Millionaire maker: Owen Goulding’s outsider Lucky 63 for Champions Day at Ascot

Owen's Outsiders

The official end to the British flat season, British Champions Day is always a treat. It features the best horses from all the divisions, but this year in particular, the fields are something special. You only have to look at the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, which features Palace Pier taking on Baaeed, and the Champion Stakes, where Mishriff and Adayar do battle once more.

We’ll have horse racing tips for all the action, but with six competitive races in store, I’ve managed to dig out some big priced fancies. Races like the Champions Sprint and the Balmoral feature plenty of value propositions and you can find all my thoughts below!

1.25 Ascot – Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup

Aidan O’Brien’s string have been in pretty miserable form of late, but that could change with The Mediterranean (20-1). If you look at some of his best form, including a third in the St Leger, he should be half his current price. You could argue he should be double it, given his recent Curragh run, but I’m willing to forgive that. His Doncaster effort suggested he was a stayer in the making and kept at this trip, he can do some damage under Ryan Moore.

2.00 Ascot – Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes

This is a real shot in the dark, but Nando Parrado (66-1) fascinates me at enormous odds. A shock 150-1 winner of the Coventry last year, he’s been very disappointing in five starts this season. The way he flew off at Newbury two starts ago, however, where he only weakened late over seven furlongs, suggested the fire still burned. Clive Cox, who has his string in red-hot form, throws the cheekpieces on and if he breaks well towards the lead, a place wouldn’t be out of the question.

2.35 Ascot – Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes

She’s the class act, but I’m more than happy to take on Snowfall, especially after a busy campaign. I’ll take a punt with La Joconde (33-1), who has been used as a pacemaker for Snowfall for the majority of 2021. She is a classy filly in her own right, however, and nearly made all the running in the Prix Vermeille two starts back. That sort of form gives her an each-way squeak and with Hollie Doyle back aboard, there’s a chance she could get this field on the stretch.

3.10 Ascot – Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

The race of the day for me, I can’t wait to see Palace Pier and Baaeed do battle. There’s no doubt about it, it’s between them for win purposes, but there are three places on offer and Benbatl (20-1) can fill the frame. A hugely popular seven-year-old, he’s a three-time Group 1 winner and has won at Ascot in the past. His most recent win in the Joel at Newmarket showed the fire still burned and his prominent style should help him in this contest. Ground conditions are in his favour and you can be sure he’ll put up a gutsy display.

3.50 Ascot – Qipco Champion Stakes

Bolshoi Ballet silk

Bolshoi Ballet

I’ll likely be crucified for this selection, but Bolshoi Ballet (33-1) was the only horse at the bottom of the market who caught me eye. Every horse beyond the front two has something to prove and I don’t think he deserves to be quite such a big price. Ten furlongs will be his ideal trip and with minimal rain forecast, the ground will be perfect for him too. Yes, he ran flat at Belmont last time, but twelve furlongs isn’t his cup of tea and I can readily excuse that. Having his first British run since that infamous Derby defeat, I can see him running huge.

4.30 Ascot – Balmoral Handicap 

He’s more exposed than most, but Saltonstall is a good yardstick at this level and should threaten for the places. His winless run on the turf goes back to November 2020, but that was in Listed company and his most recent handicap success came off 102. He races off 103 at Ascot and Cian MacRedmond’s five-pound claim pulls him below that rating. He wasn’t disgraced in the Irish Cambridgeshire at the Curragh off 105 back in August and that sort of form gives him a huge each-way chance for Ado McGuiness.

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