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We’ve got the de facto finale of the British flat season unfolding at Ascot tomorrow and there are a number of exciting races that we’ve already been through earlier in the week. Today we turn our attention to the QEII, which serves as the coming attraction to the Champion Stakes and this contest looks to really be a dogfight between a pair of contenders - though one of them might not actually make it into the gate on Saturday either.
The British Champion Sprint Stakes is headlined by Muhaarar in a race that looks to be shaping up quite differently to the Long Distance Cup. Muhaarar comes into this one looking for his fourth win on the bounce and he’ll be looking to build on his score at Royal Ascot when he beat out Limato to finish first of eighteen in the Commonwealth Cup.
There is plenty of action to look forward to at Ascot racecourse this Saturday as the de facto finale of the British horse racing season comes upon us. There is a solid series of races happening that day and some really good prices on offer and we’ll be taking a look at the top contests in this one and putting together a very ideas about how things might shape up.
Coming out of Richard Hannon’s yard is the aforementioned Gutaifan who is a son of Dark Angel out of a Lahib mare. He has a pair of Group 2 scores to his credit and was recently seen capturing the Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster on St Leger day and he’s set to follow it up here with another big attempt. He has put together a good volume of work so far and is also owned by Shalaa’s ownership group in Qatar.
The big Group 1 clash of the weekend is the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes which is a 6f race for entire colts and we have a very interesting field here full of runners from very high-profile yards but the market appears to be dominated by a single important contender.
The Al Shaqab-owned Shalaa - a son of Invincible Spirit out of a War Chant mare comes out of John Gosden’s yard and will be seeking his fifth score on the bounce as he looks to put together one of the better-looking two-year-old campaigns of the entire flat season.
He was last seen in the Darley Prix Morny when sent off at a very slim...
The blue team have a number of entries in the Dewhurst ante post market but Aidan O'Brien will have a thing or two to say about this since his talented Air Force Blue is set to run in this race as well and he comes in fresh off a big Group 1 score at The Curragh having taken the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes by a three length margin over Herald The Dawn. The War Front colt gave Joseph O'Brien one of his last big victories in the irons and he did it as the 10/11 post time favourite.
One of the most exciting parts of the end of the flat season is the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes – one of the premier Group 1 races for two-year-old contenders and it often serves as a major ante post clue for the Classic season to unfold the following year. It's worth keeping your eyes on the entries for this race during the two-year-old campaigns as well since it can often show you who is highly-touted and who the owners and trainers think can actually go on and etch their names into some of thoroughbred racing's folklore.
Princes of Wales' Stakes winner Free Eagle has only been out twice this year but he is destined to line up in this race and do his best to avenge the loss he suffered at the hands of Noble Mission last year when mustering up a tame third place performance. He won on his seasonal debut in the aforementioned race at Royal Ascot before getting beaten in the Irish Champions Stakes by Golden Horn recently. He's priced anywhere from 4/1 all the way out to 13/2 with some major bookmakers and it's worth keeping an eye on him.
Now that we are only about a month away from the 2015 Champions Day card at Ascot, we are beginning to get a lot more of a firmer context about how we can expect the feature race to pan out. The connections of Gleneagles confirmed that he would be heading that way today and the bookmakers responded with a customary drop in price with a number of books going all the way down to an 8/1 margin for him despite the fact that he can still be spotted in a few diferrent places at 10/1 for the time being.
He is likely to make a move to either this race or the Champions Stakes but one thing is for certain – he deserves plenty of respect and could be poised to finally prove that he is better than Golden Horn who has finally been found out by one of the most unlikely of horses that a racing observer could ever have imagined.