Channel 4

A Guide To Ascot Champions Day 2015

Thursday October 15th 2015 - 15:00

An exceptional days racing to round off the flat season from Ascot on Saturday – read our guide to Champions Day 2015 to see which big names are running and find out what all the fuss is about!

Champions Day 2015 Races

Total Prize Money: £4,100,000

Where can I get tips for Champions Day 2015?

As with all Channel 4 racing, check our dedicated section for free Channel 4 racing tips from Friday morning – click here to go there now!

Long Distance Cup

Agent Murphy v  Litigant v Pallasator v The Field

One of the hardest races to call with so many younger stayers looking to step up on previous form being pitted against those with solid staying wins already in the bank. Official ratings make the Brian Meehan trained Agent Murphy the one they all have to beat but he is yet to win over further than a mile and three quarters and the extra distance may yet find him out. Litigant is a rags to riches story for trainer Joseph Tuite and ran away with the Ebor handicap on his return from a long absence, but this is a Group race not a handicap and he may struggle to extend his unbeaten run to five this afternoon. Meanwhile, Sir Mark Prescott will be hoping Pallasator will be on his best behaviour here and can get to the front when needed in what already looks likely to be fascinating renewal.

Sprint Stakes

Muhaarar v Twilight Son v The Field

Class versus potential sums this race up nicely as Charlie Hills signs off the season (and probably the career) of Muhaarar, a son of Oasis Dream, in this £600,000 guaranteed prize money renewal. He improved out of all recognition from the age of two to three and has taken four races already this season, three of them Group Ones. That form makes him the one to beat – if he can handle the softer going that is.  Twilight Son is stepping up in class for Henry Candy but remains unbeaten after five career starts, peaking in the Betfred Sprint Cup (Group One), and is correctly placed as second favourite though he will need to improve again if he wants to beat the favourite.

Fillies & Mares Stakes

Covert Love v Candarliya v The Field

One British, one French – and both with exactly the same form figures of 111121 this season which is a rarity in itself but we feel that Hugo Palmer’s Covert Love ought to hold the edge of the two if she has the speed to revert to this ten furlong trip again. She has won the Irish Oaks as well as the Prix de l’Opera already this season and is a really special filly but naturally she won’t have it all her own way.  Meanwhile, the genius that is Andre Fabre will expect a big run from Candarliya as well, although her form is in lesser races and this is obviously a big step up.  Her six length defeat by Treve in the Prix Vermeille may be her best form but that may leave her with it all to do today and we wonder if she a place may be the very best she can hope for.

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Champions Mile)

Solow v Gleneagles v The Field

On paper this really does look like a two horse race – but be warned, there is still a (decent) chance that one of the two will be a no show on the day! Freddie Head sends Solow here and seems very pleased with the condition of the five year old who has won his last eights races in a run stretching back to August 2014, and with the ability to handle the cut in the ground he is really pretty difficult to even try to oppose. That said, Aiden O’Brien has been heard to call Gleneagles the best miler he has ever trained (allegedly), and having already won the English and Irish 2000 Guineas and the St James Palace Stakes he is certainly no slouch! Softer ground really doesn’t suit him at all which is why we haven’t seen him since June and he has been continually pulled out of the big races, but if connections feel the going is suitable and let him take his chance, it could be tight to call between the two of them near the line. He is the more likely of the two not to turn up and if he doesn’t expect Solow to be a very short priced favourite indeed.

Champion Stakes (1m 2f)

Jack Hobbs v Found v The Field

Punters need to remember that the John Gosden trained horse would arrive here unbeaten were it not for stablemate Golden Horn who beat him in to second in both the Dante Stakes and the Epsom Derby, and that form could hardly have worked out any better over in France. Jack Hobbs went on from Epsom to win the Irish Derby and had a spin around Kempton in a Group Three to blow way any cobwebs last time out. Although badly drawn out wide, he is expected to have too much class for his rivals here. Found is more of an enigma; very highly regarded at home in Ireland with Aiden O’Brien but frustrating out on the track! She looks to be coming to herself in the second half of the season and we can ignore her Arc run when she was badly hampered and if there is a surprise then she looks the one most likely to provide it.

Balmoral Handicap

The Field

The Balmoral Handicap isn’t part of the Champions Day but it’s the last race on the card and live on Channel 4 so we had to include it. We haven’t pulled out any matchups because it’s just too competitive – the current favourites (Sacrificial and Buckstay) can both be backed at 8/1 and even the outsider of this 23 runner field Farlow is just 33/1. Recognisable names include Gm HopkinsChil The KiteRene Bathias and Balty Boys and the list goes on as plenty of high class horses turn out to contest for the £25,000 guaranteed prize pool. There’s class abundant in this field and while it’s a nightmare to confidently pick one out it’s going to be a fascinating spectacle!

Where can I watch Champions Day 2015?

Champions Day 2015 takes place on Saturday the 17th of October and every race will be shown live on Channel 4! Coverage starts at 12.30pm and is preceded by a special edition of The Morning Line from 8am to 9am featuring Frankie Dettori and champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa which will be well worth a watch. Of course, as it’s an Ascot meeting the race will also be live on RacingUK along with Catterick and Market Rasen.

Where can I get information about Champions Day 2015?

Our racecards section contains all the information you might need for Champions Day 2015, including jockeys, trainers, age, weights, handicap marks and more. Just click here to see all the racecards now; cards will be available from Friday morning! And after the races, see our Results section for results from all the races!

Who is missing from Champions Day 2015?

Sadly, while in a dream world every possible contender for the ‘Champion’ title would be competing, that doesn’t actually happen. The main horses missing are:

  • Cirrus Des Aigles – having run in every one of the previous 4 Champion Stakes, the French legend will be a big miss. Skipping due to lack of rain and racing in France over near 2 miles instead on the 25th October
  • Golden Horn & Treve – both ran in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe just two weeks ago instead
  • Esoterique – this multiple Group 1 winning mare will instead head across the pond to compete in the Breeders’ Cup