It is a fortnight until Ascot hosts British Champions Day and with this meeting often providing clues for the season finale, Keith Melrose from the Racing Post has given us his best bets on the card.
Ainsdale @ 10/1
Flaming Rib @ 13/2
Magical Spirit @ 1/1
With a wet forecast in the run up to racing on Saturday, those adept on soft ground are expected to fare well at Ascot. The opening Rous Stakes features a few of those, but none more so than the Julie Camacho-trained Ainsdale.
On this card last year, which was run on testing ground, Ainsdale ran in the Bengough Stakes, which is a Group 3 over a furlong further. He travelled best through that race and was in front or at least upsides as they passed the furlong pole, only to fade into fourth. This year, he has been saved specifically for an autumn campaign in order to get his favoured soft ground and it looks as though the rain will arrive just in time.
Ainsdale has run only twice this season and on the second occasion he ran an eye-catching race in the Beverley Bullet. There is room for him to build on that and connections will be more hopeful with every drop of rain that falls on Ascot.
The Bengough Stakes is now an established trial for the Champions Sprint Stakes on British Champions Day and much of the field, including favourite Rohaan, will have one eye on returning here in a fortnight.
It could be argued that Hugo Palmer's Flaming Rib falls into a similar category, but he is lower mileage and has form comparable with Rohaan so it is hard to justify him being almost double the price at the time of writing.
Flaming Rib has strong autumn form from last year to call upon, with his last three runs as a juvenile being his best. He has been competitive in plenty of big sprints this season, most notably when finishing second in the Commonwealth Cup over this course and distance at Royal Ascot in June.
Flaming Rib is also a prominent racer and, with the stalls being on the near side and him being drawn in stall nine of 14, he may have the opportunity to gain a beneficial pitch on the rail.
Two years ago, Magical Spirit won the Ayr Silver Cup and last autumn he rounded off his season by winning at Doncaster in October and getting within a head of claiming a Listed race there on the last day of the turf season.
He has not beaten a rival in two runs this season, but given a break and a wind operation before the autumn he is fancied to spark back to life in the coming weeks.
It is worth taking a chance on him doing so here. Favourite Equality is a huge talent but had plenty go his way when winning at Haydock last week, while Whenthedealinsdone has also received the full treatment from the handicapper for his admittedly convincing win here two starts ago.
Trainer Kevin Ryan has secured the services of Adam Kirby for Magical Spirit, which is gently encouraging that this horse will be ready to go on his first run since the end of June.