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Big Orange to spring a surprise in Champions Day opener 

| 17.10.2014

So here it is, the final big day of the flat season, where champions will be crowned, and hopefully a few winners will be picked.

But while this writer cannot see anything getting the better of Cirrus Des Aigles in the Champion Stakes, and likes the chances of Integral in the QEII, we are going to take a look at some big-priced runners who could cause an upset.

And with one win and a place from our three long-shots on Future Champions Day we are carrying a bit of form into the weekend.

Here are our three each-way selections for the big day at Ascot.

Big Orange – 12/1 – 13:45 Long Distance Cup

A marked improver this year, Michael Bell’s colt started off the campaign with a win in a lowly Class 6 Maiden at Lingfield, but has improved with every run.

He was last seen taking a Listed race here over 1m6f, and “will be right in the mix” according to his trainer, although more improvement is likely to be needed.

Rated 111, he is actually best off at the weights, and will carry less than all but one of his rivals, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him run into a place.

Gregorian – 10/1 – 14:20 Sprint Stakes

John Gosden’s charge has done most of his running at a mile, but his 1 1/2l third behind Slade Power in the July Cup proves that he has the pace to challenge in these sprints.

Like all picks this weekend, the ability to handle the heavy going  will be paramount and with figures of 1210 on soft ground over six or seven furlongs, he could run a big race.

He may need luck to play a part to come past tiring horses, but if the gaps appear, his stamina will come into play and he could be involved in the closing stages.

Madame Chiang – 8/1 – 14:55 Fillies and Mares Stakes 

This lightly raced sort has only run four times and has two victories to her name. Both of those wins came when the ground was soft, so she will relish the testing conditions up the Ascot home straight this weekend.

Of her two below par runs; she can said to have been unsuited by both the going and the camber at Epsom in the Oaks, while she wasn’t beaten far into six at Longchamp last time out, with Arc winner Treve just 1 1/2l ahead.

She could be one to be plugging on as others throw in the towel.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing



Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.