Champion Stakes Preview
Last updated: October 17, 2019 by Leon Marshal
The feature race at Ascot on Saturday is the £1.35 million Group 1 Champion Stakes over a mile and a quarter. The race was run at Newmarket until 2011 when it became the title event of British Champions Day. Notable past winners include Brigadier Gerard (1971, 1972), Pebbles (1985), Bosra Sham (1996) and Frankel (2012). John Gosden and Frankie Dettori teamed up successfully with Cracksman in 2017 and 2018.
Heavy ground sparks Addeybb gamble
Addeybb is not the highest rated horse in the field but his liking for soft ground could be a crucial factor this weekend. Conditions are reportedly heavy at Ascot and Addeybb was an easy winner over course at distance in similar conditions at the Royal meeting. The five-year-old has progressed rapidly since winning the Lincoln Handicap last season. He won the Group 2 Bet365 Mile at Sandown but has been well beaten in both previous starts in Group 1 races.
Addeybb was beaten by Elarqam in soft ground at York but bounced back to win the Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock next time. That was only his fourth race of the season so he certainly hasn’t been over-raced by William Haggas.
Aidan O’Brien is doubly represented with Arc fifth Magical and last season’s QE II Stakes runner-up I Can Fly. Magical raced prominently in the Arc and kicked for home over two and a half furlongs out. She faded to finish a respectable fifth, although she was beaten over 10 lengths at the finish. The Galileo filly won at the corresponding meeting last year when taking the Fillies & Mares.
I Can Fly was second to Roaring Lion at this meeting 12 months’ ago over a mile and that is probably her best trip. The four-year-old finished over three lengths behind Coronet at Deauville in August and has never really threatened to get involved in her two subsequent races.
Gosden seeks third successive Champion Stakes win
John Gosden also saddles two runners with Coronet and Mehdaayih. Coronet is a five-year-old mare by Dubawi and has won her last two races in testing conditions in France. She won the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville. The grey ran on strongly behind Magical here last year when given too much to do.
Mehdaayih is a daughter of Frankel and started favourite for the Epsom Oaks at the end of May. She raced too keenly and eventually finished seventh in a rough race. She was runner-up to Deirdre in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood in August but ran poorly at the recent Arc meeting.
Andrew Balding’s Fox Tal is the dark horse of the race. He was having his first race for almost a year when winning a Conditions race at Doncaster last month. The son of Sea The Stars is taking a massive step up in class here but has only raced five times and has bags of potential.
Regal Reality has not raced since finishing fifth to Japan in the York International. He is also held by Addeybb on previous form. Deirdre has won on yielding ground in her native Japan but has three lengths to make up on Magical from the Irish Champion Stakes in September.
Magical @2-1 at 888Sport.
Each-way 1/5 odds, 1,2,3
The Champion Stakes is due off at 4.00 on Saturday 19th October and will be televised live on ITV.