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Two double-digit diamonds from Ascot’s Champions Day undercard

| 13.10.2016

You can see a full preview of Ascot’s four Champions Day Group 1 races here, and with the Group 2 Long Distance Cup kicking off proceedings, plus a potentially massive Balmoral Handicap field to round things off, there’s plenty to look forward to in Berkshire.

Here are a couple of double-digit fancies from the undercard to bookend the top-class quad:

13.25 – Long Distance Cup – Sheikhzayedroad @ 12/1

This Group 2 looks highly competitive, with Dermot Weld’s 2014 winner Forgotten Rules lining up for the third year on the bounce and 6/1 third favourite, after just being pipped to a first-time-out win at the Curragh over this trip on his seasonal reappearance last month.

Aidan O’Brien’s jolly Order Of St George takes a chunk out of the market at 5/6, but the Ascot Gold Cup winner and Arc third failed at 1/7 odds only last month, going down to Willie Mullins’ 2015 Cheltenham Handicap Hurdle winner Wicklow Brave in what was effectively a two-horse race.

He had his excuses, having sweated up beforehand, but the fact that only one of the four-year-old’s seven wins has come over more than 1m2f suggests he’s no shoo-in at this 2m trip, which Order Of St George has never tackled before.

A value alternative could be Martin Harley’s Sheikhzayedroad, who wasn’t too far behind the Ballydoyle inmate at Royal Ascot and has added the Doncaster Cup over 2m2f since, with a respectable third in the Goodwood Cup wedged in between.

16.25 – Balmoral Handicap – Donncha @ 16/1

Five-year-olds have won both runnings of this race since its formation in 2014, carrying between 8-2 and 9-2 and returning SPs of 7/1 and 20/1.

That doesn’t narrow things down too much considering there are currently 45 entrants (27 ran in 2014 and 20 last year), but among those that tick most of the boxes is Robert Eddery’s Irish-bred animal.

Donncha finished fourth here 12 months ago and heads into this renewal in similar form as the winner that day – Saeed Bin Suroor’s Musaddas – had shown immediately prior to scoring.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Iain Houten

Iain has been contributing pieces to various websites on an array of subjects, including sports, politics and art, for over four years. Despite blue being his favourite colour, the teams he supports all wear red.