Champions Day: Cracksman can repeat Ascot success
We've picked out British Champions Day tips for all six races on Saturday as Ascot again stages the richest meeting in the UK racing calendar.
This will be the eighth renewal of the Flat campaign's end-of-season highlight and there have been some spectacular contests since the inaugural running in 2011.
Frankel was among the winners that year in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and also prevailed 12 months later in the Champion Stakes, so let's hope we get some more memorable victories this term.
Champions Day entries are out! 🙌 @ChampionsSeries @Ascot-- World Horse Racing (@WHR) October 15, 2018
🌳 Kew Gardens
🤖 The Tin Man
😇 Harry Angel
💁♀️ Lah Ti Dar
👁 Expert Eye
💎🌊 Crystal Ocean
🦁 Roaring Lion
Who are you most excited to see? 🤗 pic.twitter.com/K5rsseClAf
1.25 British Champions Long Distance Cup
Stradivarius made hay while the sun shone this summer, securing four straight wins and a £1million bonus, but wet weather has proved his undoing in the past.
Testing conditions underfoot will not worry connections of Irish St Leger hero Flag Of Honour, who was twice successful on yielding ground last term.
The three-year-old son of Galileo made all to land a maiden Group 1 triumph at the Curragh last month and looks set to relish this step up to two miles.
2.00 British Champions Sprint Stakes
The Tin Man ticks plenty of boxes and is the one they all have to beat in this Group 1 event over six furlongs.
Dean Ivory's gelding kept on well to secure an elite-level success at Haydock last month when the mud was flying.
He is also a three-time course and distance winner, including when taking this prize two years ago and last season's Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the Royal meeting.
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2.40 British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes
The beautifully-bred Lah Ti Dar will be all the rage after chasing home Kew Gardens in the St Leger, especially following full brother Too Darn Hot's Dewhurst triumph last weekend.
However, John Gosden's filly may not be favoured by dropping back down in distance, while French raider Kitesurf is another who could be tapped for toe if this is a slow-run race.
The ultra-consistent Coronet has been placed in a trio of top-class events since scoring at York in May and won the Ribblesdale here last season, so she looks a rock-solid each-way option.
3.15 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
Lord Glitters got up on the line to land a gamble in the concluding Balmoral Handicap 12 months ago and has since progressed into a fine Group-class campaigner.
After a fast-finishing second in the Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal meeting, he was just edged out in the Summer Mile here in July.
David O'Meara's gelding has since been placed in the Sussex Mile at Glorious Goodwood and picked up a confidence-boosting win at York.
Disappointed on firm ground at Woodbine in Canada last month but will have conditions back in his favour in Berkshire.
3.50 Champion Stakes
Cracksman was simply sensational when romping home seven lengths clear of Poet's Word in this race last term and can hopefully return to that kind of form.
The son of Frankel only just scraped home in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on Derby day and may have felt the effects of that effort when an odds-on second in the King George here.
However, having been freshened up by a four-month break, work rider Robert Havlin described him as "bouncing" again after a recent spin on the gallops and Cracksman is now fancied to show his true worth once more.
4.30 Balmoral Handicap
Raising Sand enhanced an already-excellent Ascot record when storming through to land a competitive contest here recently and will be well backed to make light of a 6lb penalty for that success.
That was a third course victory for Jamie Osborne's gelding, who previously put in an eye-catching run in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket and has looked in rude health since returning from a summer holiday.