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Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes preview

The flat season ends in a grand finale at Ascot tomorrow with the much touted Qipco British Champions Day. There's no Frankel or a flood of ticket giveaways this year, let's see what sort of crowd they pull. The programme is strong enough, but will it get the paying public through the gates?

There are five Championship races on the day, and taking care of the Fillies& Mares division is long-time contributor, Jon da Silva, @creamontop, who has no problem calling a spade a spade....

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Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes
12 furlongs Ascot Soft Ground Likely

The pattern for all age 12 furlong Colts after the King George is the Arc. Fillies and Mares get the Yorkshire Oaks, Vermeille and this and if they are good enough get three pounds off the boys and can run in the Arc. Thus I preface this as yet another 12 furlong Group 1 for Fillies and Mares and this one lacks Treve and The Fugue sorta Group 1a. Indeed if Her Maj's Estimate wins the plodd... Stayers' race then they won't even be the most celebrated Fillies and Mares on the day.

Belle de Crecy
steps up in trip having beaten a rival here Hot Snap over 10 furlongs. Distance and ground are unknowns and breeding is Rock of Gibraltar out of a Cape Cross Mare. Trained and ridden by Johnny 'Money' Murtagh. Unexposed.

Dalkala
won the l'Opera over 10F over Tasaday who was third in the Vermeille. Won the Middleton at York early season from subsequent Group 1 winner Ambivalent [Group 1b]. Has won over 13 furlongs on heavy too but best form at 10F. Good hoss merits respect.

* Sneaky old York presciently naming a race after 'Kate' years ago.

Igugu
I probably spent longer than the rest of this preview trying to reference a crap song Einstein Agogo with Einstein Igugu but had to give up due to lack of creativity and it not being funny anyway. 10 wins from 17 looks great except it was 10 wins from 12 when she left South Africa. Still solid trial last time and has won over 12 furlongs on an uphill finish on yielding. Nice trial last time when done by Ryan Moore's 3 card trick of playing late and last. Without the four runs in Dubai and the far East might be near favorite here. Disappointing type.

Nymphea
named like an Italian porn star with some form to go with it. Won a Group 1 in Germany [Group 1d]. Narrowly topped in a Group 3 given run of the race at Haydock prior. No evidence soft ground brings or threatens to bring improvement. Beaten in a Turkish Group 2 [Group 2g] last time. Could well go to an easy lead on initial downhill so may appeal to in running players I guess. Not quite in the class of these.

Seal of Approval
as the jumps season gets into gear here's one who fell last time. Only had four completed starts and won three of them. Beat perennial conditions race filler Songbird a neck in a Listed race. Big jump in class. As a four year old with only four starts one may assume she is fragile. Could be anything.

Hot Snap
Having kicked Sky Lantern all over Newmarket in the Nell Gwyn has not exactly set the world alight. Nassau was decent albeit one suspects many contenders played Russian Roulette up front that day. Beaten by Belle de Crecy last time. Think the short price is a case of people thinking this might be the right circumstances having decided she was good six months ago over a fast seven furlongs. V disappointing type.

Talent
Oaks winner and favourite here. 2nd in the Leger and strong impression slow underfoot conditions a boon. Suggestion Oaks fell her way but confirmed with Secret Gesture in the Leger and arguably that might be the best recent form on offer here. Certainly if this becomes a slog and the ground heavy the one I would want to be with. Worthy favourite.

The Lark
Ascending at Doncaster in facile win in the Park Hill [Fillies Leger] Seal of Approval fell. My Oaks pick as I fancied soft ground and 12 furlongs to suit and 3rd was a decent result. I think Talent may be the better filly but odds reflect that. Improving sort.

Waila
Now I confess I'd not heard of this one. It's Stoute and Moore and single figures. Bolted up in a listed race last time but form does not say must win here. Well beaten at Ascot in the Ribblesdale. For those who like the unexposed which is probably not a bad punting strategy especially if you accept sometimes they may make you look stupid. Could be anything.

Conclusion

None of the above would surprise me. Conditions on the day could spring towards the sloggers like Talent and The Lark or to the speedier Dalkala and Belle de Crecy. Talent and The Lark represent classic form. Most of the rest are unexposed or 10 furlong horses stepping up and Dalkala has arguably a strong chance.

I am going to take them on with Igugu not just because of the wasted effort trying to come up with a pun. She was considered a top top horse in South Africa and essentially we are writing off a 3 month period when she was quarantined and travelling. Her official rating of 118 when arriving in Dubai would be best here. She could be the Group 1 filly in a Group 1a race and that prep was decent enough.

Igugu 9/1 FTW (10s and 11s are imaginary prices with bookmakers who don't actually exist or who will never pay you out).

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