ITV Racing Tips: Mishriff and Palace Pier to underline star status on glittering Champions Day
Flat fans are in for a treat as Qipco British Champions Day, the sport’s richest single race day, delivers a fantastic showcase of top class racing at Ascot.
It will be Ascot all the way on ITV as a number of scores are settled on the track, not least among the jockeys as the fight to be champion between Oisin Murphy and William Buick is taken right to the wire.
Bar St Mark’s Basilica and Starman, both retired, there are few omissions from the outstanding line-up which includes the world’s three best horses in training, Adayar, Mishriff and Palace Pier.
The presence of Stradivarius, Trueshan, Snowfall, Baeed plus returning winners from last year, Glen Shiel (Champions Sprint), The Revenant (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes) and Addeybb (Champion Stakes) makes this tenth staging a stellar edition.
The Group 2 Long Distance Cup, which opens the card, could be Stradivarius’s last racecourse appearance.
That is followed by four Group 1 races, the Champions Sprint, Fillies & Mares, Queen Elizabeth II and Champion Stakes, ending with the Balmoral Handicap, and for once the ground will not be heavy.
Coverage begins at 13:00 on ITV and we have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing Tips.
A maximum field of 20, of which there are any number of credible candidates for victory. There is a difference of opinion over who should be favourite as bookmakers vary between Rohaan, Dragon Symbol and Art Power.
Rohaan, winner of the Wokingham in the summer, ran an extraordinary race in Ireland last time when he lost many lengths at the start yet still only finished two lengths behind the winner. He can’t afford to do that again, especially against a fast starter like Art Power.
He won a Group 3 by five lengths last time and if Silvestre De Sousa can get the fractions right he looks the one to beat.
Creative Force, who stumbled early in the Haydock Sprint Cup, could be his greatest danger with Thunder Moon, a Group 1 winner last year, representing the best each-way value. His performances have not been as bad as his form figures suggest.
The only blemish in the record of Palace Pier occurred in this race 12 months ago. With the race run on such sloppy ground, it was not the occasion to lose a shoe.
He finished third but this year has quickly rediscovered the winning thread to take his record to nine wins from ten starts.
He has added a further three Group 1 wins to his score and passed the biggest test of his career when defeating the top three-year-old at a mile Poetic Flare in the Prix Jacques Le Marois, in which Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Order Of Australia, finished third.
Poetic Flare has been sold to Japan so the unbeaten Baeed and Sussex Stakes winner Alcohol Free carry the main three-year-old threat. As impressive as Baeed has been, this will be an altogether different challenge for the William Haggas-trained hope.
Palace Pier’s experience, combined with Frankie Dettori’s racecraft, should be the deciding factor while 2,000 Guineas runner-up Master Of The Seas is a good shout for the minor honours.
This race lives up to its title as it delivers another head-to-head between the Derby winner Adayar and Mishriff, this time over Mishriff’s preferred 1m2f distance.
In their previous clash Adayar was the decisive winner of the 1m4f King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the pair have had contrasting results since.
Adayar finished fourth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, while Mishriff was an impressive six length winner of the Juddmonte International. Although last year’s winner Addeybb runs too, the ground needs to be softer for him.
Expect William Buick to make this a thorough test and commit early on Adayar but he would have had a hard race at Longchamp in such testing conditions and is likely to be vulnerable to the fresher Mishriff at 7lb better weight-for-age terms than when they last met.
Mishriff, like Palace Pier, will have been primed to the minute by the Gosden’s to atone for last year’s Champions Day flop.
ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday, 16th October
13:25 Ascot – Long Distance Cup
14:00 Ascot – Champions Sprint Stakes
14:35 Ascot – Fillies & Mares Stakes
15:10 Ascot – Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
15:50 Ascot – Champion Stakes
16:30 Ascot – Balmoral Handicap
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing