Champions Day: Horse-by-horse
Our team's comprehensive guide to every runner in every race on QIPCO Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.
Order Of St George is fancied to win the top stayers' prize
Forgotten Rules: Winner of this race in 2014 but was badly hampered when bidding for a repeat success and could only finish eighth. Been restricted to just the one run this season but shaped as though all of his ability remained intact with only a lack of race-fitness in testing ground proving his undoing. Big player.
Gold Prince: Likeable handicapper who ran well over course and distance at the Shergar Cup but punching several divisions about his weight here.
Litigant: Talented but fragile individual who could only finish ninth in last year's renewal. Won his subsequent outing back in handicap company over 12 furlongs but this is a very different test and it's asking a lot of the eight-year-old to be competitive.
"Stepping back up to his optimum trip, he should be hard to beat providing that big run in France hasn't taken the edge off him."
Order Of St George
Nearly Caught: Consistent sort whose arguably shown career best form of late, winning twice at Deauville before finishing third to Quest For More over Arc weekend at Chantilly. That run certainly puts him in the picture but he'll need to pull out a little more to hit the frame.
Order Of St George: The Ascot Gold Cup winner had been carrying all before him prior to a shock reverse in the Irish St Leger but there were valid excuses for that defeat and he arguably ran well above expectations when finishing third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe last time. Stepping back up to his optimum trip, he should be hard to beat providing that big run in France hasn't taken the edge off him.
Quest For More: Added the Prix du Cadran to the Lonsdale Cup having been narrowly denied in the Doncaster Cup in between and arrives at the top of his game. Versatile tactically and proven at the course, everything looks in place for a big run providing that a relatively busy period hasn't left a mark.
Sandro Botticelli: Relatively lightly raced individual who had Nearly Caught and Pallasator behind when winning a Listed race at Sandown in July. Failed to reproduce that level of form in only subsequent start and has done most of his racing on ground softer than he's likely to encounter here. Clearly has a good deal to prove but that victory suggests he has a squeak of hitting the minor places.
Sheikhzayedroad: Plenty of miles on the clock but has been transformed by adopting more positive tactics this season which resulted in a deserved, battling success in the Doncaster Cup. Wasn't beaten far behind Order Of St George at the Royal Meeting and rarely runs a bad race so should have a say in proceedings.
Suegioo: Has only won once in 35 starts although he has finished second or third on no fewer than 14 occasions but won't be doing so today.
Simple Verse: Added the British Champions Fillies and Mares on this card to her victory in the St Leger last season so clearly thrives at this time of year and returned to somewhere near her best back at Doncaster with victory in the Park Hill Stakes. This is obviously tougher but she's a proven class act who shapes as though she'll relish this first run over two miles – leading player.
VERDICT: 1 Order Of St George 2 Forgotten Rules 3 Sheikhzayedroad
Brando: Hugely progressive at this trip, finishing second in the Wokingham off 101 and winning the Ayr Gold Cup off 110 on his last two starts at six furlongs. Well beaten on his only start at this level over five furlongs in the Nunthorpe. Interesting at a price.
Don't Touch: Major progress as a three-year-old last season, winning all five starts, and while he's added a couple more wins to his tally this term, they have come in lesser company and he's not quite scaled the heights some may have expected of him. Only two lengths behind Shalaa here recently but needs to find another 7lb or so from somewhere in order to win.
"He as fourth in this race last year as a three-year-old so plenty of hope for this season considering the family get better with age."
The Tin Man
Growl: Has developed into one of the best handicappers around at six and seven furlongs but he couldn't get the better of Brando in the Ayr Gold Cup and was receiving lumps of weight that day so theoretically has a mountain to climb and there's no doubt he needs a career best by some way.
Jack Dexter: Likeable campaigner who comes back for his fourth crack at this prize but third in 2014 the best he's managed yet and really hard to see him suddenly proving too quick for the young guns in this field.
Librisa Breeze: Never raced over a distance as short as six furlongs in his career, but an incredible last to first success over seven furlongs here last time, in a handicap off a mark of 108, suggests he's well worth a crack at the trip. Loves the track and is versatile regarding ground conditions.
Mobsta: Smart sprinter on his day and any rain on the day will suit him ideally but he's not the most consistent and comes up short based on most recent run when well held over course and distance behind a couple of these rivals.
Signs Of Blessing: French raider who was third in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot. Took his form to a new level when winning the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville last time, form that has taken a few knock since. Saved for this since that run in early August and goes well fresh.
