Adam Baylis takes an early look ahead to what could be one of the strongest British Champions Day cards we've seen since its inception...
"Cracksman’s no-show in the Arc was a source of much controversy but Chantilly’s loss is very much Ascot’s gain. The son of Frankel is 5/2 to emulate his father by winning the Champion Stakes"
Long Distance and Sprint Cup's could see rivalries renewed
Order Of St George heads the market for the Long Distance Cup at 5/4 with the Betfair Sportsbook and were he to line up, would set up a re-match with Big Orange after their head bobber in this year's Gold Cup. Michael Bell's charge is currently 9/2 and his participation seems guaranteed following his failure to line up in the Prix du Cadran on Arc weekend.
Three-year-old's have struggled to make an impact in this race (two winners in the last ten years) but St Leger third, Stradivarius, got the better of Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup. He's 5/1 to give John Gosden a second win in this in the last three years.
The Tin Man sprung something of a surprise last year when winning the Champions Sprint Stakes but he's backed that up by taking the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot this year. He's 6/1 to win successive renewals of the race but he's got a stiff task on his hands.
Harry Angel is the market leader at 6/4 who swept aside doubters in the July Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup. That price looks about right given we know he handles softer ground and has since reversed Commonwealth Cup form with Caravaggio who's 4/1 to give Aidan O'Brien a first win in this contest.
Quiet Reflection was sent off joint favourite for the race last year but she's struggled to get her ideal conditions this season. If the rain comes in the next fortnight though she's a big price at 8/1 to gain compensation for last year's defeat.
Opposition to Fahey superstar is thin on the ground
The ante-post picture for the Fillies & Mares Stakes is somewhat muddled currently as we await news of whom Aidan O'Brien deems up the task. I would however be keen to take on both Journey and Bateel who head the betting at 7/2 and 9/2 as older horses have struggled to give weight away in this.
John Gosden's Coronet could be worth a closer look at 5/1 though on the basis of her Ribblesdale victory over course and distance at the Royal Meeting.
The QEII looks to be at the mercy of Richard Fahey's stable star, Ribchester, currently 11/4 for the mile contest. Guineas winner Churchill hasn't really gone on since winning at the Curragh in June and it's hard to see Andre Fabre's Al Wukair getting his head in front.
The main danger may come from Andrew Balding's progressive Beat The Bank who ran out an impressive five length winner of the Joel Stakes last time; at 5/1 he may be worth keeping on side.
Cracksman can provide more glory for Gosden
Cracksman's no-show in the Arc was a source of much controversy but Chantilly's loss is very much Ascot's gain. The son of Frankel is 5/2 to emulate his father by winning the Champion Stakes and despite tasting defeat in both the Epsom and Irish Derby, he was very impressive in victory in the Voltigeur and Niel.
Richard Hannon has confirmed this as Barney Roy's intended target and his nose defeat to Juddmonte International winner Ulysses would give him every chance, he's available at 6/1 on the Betfair Sportsbook.
Winter was a surprise runner in Chantilly and that may put her participation for this in doubt, albeit she wasn't given a hard race. If returning to her form from earlier in the season the 5/1 available looks a big price, but she's struggled since being stepped up in trip.