Champion Stakes Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds, 3.50 at Ascot, 21st October 2017
The final Group 1 on Ascots outstanding British Champions Day is one of the last major middle distance races of the domestic season, and invariably attracts a stellar line-up. Here we take a look at the best odds and offers surrounding the Champion Stakes and provide our betting tips for the contest.
Now held at Ascot this 1m2f Group 1 event for all runners aged three and older was first run back in 1877. An increase in prize money since the race was incorporated into the Champions Day offering in 2011 now sees the contest offer a whopping £1.3million in total prize money.
Champion Stakes Betting Tips
Champion Stakes Betting Offers
- Betting offers to follow…
Also see our dedicated Champions Days Betting Offers and Free Bets page for all the offers and bonuses for this exceptional day of flat racing!
Champion Stakes Tips and Race Preview
Highland Reel would be strongly fancied to go well should the ground dry out here. This absolute warrior of a horse has done Aidan O’Brien proud wherever he has been sent during his globetrotting career, racking up six Group 1 successes on his travels. Aidan O’Brien may well be in a position to break the Group 1 World record by taking this race, and there would be no more fitting horse to do it. It is the aforementioned ground which may prove his undoing though, with all six of those Group 1 wins coming on good or better. Often a bold running front runner, he should at least help to ensure that this is a thorough test at the distance.
A strong gallop from pillar to post seems likely to suit the current favourite for the race, John Gosden’s Cracksman. His sire Frankel took this in 2012, with Frankel’s full brother Noble Mission following up in 2014. Can this improving three year old keep the family tradition going here? He looks to have every chance. Needing every yard to grab the ill-fated Permian on his only start at this distance, he improved on that form to finish third in the Epsom Derby before only going down by a neck in the Irish version at the Curragh. Not required for the Arc due to the presence of his irresistible stablemate Enable, he was initially expected to be put away with next season in mind. The fact that he instead takes his chance here suggests he is thriving at home, and having won his last two starts in Group 2 company by a combined 9 ½l, he looks likely to at least go close to a first career Group 1 success here.
One runner who has already tasted success at the top table is the Godolphin representative, Barney Roy. That win came over 2f shorter in the St. James’s Palace Stakes here at Ascot back in June, but we wouldn’t be overly concerned about this trip as the son of Excelebration only just failed to get up over this distance in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown. He does however look a better horse on a quicker surface, with his effort last time out on good to soft in the Juddmonte International a little below his best efforts, although he perhaps wasn’t suited by being raced prominently from the off that day.
In what may prove an open race for the places, don’t rule out an improved showing from the second of the Aidan O’Brien runners Cliffs Of Moher. You have to be a pretty decent horse to finish second in a Derby as this one did at Epsom in June, and whilst he has flattered to deceive a little since, his run last time in the Irish Champion Stakes really caught our eye. Repeatedly denied a run, he wasn’t given a hard time once the bird had flown, yet still only went down by under four lengths.
A potentially record breaking victory for Highland Reel would make for the best story, but overall we fancy this year’s Epsom Derby form to come to the fore. We will be taking Cracksman for the win, whilst Cliffs Of Moher looks to be the best each way option in the field.
Champion Stakes Previous Winners
- 2016 – Almanzor – jockey Christophe Soumillon, trainer Jean-Claude Rouget
- 2015 – Fascinating Rock – jockey Pat Smullen, trainer Dermot Weld
- 2014 – Noble Mission – jockey James Doyle, trainer Jane Cecil
- 2013 – Farhh – jockey Silvestre de Sousa, trainer Saeed bin Suroor
- 2012 – Frankel – jockey Tom Queally, trainer Sir Henry Cecil
- 2011 – Cirrus des Aigles – jockey Christophe Soumillon, trainer Corine Barabde-Barbe
- 2010 – Twice Over – jockey Tom Queally , trainer Sir Henry Cecil
- 2009 – Twice Over – jockey Tom Queally, trainer Sir Henry Cecil
- 2008 – New Approach – jockey Kevin Manning, trainer Jim Bolger
- 2007 – Literato – jockey Christophe Lemaire, trainer Jean-Claude Rouget
- 2006 – Pride – jockey Christophe Lemaire, trainer Alain de Royer-Dupré
Champion Stakes History
Now run at Ascot – where it features as the headline act on British Champions Day – much of this races history actually belongs to Newmarket. First taking place at the headquarters of British flat racing in 1877, the contest only made the switch to Berkshire in 2011.
This has been a top tier event right from the off, with the list of early victors being peppered with Classic winners. As such it wasn’t at all surprising that the event was immediately granted Group 1 status upon the advent of racing classifications in 1971.
From Ormonde and Pretty Polly in the early days, through to Sir Ivor, Brigadier Gerard and Pebbles in the 20th century and New Approach and Frankel in more recent times, this race has continued to churn out star winners with regularity.
Sir Henry Cecil’s Twice Over lived up to his name by claiming the title in both 2009 and 2010. A resounding achievement, but not a unique one as a number of other runners have doubled up over the years, including Fairway (1928 and 1929), Brigadier Gerard (1971 and 1972) and Alborada (1998 and 1999).
Just the one horse has won this three times though, namely Tristan who came home in front in 1882, 1883 and 1884. Remarkably Tristan wasn’t alone in the winner’s enclosure on two of those three occasions, as both the 1882 and 1884 races finished in a dead heat.
Going back to the late Sir Henry Cecil, the apple of his eye in his latter years was the best horse he ever trained, Frankel. The all-time great took this in 2012 in the final start of his career and Sir Henry finally lost his battle with cancer less than a year later. Fast forward to 2014 and the winner of this race went by the name of Noble Mission. Being sired by Galileo and out of Kind, the horse was a full brother to Frankel and was trained to victory by Henry’s widow, Jane Cecil.
Cecil managed an impressive total of five wins in this race, but the all-time record belongs to one Alec Taylor, Jr., who recorded eight wins between 1903 and 1925.
Danny Maher was one of the leading jockeys in the era of this races top trainer, and rattled up six wins of his own between 1901 and 1910. This total was later matched by Charlie Elliott but is yet to be beaten.