Turf Talk: Horizon Dare can take Champion Stakes on Ascot's Champion's Day
Ascot stage Qipco Champion’s Day on Saturday. There are four Group One races, a Group Two and a competitive handicap. The aim is to find the top horse of the year in various categories but being held so late in the year on autumnal ground this aim is rarely achieved.
The season’s best middle-distance horses compete in the most valuable race, the Champion Stakes. Bay Bridge won last year and should run well again, but my preference is for the French raider, Horizon Dare.
French horses have a good record in this race, triumphing most recently in 2021 with Sealiway. Mickael Barzalona was on board that day and he also rides Horizon Dare, who looked impressive when winning the Prix Dollar on ‘Arc’ day.
Jackie Oh also ran well on that day when second in the Prix L’Opera. She contests the Fillies and Mares race and has the Frankie Dettori ridden Free Wind to beat
The top miler will be crowned in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and I hope that will be the Irish filly Tahiyra. She has only been beaten once this year and has had a nice break since winning the Group One Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.
Torrential rain is expected at Ascot with the going likely to be heavy. This should play into the hands of the mud-lover Kyprios in the Stayers race. He has missed most of the year due to unfavourable ground, but won the Prix Cadran by 20 lengths last year in bottom-less going.
Shaquille was disappointing when last at Haydock, though he has been a good servant to this column and deserves another chance, but how he will handle the ground is anyone’s guess. Vadream is a good outsider in this race as he will appreciate the conditions.
David O’Meara’s Rhoscolyn is down four pounds from winning on heavy going at Goodwood and should go well at a big price in the concluding handicap.
Garlick’s Goodies: Saturday Ascot1:15 – Kyprios; 1:50 - Shaquille; 2:25 – Jackie Ho; 3:05 – Tahiyra; 3:45 – Horizon Dare; 4:20 – Rhoscolyn.