British Champions Long Distance Cup Tips & Betting Preview

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Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group Two)

  • 13:25
  • Ascot
1m 7f 209y

Race Preview

It takes a decent sort to win this marathon with Sheikhzayed Road scoring for David Simcock last season at the rewarding odds of 11/1, though favourite backers who reaped their rewards four times in a row from 2006 to 2009 have had to wait ever since with winners at odds up to 20/1 with Royal Diamond in 2013. Read on below for our ante-post race preview ahead of the British Champions Long Distance Cup 2017.

Looking through the early declarations for this ante post preview and as things stand there are sixty horses declared though obviously there will be an awful lot less come race day. The early markets see Aidan O’Brien’s Order Of St George head the betting, and the Gold Cup winner of 2016 (and runner up this season) has a pretty obvious chance. A freak of nature, the son of top sire Galileo has won over distances ranging from a mile (at Leopardstown as a two-year-old) to two and a half miles in the aforementioned Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, and with his potent blend of speed and stamina he really ought to prove difficult to beat. As we write his last run was A winning one at The Curragh when sent off odds-on for the Group Three Irish St Leger Trail which he took by close to five lengths, and he may well run in the Irish St Leger before turning out here but if he arrives in the same sort of form he will clearly take all the stopping with Ryan Moore most likely to ride.

Not many horses have their own Twitter handle but Big Orange (@BigOrangeGB) is the exception to the rule and is now one of the most popular horses in training. Michael Bell looks after the six-year-old in Newmarket at Fitzroy House and he has won nine of his twenty-five starts and over one and a quarter million pounds in win and place prize money, with a second to Stradivarius the latest in the Group One Qatar Goodwood Cup in early August. He did beat Order Of St George by a short head in the Gold Cup this season and they meet on the same terms here which has to give him every chance on the form book, and the race going public will be hoping and praying that the rematch is on come October, and that they get another titanic battle all the way up the home straight.

Three-year-olds have won three of the last twenty running of this contest and they do get weight from their elders which may yet bring Stradivarius in to the equation for trainer John Gosden. A son of the legendary Sea The Stars out of a Bering mare, he beat Big orange by a length and three-quarters over two miles in the Goodwood Cup in August and meets that rival on five pounds worse terms here so in theory is up against it, but he keeps on improving race on race and was perhaps value for a bigger winning margin after being held up by Andrea Atzeni in Sussex and has to be seen as a major player here if he arrives in the same sort of form.

Sheikhzayed Road may have been a surprise winner last year for David Simcock but he does look potentially overpriced for this year’s renewal as a horse who obviously stays and laps up both course and distance. He is unlikely to be improving at the age of eight but has already proved his well-being this season with a good third to the classy Vazirabad at Meydan in Dubai in the Dubai Gold Cup, beaten just a length and three-quarters at the line despite being short of room at a crucial stage. Admittedly he hasn’t run as well since and is yet to win this season, but his shrewd trainer will have him spot on for this valuable contest as connections look to add to his eleven career wins, and if he does make the final line up he must surely have a serious each way chance.

Looking for some challengers from out of left field and Saeed Bin Suroor has entered Game Starter here, who is unbeaten this season as we write after wins at Newmarket over a mile and a mile and a quarter. Either someone clicked the wrong button on the keyboard or they know something that we don’t as two miles seems a massive step up in trip as well as a push on breeding for the son of Dubawi out of a Cape Cross mare. He would get plenty of weight from the better-fancied horses as a three-year-old, and is hard to knock after a very easy win in a Class Three handicap in first time cheekpieces in early August, but certainly deserves marking down as a real dark horse here at a big price for stable having a good season and with plenty of other class stayers to gallop him with on the Newmarket gallops to assess his true abilities.

Finally (for now), and Simple Verse would have an excellent each way chance here if only trainer Ralph Beckett can get her back to her very best. In September 2015, she reached her peak with a St Leger win over a mile and three-quarters at Doncaster in a race full of drama as she won by a short head to lose the race in the Stewards Room only to be given it back again on appeal.  Although she has won twice since she hasn’t looked the same horse so far this season with a second at York before finishing last to Big Orange and Co in the Gold Cup when beaten over a hundred lengths after being heavily eased down and virtually pulled up when looking as if something was amiss, but if she gets this two miles (she was only beaten a length in third last year) and returning fresh, she may well be able to threaten the leaders where it really counts.