Timeform Daily: Long Distance Cup, Saturday, Ascot 13:45
It's probably not giving much away to say that Frankel and Excelebration are our selections in the Champion and QEII, so we instead look at the first race at Ascot on Champions Day, the Group 3 Long Distance Cup...
"Opinion Poll firmly established as one of the top stayers around, splitting Fame And Glory and Colour Vision in 2011 renewal..."
Aiken completed six-timer when making all in tactical Group 2 at Chantilly in June. Lost little in defeat in Hardwicke Stakes and Irish St Leger, but this no easier and stamina to prove. Ground fine.
Askar Tau is a quirky sort but smart on his day, as he showed when length second to Saddler's Rock in the Goodwood Cup in August. Even a repeat of that still leaves him short in this company.
Colour Vision was not seen to best effect when behind Opinion Poll in this last year, and reversed the form with that rival in the Ascot Gold Cup. Just respectable efforts in 3 outings since. Cheekpieces reached for.
Electrolyser had the run of things when winning listed event at Nottingham in April, and his limitations have been exposed every time he's tackled Group company, behind 3 of these in the Goodwood Cup.
Fame And Glory proved himself the best stayer around in 2011, culminating with a ready success in this contest. Unable to attain same heights this year after reappearance success, so must bounce back.
Ile De Re has been a real success story for this yard, landing ultra-competitive Chester Cup and Northumberland Plate earlier this year. Well worth try at this level, and firmly at home under these conditions.
Opinion Poll firmly established as one of the top stayers around, splitting Fame And Glory and Colour Vision in 2011 renewal. Runner-up behind latter rival in Ascot Gold Cup but goes well fresh and ground fine.
Rite of Passage is a smart hurdler whose finest hour came when landing the Gold Cup at the Royal meeting here in 2010. Has been restricted to just one outing since and questions to answer after such an absence.
Saddler's Rock has developed into a high-class stayer, landing Doncaster Cup last autumn and the Goodwood Cup in August. Right there with principals on best form, but disappointing last 3 outings.
1. Opinion Poll
2. Ile De Re
3. Fame And Glory
Timeform Verdict: With 2011 winner Fame And Glory not arriving here in the same form this time around, Opinion Poll makes plenty of appeal in his bid to go one better this year with soft ground no inconvenience. If conditions turn very testing, Ile de Re could exceed many peoples' expectations.