Champion Rock a solid wager

Ian Ogg analyses the last 10 renewals of the Qipco Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the Qipco Champion Stakes and picks out the key statistics.

The Qipco Queen Elizabeth II Stakes has been dominated by three-year-olds and the Classic generation look set to dominate once again.

There are three Classic winners going to post in Awtaad, Galileo Gold and Minding while Ribchester – third in the Guineas at Newmarket – won a Group One last time.

Celebration Mile winner Lightning Spear flies the flag for the older generation but he has twice been beaten by Ribchester so clearly has his work cut out.

As the stats below show, this hasn't been a race for upsets and David Simcock's charge would be the longest price winner in recent history by some margin were he to prevail.

All of the older horses to have won in this period had won a Group One earlier in the season and finished either first or second in the Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal meeting whereas Lightning Spear was only third..

Galileo Gold has to bounce back from a disappointing performance in France and while he may do so, no recent winner has finished outside the first three on their most recent outing.

All of the three-year-old winners had won a group race as a juvenile which is not surprising in itself but it is a potential negative for Awtaad who only contested two maidens at two.

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Indeed, they had all dipped their toe into Group One waters which is something Ribchester didn't attempt so perhaps those are reasons enough to side with Minding.

Aidan O'Brien has a predictably strong record in this race with three winners in the last decade and his filly arguably did well to finish third in the Irish Champion Stakes after a less than ideal passage. There's certainly no questioning the form of that run but more pertinent is whether the Oaks winner can successfully cope with a return to a mile.

She shades favouritism from Ribchester in some books but is more widely available at a slightly longer price than Richard Fahey's runner and that earns her the vote in a race where it's hard to split the pair.

  • Winners have been aged three (7), four and five (2).
  • Winners have been priced between 4/11 and 11/2 with five favourites successful.
  • Seven winners were successful on their preceding start, the exceptions finished second or third.
  • All of the last 10 winners had won a race during the current season.
  • Only two winners hadn't previously been successful in Group One company.

The Qipco Champions Stakes hasn't proved to be such a happy hunting ground for market leaders with only two favourites hitting the target and nor have three-year-olds dominated to the same extent.

Almanzor does, at least, tick the right boxes as far as having the right profile for a three-year-old winner but it looks worth trying to get him beaten at the prices.

The obvious horse to take him on with is last year's winner Fascinating Rock who beat Found into second 12 months ago and who also had Aidan O'Brien's filly behind when winning the Tattersalls Gold Cup in May. His latest defeat behind Success Days is easily excused and it appears as though there will be sufficient ease in the ground to enable him to show his best. He looks a rock solid each-way proposition at around 5/1.

Twice Over won this race in 2009 and 2010 (albeit at Newmarket) while Cirrus Des Aigles ran Frankel to a length and three quarters after winning in 2011 and was just a neck behind Farrh in 2013 so there is plenty of recent evidence to support those that have run well in the race before.

Last year's third and fourth, Jack Hobbs and Racing History, are also back for more but have managed just one race between them in the intervening 12 months.

The latter hasn't placed in Group One company but he was close enough last year to forgive that and, as a full brother to Farrh, it's reasonable to hope for further improvement.

A good deal has to be taken on trust which is not the case with My Dream Boat who is a similar price. Clive Cox's colt beat Found in the Prince of Wales's Stakes and ran a big race to finish fifth in the Irish Champion Stakes where he was just under six lengths behind the winner.

He's interesting at a price but a top three finish last time out has been a pre-requisite for winners in the last decade and so I'll take on Almanzor with Fascinating Rock.

  • Winners have been aged three (2), four (3), five (4) and six.
  • Winners have been priced between 2/11 and 14/1 (seven in single figures) with two favourites successful.
  • Three winners hadn't previously won a Group One contest but all had been placed in the top tier.
  • All winners finished in the first three on their preceding start; seven were successful.
  • Nine winners had won over 10 furlongs, the exception had been placed in a Group One over the trip.
  • All of the winners had won a race during the current season.
  • The successful three-year-olds both ran in a Classic.

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