British Champions Day brings the curtain down on the Flat season at Ascot and Racing Post tipster Graeme Rodway runs you through his best bets on a card featuring four Group 1s.
Waterville @ 7/2
Creative Force @ 7/2
Trueshan will win the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (1.25) if he is back to his best, but he was turned over at 2-9 in the Doncaster Cup last time and was way below form.
Eldar Eldarov won one of the weakest editions of the St Leger I can remember and Quickthorn put in a dismal display behind Kyprios at Longchamp just two weeks ago. There may, therefore, be a minor surprise and Waterville, who is improving at a rate of knots after producing remarkable run when landing the Irish Cesarewitch last time, can provide it.
Waterville was caught in a pocket at the back of the field, after a sloppy start, in a slowly run race but he finished off with some rapid closing sectionals to run down some more experienced, battle-hardened handicappers. He simply must be a Group horse on that display. That was only his sixth outing, so there should be plenty of further improvement in the locker, and he can progress past these rivals and prove himself the next Ballydoyle star.
Creative Force produced one of the sprinting performances of the season when landing the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (2.00) last season on his favoured testing conditions and he appears to have been trained with the race in mind again since his midsummer efforts. He was unlucky not to land the Platinum Jubilee over course and distance in June, losing out by just a neck in second to Naval Crown, who appeared to be on better ground racing away from the bulk of the pack on the stands’ side.
Creative Force did best of those on his flank. That was on ground quicker than ideal and he probably found conditions too lively again when he was fourth in the July Cup at Newmarket in the summer behind Alcohol Free. Trainer Charlie Appleby has given him a long break since and Creative Force returns to his optimum conditions at his favourite track with strong claims of repeating last year’s victory.
John Gosden is 33-119 (28 per cent) with runners wearing a first-time hood since 2011 and a £1 bet on each would have made a profit of £94.90. That is enough to convince me the hood will work for Emily Upjohn in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (2.40). Emily Upjohn is in a different league to these rivals on her best form, which includes an easy victory in the Musidora at York and an unlucky second behind Tuesday in the Epsom Oaks.
Frankie Dettori got everything wrong at Epsom and Emily Upjohn would have won that Classic had she been able to hold a better early position. She was closing right to the line. She pulled too hard to hold any chance when last in the King George last time, but that isn’t her true form and, if the hood helps her to settle, I can see her winning this by a big margin.