Saturday is British Champions Day at Ascot and the ultra-classy card concludes with the chance to hunt out a big-priced winner in the Balmoral Handicap over the straight mile at 4.15.
This contest was won by Escobar for David O'Meara and Adam Kirby last year and it has attracted a maximum field of 20 once again.
Our expert tipster marks your card with his best win and each-way bets below, but first let’s take a look at the latest Balmoral Handicap odds.
Ascot, Saturday 4.10 – Balmoral Handicap odds
Odds are correct at the time of publication and are subject to change. Odds courtesy of bet365.
- Raaeq - 5/1
- Keats - 8/1
- King Ottakar - 8/1
- Tempus - 8/1
- Raising Sand - 8/1
- Njord - 11/1
- Bell Rock - 14/1
- River Nymph - 14/1
- Kynren - 16/1
- Orbaan - 16/1
- Solid Stone - 16/1
- Blue Mist - 16/1
- Alternative Fact - 16/1
- 20/1 bar
Ascot: Balmoral Handicap betting tips 2020
Odds correct at time of publishing and subject to change.
Ascot: Balmoral Handicap big race analysis
Raaeq sets the standard
As punters, it's quite often possible to get put off by a short price for a horse in what is widely conceived as a competitive handicap.
Many, myself included, will have been disheartened to see Great White Shark so short in the betting for the Cesarewitch last Saturday, given the exacting nature of the Newmarket marathon, only to see Willie Mullins' mare justify favouritism in good style at the death.
If the form is there and the horse looks the likeliest winner, as a punter we've got to decide if the price still offers value. Brian Meehan's Raaeq may fall into a similar category by Saturday afternoon.
He's already as short as 5/1 to win this contest following an ultra-impressive display over 7f (good to soft) here a fortnight ago. He carries a 6lb penalty for that success, though the manner of victory hints he may still be ahead of the assessor.
Raaeq's got plenty going for him but, crucially, is likely to meet the most testing ground of his career now. That's a concern, and enough to put doubt in his chances.
Tempus will relish conditions
If anything is to challenge him for favouritism it might be TEMPUS and Roger Charlton's runner is due plenty of respect, despite things failing to fall his way in the Cambridgeshire.
He finished sixth of 27 in a race where things didn't go for him. The Kingman colt had previously shown his progressive nature with wins at Newbury (1m, good to soft) in August on his first start in 302 days (awarded race after finishing second and being impeded late on).
Next time he backed that up in no uncertain terms with a C&D success (good to soft) in early September from a mark of 93 under Jason Watson.
The return to a mile and the prospect of 'heavy' in the going description are in his favour as Tempus scored a novice win last season on heavy Haydock ground. He's only had four starts in handicaps (seven overall) and is far from exposed at this stage.
He didn't really appear to relish the extra furlong in the Cambridgeshire but was amongst a bunch of horses competing for minor money behind easy winner Majestic Dawn. At the current 8/1, Tempus looks the one to be with in the Balmoral Handicap.
Keats can have a say
Aidan O'Brien will have plenty of runners going for the glamourous prizes on offer on Champions Day but don't discount a big run from Keats in the finale under Ryan Moore.
An improving three-year-old Galileo colt, he landed a 1m Listed race at Cork late last month and the 6lb penalty incurred was enough to sneak in this event.
That was his latest success of what has been a busy summer/autumn campaign. His soft-ground win at Killarney over this trip suggested he'll handle the cut in the ground and he also finished second at Listowel last month behind subsequent Newmarket Group 3 scorer Lady Wannabe, prior to seeing off a solid field in the Navigation Stakes at Cork.
We've only seen him once in a handicap previously, at the Curragh also last month in the 22-runner 'Northfields' when pretty much nothing went his way. He could have plenty more to offer and should give a solid account of himself.
Balmoral Handicap winners of the last six years
The Balmoral Handicap was first contested in 2014. Weights in brackets indicate the jockey's claim.
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