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All the focus will be on Champions Day at Ascot and rightly so, but if you are looking for a value bet elsewhere, then Jabaar (nap) could fit the bill in the Catterick 3.30.
Sharp, left-handed tracks seem to suit this relatively lightly raced four-year-old, as does plenty of give in the ground, so with rain forecast at “The Bridge” he could be in his element.
The one imponderable is the distance of 12 furlongs, his first run over the trip, but on deep ground at Chester over an extended mile-and-a-quarter he has been staying on very strongly.
In the circumstances, I would expect Philip Makin to give him every chance here by hiding his charge away in mid-pack and then coming with a stealthy run down the home stretch and hopefully see off the well-handicapped Tamayuz Magic and Northwest Frontier.
And so onto Ascot and the feature race is the Champion Stakes at 3.50, with Cracksman and Barney Roy heading the market.
Both have solid claims on their best form, but I would be worried about the John Gosden-charge coming back to 10 furlongs as he merely looks a galloper and does sometimes take a while to engage top gear.
So the value outside that duo could well be an each-way call on Prince of Wales’s Stakes hero Highland Reel. His Ascot form figures read 2114, the latter coming behind Enable in the King George when deep ground over a mile-and-a-half was clearly too far.
He is a consummate professional of a racehorse and at around 8/1 looks a very solid each-way value.
At the backend of a heavy season there are bound to be some turn ups in the other championship races and Brando could outstrip his top-price odds of 20/1 in the Sprint at 2.00.
He doesn’t have an awful lot to find with Harry Angel and Caravaggio on bits and pieces of form this year and has every chance of hitting the three based on his third in this race last year.
The Fillies and Mares event at 2.40 could be reliant on the weather/going factor. If the rain changes the ground to genuinely soft then the French filly Bateel is going to be extremely hard to beat.
However, on merely good to soft ground, St Leger fifth Coronet has obvious claims of following up her course and distance success in the Ribblesdale Stakes earlier in the year.
The Long Distance Cup at 1.25 once again sees Order of St George an odds-on favourite just as he was last year when brutally turned over by Sheikhzayedroad (nb) and the old man may be able to repeat that feat following a much improved effort at Doncaster last time out when he stayed on very strongly to close home. Best-priced odds of 20/1 look fair value to hit the frame again at the very least.
The concluding Balmoral Handicap over a mile at 4.30 looks a real conundrum as it should do for the richest type of event over this distance in Europe.
At the prices I think we can take two against the field in the form of GM Hopkins, who likes it around here having won the Hunt Cup in 2015, along with Eddystone Rock.
The latter has never won at a mile, but the fast pace could bring him right into the argument with his closing style in the final 150 yards.
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