval at Goodwood on soft ground bodes well for these conditions.
Fellow Irish raider Tahiyra, whose sole defeat came when second in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, looks a massive danger, while French raider Big Rock and Nashwa for the Gosden team are respected and Chaldean could go close if returning to form after his own break, but they all must fear ‘The Bear’ given his overall body of work this season.