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Overcast skies forecast for Ascots Champions Day - By Tom Krish

Posted on - 14 Oct 2015

Overcast skies forecast for Ascot's Champions Day
By Tom Krish
There is no rain in the forecast until Monday in London. Cloudy skies will prevail on Saturday when the Champions Day races will be run at Ascot. The high on Saturday is predicted to be 13 degrees Centigrade. A five-day rain-free spell in London is out of the ordinary.
This is the fifth year that the Champions Day races are held. Frankel was the star in 2011 when winning the Queen Elizabeth II Cup. In 2012. Frankel, on very soft ground, justified favoritism in the Champions Stakes.
There are five major races on Champions Day. There is the 1200-metre Sprint. Muhaarar goes for his fourth consecutive Group I win and will be the post time choice. An intriguing element in this race is the Singapore-based Emperor Max. There is a 600,000-pound purse. This is the  race that Gordon Lord Byron, owned by Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, won in 2014.
The Long Distance Cup over 3200 metres carries 300,000-pound prize money. The 2400-metre (Fillies and Mares) stakes will have a total prize of $550,000.
The Queen Elizabeth II Cup over the straight mile has a million-pound purse. Solow, the French star is favored. Gleneagles may race and given the forecast, it is likely that the English 2000 Guineas hero will be in the line up.  Kodi Bear, winner of the Celebration Mile at Goodwood, is a starter.
Finally, we have the Champion Stakes to be run over 2000 metres. Jack Hobbs, a run-away winner of the Irish Derby in June and an easy winner in a recent prep on the all weather, heads the Champions Stakes market. John Gosden has had a banner year and sends out Jack Hobbs. Noble Mission, trained by Jane Cecil (Henry Cecil’s widow), won it last year with James Doyle in the saddle.
I saw some racing action on TV on Tuesday. In a maiden 1600-metre contest at the Curragh, there was colt called Idaho. Joseph O’Brien was aboard the colt trained by his father, Aidan O’Brien. Idaho was help up off a quick pace. When jockey O’Brien asked Idaho for an effort in the last 300 metres, the response was electrifying. Idaho is by Galileo out of Hveger by Danehill.  Trainer Aidan O’Brien has a barn that is filled with future stars. It is an enviable position to be in.
Talk about suffering from seconditis. Spring Dixie was in a three-horse race at Musselburgh. She had run second four times in a row. On Tuesday, she ran second for the fifth consecutive time. David Allan was the rider. David connected with a 20/1 Bold Spirit in a race run later in the Musselburgh card.
American Hustle was the rage in the Musselburgh’s finale and had run second in his last three outings at Pontefract, Newcastle and Ayr. American Hustle looked like a winner and was headed on the line. That made it four runner-up efforts in a row.
Such ‘seconditis’ horses are great cheque-getters and they simply lack the will to win. It takes an extra minute or two to see if there were excuses in their losses. It is not a difficult exercise.
The Breeders’ Cup fields are taking shape. American Pharoah and Beholder head the market for the Classic. Golden Horn is the 4/5 favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. More on the Breeders’ Cup in the days to come.
I am making the trip to Marlborough, Wiltshire on Wednesday. My wife and I go there to spend the day with Martin Dwyer who is recovering from a collar bone injury.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the author's personal views.)

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