In addition to our horse racing tips for Saturday’s action, Luke Parkinson has taken a dedicated look at Champions Day from Ascot.
The end of the flat season showpiece is jam-packed with Group Ones and even a tasty handicap in the shape of the Balmoral, but with testing conditions expected at the royal course, there could be a few twists and turns in store.
Luke has pulled together the stats on trainers, jockeys and owners and even created an 818/1 acca, exclusively for the big meeting.
With soft conditions likely to present themselves regardless of which track they decide to go with at Ascot, Hello Youmzain could be the one to be on in the opener.
He’s a horse that clearly likes some cut in the ground and proved that better than ever when winning the Sprint Cup on soft at Haydock last time.
He made all that day at the Merseyside track and with James Doyle in the saddle again, it would be a surprise if we didn’t see a repeat performance from the front.
Advertise did, of course, beat him in the Commonwealth Cup this June, but conditions weren’t quite so tricky that day and that could make the difference on Saturday
Magna Grecia ended his two-year-old campaign with a win in the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes at Doncaster and was highly fancied to go on and make a real impression as a three-year-old.
That certainly seemed to be the plan when he ran on well to secure the 2,000 Guineas in May, although a flop in the Irish equivalent, when pulling a hamstring, didn’t quite buck the trend.
He’s been off the racecourse since then, 147 days in fact, but Aidan O’Brien reports him to be back to full fitness as the master trainer seeks out a second 2,000 Guineas-QEII Stakes double following George Washington’s success in 2006.
The absence might be enough to make people wary, but Magna Grecia won on his first racecourse outing last season and then did the same when winning the Guineas this year, so the lengthy gap shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
His two-year-old campaign proves he likes this time of year as well, so maybe the best could be yet to come for this lightly raced three-year-old.
Despite seeing the rear end of Enable flying away from her on numerous occasions in recent months, Magical still tops the ratings for the Cartier Horse of the Year award and is priced up as a favourite for the Champion Stakes here.
However, her form on soft wouldn’t be the most magical, which means course and distance winner Addeybb, may well be better suited to conditions.
The William Haggas-trained five-year-old won the Rose of Lancaster Stakes on heavy going at Haydock last time, and was second on soft in the York Stakes at the Knavesmire the time before. Not to mention winning the Wolferton Stakes over course and distance on soft in June.
If he can maintain that kind of form in his first Group One outing since finishing eighth in the Lockinge Stakes last year, then he should have a cracking chance.
Lord North looked like a Group horse in handicap company when comfortably winning the Cambridgeshire in impressive style last time and could follow suit again.
He’s risen up to a mark of 110 after going off as a 98-rated horse last time, but that still might not be enough to reel in this John Gosden-trained gelding.
Frankie was just hands and heels as he pushed him out to the line at Newmarket last time, and that performance still catches your breath with the way at which Lord North just quickly glides through the gears to put the race to bed.
It might not be that straight forward this Saturday, but his big field handicap experience matched with a previous victory on soft should be enough to help him get the job done.
Ryan Moore: 49 winners from 268 rides (18%)
William Buick: 39 winners from 222 rides (18%)
Frankie Dettori: 37 winners from 179 rides (21%)
James Doyle: 29 winners from 203 rides (14%)
Jamie Spencer: 24 winners from 214 rides (11%)
John Gosden: 46 winners from 267 runners (17%)
Aidan O’Brien: 32 winners from 233 runners (14%)
Charlie Appleby: 26 winners from 167 runners (16%)
Mark Johnston: 25 winners from 251 runners (10%)
Richard Hannon: 25 winners from 330 runners (8%)
Godolphin: 48 winners from 348 runners (14%)
K Abdullah: 20 winners from 94 runners (21%)
Hamdan Al Maktoum: 19 winners from 194 runners (10%)
Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum: 15 winners from 66 runners (23%)
Derrick Smith & Mrs John Magnier & Michael Tabor: 11 winners from 64 runners (17%)