The Tin Man: Half-brother to Deacon Blues who won this race in 2011 as a four-year-old. Looked destined to follow a similar path and was fourth in this race last year as a three-year-old, so plenty of hope for this season considering the family get better with age. Good run in Haydock Sprint Cup behind Quiet Reflection last time when ground went against him. Big player.
Twilight Son: Has had to live life in the shadows of stablemate Limato this season but a top-class sprinter in his own right; won the Haydock Sprint Cup last year and this year's Diamond Jubilee. Out of sorts last time in the July Cup but been given time off to recover and he won't mind any rain in the build-up to the race.
Donjuan Triumphant: Yet to open his 2016 account but he's evidently held in really high regard and came in for strong support prior to his fairly disappointing run when finishing down the field in the Sprint Cup at Haydock. Had run a huge race to be second in French Group One prior to that but hard to know what to expect and opposable on balance.
Mr Lupton: Clearly thrives on his racing as he's certainly been kept busy, both last year and this, and his highlight of the current campaign when beating subsequent Stewards' Cup winner Dancing Star in a big handicap at York in the summer. Handles any ground but he's about 10lb shy of what's going to be required to take top spot if they all run up to their best.
Shalaa: Won every start bar his debut, finishing 2015 as a 121-rated juvenile following victories in the Prix Morny and the Middle Park. Went into the winter as favourite for the Commonwealth Cup but injury deprived him of strutting his stuff on that or any stage before his return in the Bengough Stakes on October 1. Reportedly 80 per cent fit that day and must have a big chance if he comes on for that.
Mecca's Angel: The only one in this field that has form to match Limato's this season, her stunning second Nunthorpe win the standout performance of her five-year-old career. Disappointingly dull when only third in the Abbaye last time and there are reservations over her ability to stay the six furlongs.
Quiet Reflection: Had a fantastic season for Karl Burke, winning four times including the Commonwealth Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup. Her latest win was her first against her elders and was a career-best, while she has course form and a potent turn of foot. Her sex and age allowance gives her a fine chance.
VERDICT: 1 The Tin Man 2 Quiet Reflection 3 Shalaa
Bateel: Loves getting her toe into the ground so the forecast showers will be welcome and her best effort last term came on her final outing of the campaign. Handled the step up to Group One level well enough at Deauville last time and sure to appreciate the step back up to a mile and a half.
Bocca Baciata: Tough, high-class filly who has looked as good as ever this summer in finishing second to Minding and winning a Curragh Group Two. Complete blowout behind Speedy Boarding in France last time but that not her true form and interesting if back on song. Fifth in this last year and still has stamina to prove.
California: Made smooth transition from handicap success at Ascot to Group Three win at Glorious Goodwood and arguably improved again when third behind Simple Verse at Doncaster last month. Looks the type to keep improving with experience and worth a second look here.
Journey: Very consistent performer at 10 and 12 furlongs and right at the top of her game now following back-to-back wins. They came at Group Three and Listed level so obviously more required to beat the best of her sex but she ran a brave race in second 12 months ago and looks nailed on to be in the shake-up once more.
"Hasn't had a particularly busy season and she only raced twice at two so strong chance she'll have more to offer. Looks a solid proposition once more."
Maleficent Queen: Good progress at the start of the season to win Listed event at Ayr but come unstuck twice since and facing a baptism of fire on her first ever outing at Group level.
Speedy Boarding: Looking to back up quite quickly following breakthrough Group One success at Chantilly in the Prix de l'Opera but obviously in the form of her life. Slight question mark over the longer trip here, though.
Zhukova: Typical Dermot Weld improver and she arrives here on the back of four straight wins, including a couple of Group Three heats. Latest triumph came over a mile and a half and she remains open to considerable improvement.
Architecture: Has covered herself in glory this season without getting the reward as she still only has a maiden triumph to her name. Second to Minding in the Oaks the obvious standout piece of form but her second to Seventh Heaven in the Irish version also reads extremely highly and she's entitled to be on the scene when it matters.
Even Song: Skipped the Oaks in favour of a trip to Royal Ascot and landed an almighty plunge when taking the Ribblesdale Stakes here in June. Nowhere near that level of form in two subsequent starts but the ability is clearly there and none better than her trainer at targeting the big races.
Pretty Perfect: Another high-class filly from her all-conquering stable and she stepped forward on all previous form when just worn down close home by Simple Verse at Doncaster last month. Every chance there's more to come and impossible to leave from calculations despite slight drop back in trip.
Promising Run: Fairly frustrating season on the whole after promising debut campaign in 2015 and her Group Three win came in a relatively uncompetitive Turkish event. Staying-on fourth over a mile at Newmarket last time was no disgrace but nothing like the level of what's required here.
