Saturday’s Horse Racing Tips: Tom Collins pinpoints four worthwhile bets on Champions Day

20 October 2023

Heavy ground and the potential for a rare and untimely course switch aside, I can’t wait to be in attendance for Champions Day at Ascot this weekend. Yes, I will pack an umbrella.

The domestic flat action comes to an end, which is always a sad day for speed fiends like myself, but it does so with a bang as the Group race bonanza features some of our best equine and human talent. Oh, and there’s the small matter of the Balmoral Handicap to really test your betting skills.

Speaking of bets, I have had four on the card so buckle up as they are about to come at you at pace. First up is Trueshan, who is currently 2/1 second favourite for the opening Group 2 Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (1.15 Ascot). 

This seven-year-old is a fan favourite in the staying division for dual purpose trainer Alan King, and this contest is often considered to be his main seasonal target. You can’t blame connections for waiting until mid-October to get him 100% ready given his love for the track and testing underfoot conditions - three consecutive victories in the race has proved it to be the right call. Why change something that isn’t broken, right?

Trueshan bids for a famous four-timer - albeit Further Flight won five successive Long Distance Cups between 1991 and 1995 - and looks in fine fettle to achieve it. Some believed he was past his best with two short-priced defeats early this season, but a wind op seemed to get him back firing and subsequent successes in the Doncaster Cup and Prix du Cadran were impressive.

Hollie Doyle opted for different tactics at Longchamp last time due to his keen-going nature and they seemed to work a treat. Now tactically versatile as well as being a strong stayer at this extreme distance and a mudlover, Trueshan has a lot in his favour. Given Kyprios returned from a long absence with a disappointing display, I have to take him on at the prices.

Next up is the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (3.05 Ascot), which might be the best event on the card. Paddington, who looked almost unbeatable during the summer before coming unstuck at York, heads the market and is clearly the horse to beat. However, he’s had a hard campaign and this strikes me as one last hurrah given it’s his last race before going to stud. This ground won’t be ideal and his price is short enough.

I still prefer him to Tahiyra, who has some form on wet ground. The reason for that is because she isn’t the biggest of fillies, so a real bog might not suit, and she also encounters her stiffest task to date. Her class against her own sex isn’t up for debate, but this is a completely different challenge against the boys and I believe she wants it to dry up a fair amount to hold a strong chance.

 French raiders Big Rock and Facteur Cheval have each-way claims at reasonable prices but haven’t wowed me in their performances this year, which means I’ve come down on the John and Thady Gosden-trained Nashwa, who should love the straight mile on testing ground. 

 This four-year-old has largely been campaigned over further throughout her career, but she’s 2/2 at the distance and strikes me as a filly who is desperate to get a good tow into her races. She ran exceptionally well in the Irish Champion Stakes behind Auguste Rodin when last seen (1lb below her career-best on RPRs) and represents a trainer who has won two of the last six runnings of the race.

 The Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes (3.35 Ascot) might be slightly overshadowed by the aforementioned QEII, but it’s still a cracking race. Horizon Dore heads the market after a cosy victory at Longchamp three weeks ago and looks the most logical winner as he seeks a five-timer, but he’s short enough and price dictates I look elsewhere.

Unfamiliar riders on King Of Steel and Via Sistina concern me. Not because Frankie Dettori and Oisin Murphy aren’t capable, far from it in fact, but they’re taking over from jockeys who know those horses very well and neither is the easiest of conveyances. King Of Steel is a huge unit who has yet again drawn an inside stall, so negotiating a clear passage won’t be easy, while Via Sistina can hang badly to her right under pressure.

Bay Bridge probably won’t like the ground, so I’ve landed on My Prospero by default. He’s almost certainly not the most talented horse in the race, but he’s super consistent and finished a solid third in this event last year. Deep ground is his want and first-time tongue-tie and blinkers suggest they are throwing everything at him to win this year. If he hits the frame at 12/1, I’ll be happy.

 Finally, it would be foolish not to have a bet in the tricky Balmoral Handicap (4.25 Ascot) that ends the card. There are a few heavy ground types in this event, but I’m siding with Lincoln winner Migration despite the fact that he carries topweight.

David Menuisier has campaigned this horse with a couple of big handicaps in mind and he should love the stiff mile at Ascot in a race that will turn into a slog. He had plenty of excuses when he finished last in the Gordon Richards Stakes last time, not least the fact he was facing much better horses and was positioned last in the early stages on a day where making up ground was nearly impossible.

He has been freshened up since, which is a positive (form figures of 24281 off 150+ day layoffs), and Benoit de la Sayette knows him well. Migration was a luckless eighth in this event last year and a clear run should see him go pretty close. 

Saturday’s Horse Racing Tips

Trueshan (1.15 Ascot) @ 2/1
Nashwa (3.05 Ascot) @ 5/1
My Prospero (3.45 Ascot) @ 12/1
Migration (4.25 Ascot) @ 8/1

Latest Horse Racing Odds

We use cookies to manage user login sessions, enhance user experience, perform essential site operations and tailor advertising and other content to reflect your specific interests. By clicking "I Accept" you consent to the use of cookies and similar technologies for the purposes we outline in our Cookie Policy.