There's no doubting the star attraction on Saturday afternoon as Ascot plays host to British Champions Day - the richest card in the land.
The six races from the Berkshire track (1.20-4.15) include a quartet of Group 1 contests and a host of star names. The ITV cameras are there for all the action from 1.00 onwards and our tipster has selections for all six Champions Day contests.
ITV Racing tips – Ascot Champions Day, Saturday 17 October
Here are our recommendations for all six races. You can read the analysis behind our picks below.
Odds correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.
1.20 - QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2, 2m)
We kick off with the Long Distance Cup and the mighty STRADIVARIUS in his quest to win this contest for the second time in his career. John Gosden's three-time Gold Cup winner was imperious here in June (2m4f, soft) and you can excuse a trio of defeats this term over 1m4f, with little attempt to utilise his stamina in the Arc last time.
Many of his rivals have something to prove on the prevailing ground here and, if there's one flying under the radar, maybe it's Broom for Aidan O'Brien and Colin Keane. He goes well fresh, acts on soft and could have a lively chance if he stays the distance.
Tip: Stradivarius @ Evens with Betfair
1.55 - QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1, 6f)
Dreams Of Dreams is in warm order for this after his wins at Newbury and in Haydock's Sprint Cup. Sir Michael Stoute's runner is in the form of his life but he's winless at Ascot (twice second in the Diamond Jubilee) and finished out with the washing in this last year on heavy ground.
Finding one against him is tough. July Cup winner Oxted has undergone a wind op since that run but must prove himself on the ground. Starman is unbeaten and three-year-olds have a good record in this but he's never raced in group company before.
ART POWER was very good at the Royal Meeting in June and won an Irish Group 3 afterwards. It hasn't happened in two Group 1s since but he was just out of the frame in the Sprint Cup and strikes as one with plenty of upside still ahead of him. An Ascot return may be the ticket for him.
Tip: Art Power @ 11/1 with Betfair
2.30 - QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1, 1m4f)
There's a wide open feel to this race too, with Dame Malliot (third) having finished ahead of Wonderful Tonight (fifth) and Even So (sixth) in last month's Group 1 Prix Vermeille at Longchamp. They've all got claims and the first-named should uphold that heavy-ground form.
The manner in which FRANKLY DARLING quickened away to land Ribblesdale at the Royal Meeting was impressive. She's not really had a chance to showcase her best in The Oaks or Yorkshire Oaks since, given the long shadow of Love in those events.
With Rab Havlin on board she's perhaps being overlooked a tad in the betting as Dettori instead partners Mehdaayih, seeking to add to Star Catcher's win last year for Team Gosden, but this Frankel filly isn't taken lightly at a nice price.
Tip: Frankly Darling @ 12/1 with Betfair
3.05 - Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1, 1m)
Many people will see PALACE PIER as the banker on the card. His odds reflect that and anything approaching even-money would look good.
The son of Kingman remains on the upgrade having won a strong renewal of the St James's Palace Stakes here in June before also winning the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville on heavy ground in August. The mud won't scare him and he's the one to beat in the QEII.
Tip: Palace Pier @ 4/6 with Betfair
3.40 - QIPCO Champion Stakes (Group 1, 1m2f)
She won this 12 months ago on similarly testing ground and MAGICAL has rewarded Coolmore's decision to keep her in training by landing a hat-trick of Group 1 wins this season, taking her tally to seven.
Beaten by Ghaiyyath at York in the Juddmonte in August, this tough mare eye-balled the highest-rated horse in the world and beat him in last month's Irish Champion Stakes and is well placed to emulate Twice Over and Cracksman - both having defended this crown since the turn of the century.
Last year's second Addeybb and youngster Mishriff are proving popular in the betting but the big danger to Magical might be the latter's stablemate Lord North.
He was impressive here in June and has just over a length to find on their York run in August. Just like Addeybb - who had no answer to him in the Prince of Wales's Stakes - he's proven under testing conditions and is a key player.
Tip: Magical @ 15/8 with Betfair
4.15 - Balmoral Handicap (Straight Mile)
The only handicap on the card and a tough puzzle to finish off a brilliant afternoon of racing. Raaeq and Tempus have the scope to be a class above these but the market has identified their hopes.
Roger Charlton's colt is forgiven a lesser effort in the Cambridgeshire last month and could have a massive say down in trip on softer ground.
We've not seen the best of GRAIGNES since he arrived from France but he had some very smart form on testing ground in Group-race company there. He should be doing his best work at the finish and a mark of 104 isn't beyond him should he produce his best on handicap bow.
Tip: Graignes @ 33/1 with BetfairWant to find out more about the latest horse racing action?
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