There's top-class racing taking place at Ascot on Champions Day and that's where we head for Saturday's attempt at the Placepot.
Jack Hobbs had no answer to his stable companion Golden Horn in the Dante or the Derby, but he has passed every other test during his career to date, including when destroying his rivals in the Irish Derby
12:45- This is a competitive race but Agent Murphy has plenty going for him, arriving as a progressive, lightly-raced sort who ought to stay two miles. Agent Murphy put up a career-best effort when destroying his rivals in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes, looking a notch above his rivals as he tanked through that contest on the bridle, and he was by no means disgraced when finishing runner-up to wide-margin winner Order of St George in the Irish St Leger. As this is such a competitive contest, it is also worth adding Clever Cookie to the permutation as he was so impressive when winning at York earlier in the season, and he has held valid excuses the last twice. Clever Cookie couldn't cut it against top-level middle-distance horses in the King George, whilst he was left poorly placed in the Lonsdale Cup, but he looks to have ideal conditions here.
13:20- The unbeaten Twilight Son has proven most progressive this season and he took the step up to Group 1 company in his stride when winning the Sprint Cup at Haydock last time. Twilight Son moved powerfully through that race and showed a good attitude to narrowly prevail so, with the prospect of better still to come, he looks sure to put up another bold show. It's also worth including The Tin Man as he was so impressive when decimating his rivals in a C&D handicap last time and he is a half-brother to the top-class Deacon Blues, the horse who won this contest four years ago.
13:55- It could be worth concentrating on the French duo of Sea Calisi and Candarliya here. Sea Calisi won the Group 2 Prix de Malleret earlier in the year and then shaped better than the bare result when finishing third in the Yorkshire Oaks, doing well to get so close having made her challenge from further back than ideal. She then ran right up to her best when finishing third behind Treve in the Prix Vermeille, beaten just half a length by the second-placed Candarliya, and is likely to be on the premises here. Candarliya followed up that excellent Prix Vermeille effort by winning the Group 2 Prix de Royallieu on Arc weekend, taking her record to five wins from her last six starts, and she holds the most persuasive claims in this contest.
14:30- The remarkably consistent, likeable Solow has won 11 of his last 12 starts, four of those wins coming at the highest level, and he looks sure to go close here. He's won with plenty of give in the ground, scored over this straight mile when beating Esoterique in the Queen Anne and looks to have everything in his favour.
15:05- Jack Hobbs is expected to prove a notch above his rivals in the Champion Stakes. Jack Hobbs had no answer to his stable companion Golden Horn in the Dante or the Derby, but he has passed every other test during his career to date, including when destroying his rivals in the Irish Derby. Jack Hobbs looks to have the speed to cope with this drop to ten furlongs and he should prove extremely difficult to beat.
15:45- Ayaar has flattered to deceive on occasion, but he looks to have everything in his favour here, including the services of Frankie Dettori, and should be up to making an impact from a fair-looking handicap mark, just 4 lb higher than when beating Spark Plug at Newbury. Musaddas has failed to build on his impressive reappearance win at Newmarket but he shaped reasonably well in the Cambridgeshire when drawn in the wrong group, and he still looks like a well-handicapped horse.
12:45- 1, 2
13:20- 17, 18
13:55- 7, 10
15:45- 17, 20
= 16 lines