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Qipco Champion Stakes

In the last of my Champions' Day previews, Owen Alsop takes to the biggest race of the day, the £1.3m Champions Stakes. Follow him via @owenalsop.

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The Champion Stakes

The grand finale of the British flat season takes place with the Champion Stakes, the Group 1 feature race, on British Champions Day. Won by the mighty Frankel in his final appearance 12 months ago, this year’s renewal see the evergreen Cirrus Des Aigles, a pretender to the throne that day; stake his claim for top billing on Saturday.

There has been a gargantuan amount of money for the French gelding since his victory in the Prix Dollar on Arc weekend and with conditions to his liking, we are sure to see another dazzling display. Christophe Soumillon claimed he could have won the Prix Dollar by “ten lengths” if he had not wanted to look after the gelding for Ascot’s showpiece. There will be no relenting tomorrow and Cirrus Des Aigles can sign off his campaign in style, avenging the defeat of last year and writing his name well and truly into the record books. Great for racing this would be, but as a betting proposition? Not so.

Another French invader with claims, I believe, is Morandi. With form around the brilliant Intello, Morandi was a late withdrawal from the Arc with this race in mind. A Group 1 winner as a juvenile in the soft, Morandi has since finished second in the French Derby and is well placed to put in a bold bid at 16/1. A nice each way price.

Of a similar profile is Andre Fabre’s Triple Threat. It takes a brave man to ignore the French genius when he sends one over and stepping down in trip back to a favourable ten furlongs, Triple Threat is also a good each way proposition.

Another who is dropping back down in trip is Derby hero Ruler of the World. I think 8/1 is a cracking price for the Ballydoyle charge provided his excursion in the Arc haven’t taken too much out of him. It is a competitive race, but it’s unusual to see a Derby winner go off at this kind of price. Dropping to a mile and quarter for the first time since his maiden Ruler of the World can certainly add to his Group 1 tally.

At a similar price, William Haggas’ Mukhadram is in danger of becoming the forgotten horse in the field. A model of consistency all season, the soft ground may just prove to be his undoing.

Jim Bolger’s Parish Hall will have to step up markedly on his last start victory on the all-weather at Dundalk whilst Sir Michael Stoute’s Hillstar will appreciate the give in the ground but looks like he wants further in trip; Ryan Moore has also decided to side with Ruler of the World instead of Stoute’s colt.

Godolphin saddle a live chance of landing a feature double on Champions' Day with Farhh. Last seen blitzing the field in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at the beginning of the season, Farhh is stepping back up to ten furlongs today. This, combined with ground conditions shouldn’t prove a hindrance and I can certainly see the Godolphin charge in the frame. Available at 5s in the week, the best price you will find now is 7/2.

Avoiding the short priced favourite, my selections are each-way punts on either/or Morandi and Triple Threat (16/1 generally). Ruler of the World will be my win selection at around the 8/1 mark.

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