WE'VE been spoiled with some top-class racing over the last couple of weeks.
And this weekend's offering is no exception, with stunning action at Ascot on Qipco British Champions Day.
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It's Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday and champion in every sense of the word.
Each of the six races on a glittering card are crackers, and there are plenty to get stuck into before our attentions turn to the jumpers at Cheltenham next week (where has the year gone?!)
I backed a couple at Ascot earlier in the week, one with an outstanding chance and one who's more of a longshot.
WONDERFUL TONIGHT (2.30 Ascot) is the horse with an outstanding chance, while ROSEMAN (3.05 Ascot) is the each-way tickle. You can read my thinking here but I won't waste your time repeating myself.
There are a few other runners I'll be putting my hard-earned on at Ascot. Let's start with THUNDERING NIGHTS (2.30 Ascot), who will be my saver in the Fillies & Mares.
Whenever Joseph O'Brien saddles one in a big race on these shores you have to give them a second look, and the improving filly could run a big race at juicy odds.
She stayed on powerfully to beat Albigna in a Group 3 on soft ground over 1m1f at the Curragh two starts ago.
And she built on that with an excellent third in the Blandford Stakes over 1m2f, keeping on nicely from a poor position to take a never-nearer third.
She is bred to relish the step up to 1m4f, being out of mare who was a dour stayer and from a family of horses who thrived over the trip.
She has only had seven starts and she brings bundles of untapped potential to the race. She's the dark horse in the field.
Saturday selections and advised odds
2.30 Ascot – Wonderful Tonight 2pts win (already advised); Thundering Nights 1pt EW @ 9-1
3.05 Ascot – Roseman 1pt EW (already advised)
3.40 Ascot -Pyledriver 1pt EW @ 16-1
4.15 Ascot – River Nymph 1pt EW @ 14-1
- (Started August 6) rolling P&L: +17pts
It's no surprise that PYLEDRIVER (3.40 Ascot) is being overlooked in the Champion Stakes.
He's been the underdog for much of the season, and he had excuses when beaten in the St Leger having run out of petrol inside the final furlong.
He isn't short of pace, as he showed when routing the opposition in both the King Edward VII and Great Voltigeur Stakes earlier in the year.
I reckon he will be fine dropping back in distance to 1m2f, particularly around this stiff track and with the ground on the slow side.
On ratings, he doesn't have a great deal to find with the likes of Magical and Mishriff. He doesn't have the sexy profile of some of these, but he's achieved a top level of form this season and he's the kind of horse who will go on improving with time and racing.
In the Balmoral, have a few quid each-way on Clive Cox's hat-trick seeker RIVER NYMPH (4.15 Ascot).
He is a rapidly improving sort and was well on top at the finish in winning a pair of decent 7f handicaps at this track and at Newbury.
He shapes as though he will relish the step up to a mile, while slow underfoot conditions are absolutely ideal.
The three-year-old colt was a well-backed favourite for the Challenge Cup here earlier in the month before that meeting was abandoned due to a waterlogged track.
He looks to have slipped under the radar a little here and he is a horse of immense potential.
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