Queen's Trust: Slow-burning three-year-old who has progressed well this season and has run fine races behind Minding and Seventh Heaven the last twice. Still pretty unexposed and she has course experience following her fourth in the Ribblesdale so certainly not out of it.
Seventh Heaven: Yorkshire Oaks victory over Found could hardly have worked out much better and that came on the back of a Group One success at the Curragh so she clearly belongs in this company. Hasn't had a particularly busy season and she only raced twice at two so strong chance she'll have more to offer. Looks a solid proposition once more.
VERDICT: 1 Seventh Heaven 2 Journey 3 Even Song
Adaay: Placed in both the Criterion and Park Stakes this season but has done nothing to suggest he's going to ruffle the feathers of the big guns in here.
Barchan: Initially in as a pacemaker for Belardo and could fulfill the same role for Ribchester here. Some hares have managed to slip the field and win this race in the past. He won't be another.
Breton Rock: As good as ever this season but even the stand-out wins in the Criteroin and Challenge leave him with plenty to find with the principals. Would prefer more cut in the ground too.
"A strong traveller with proven course form, we're unlikely to have seen the best of him just yet and he looks a worthy market leader."
Cougar Mountain: Hardly missed a dance all summer but has found winning difficult and that is unlikely to change back up to elite company. Challenge Stakes fifth last time showed his limitations again.
Hathal: Overcame a near 12-month absence to make a winning reappearance at Haydock last time and is a talented and likeable colt but this is much tougher and horses often fail to progress significantly on their second start back from such a lay-off.
Lightning Spear: Won Celebration Mile at Goodwood and earlier third to Tepin in Queen Anne reads well. Not one to completely draw a line through for all he has plenty to find with some of these on his Jacques Le Marois and Sussex Stakes efforts.
Mitchum Swagger: Ran well to chase home Hathal at Haydock last time but is another who it's hard to make a convincing case for in Group One company.
Awtaad: Beat Galileo Gold when landing Irish 2000 Guineas and back to winning ways for the first time since the spring in the Boomerang Stakes last time. However defeats in the St James's Palace and Sussex temper enthusiasm.
Galileo Gold: 2000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes hero who must be there or thereabouts again. Disappointed behind Ribchester at Deauville last time but narrowly ahead of him in the Sussex Stakes before that. Tactically uncomplicated and subject of encouraging home reports.
Hit It A Bomb: Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner in Keeneland last autumn but not scaled those heights in two starts this term. Seemingly no excuses behind Awtaad in the Boomerang and stable have other more convincing candidates.
Ribchester: Improving all the time and produced a career best effort to run out a ready winner of the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville last time. A strong traveller with proven course form, we're unlikely to have seen the best of him just yet and he looks a very worthy market leader.
Stormy Antarctic: Looked set for a good season when winning the Craven Stakes in April but has failed to get is head in front since. Hard to see him breaking that run in this company.
Jet Setting: Irish 1000 Guineas heroine and back on track when landing the Concorde Stakes at Tipperary last time. Another who's in the mix here and will ensure Galileo Gold doesn't get an easy time of it up front.
Minding: 1000 Guineas and Oaks heroine who will be returning to a mile trip for first time since winning at Newmarket. Did little wrong when third to Almanzor in a red-hot Irish Champion but for all her undoubted class, the suspicion is her optimum trip is that ten furlongs.
VERDICT: 1 Ribchester 2 Galileo Gold 3 Lightning Spear
Fascinating Rock: The reigning champion returns following a relatively light campaign which featured Group One glory in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh. No disgrace in latest near miss when trying to give Success Days lots of weight and he's sure to be primed for another tilt at this prize.
Gabrial: Talented sort but does come with his quirks and he's become an infrequent winner in recent years, scoring just once since March 2015. Has never won beyond nine furlongs and nothing in his form to suggest he can be a force a race as deep in quality as this one.
Jack Hobbs: Looked to have the world at his feet when winning the Irish Derby last season and although beaten favourite in this event, there were plenty of positives to be taken from his third behind Fascinating Rock and Found. This year has been a disaster, however, shaping poorly in public workout at the Craven meeting and then pulling up at Newmarket on his sole start. Given time off in light of stress fracture of the pelvis and very much in at the deep end on his return here.
Maverick Wave: Has found himself caught somewhere between top handicapper and Group horse but on a bit of a losing run now since winning back-to-back last March/May and impossible to see him playing any more than a minor role having finished 11th of 13 in this event last year on his only previous Group One assignment.
My Dream Boat: Surprise winner of the Prince of Wales' Stakes over this course and distance at the Royal meeting but subsequent form suggests he may have caught some of those rivals on a bad day due to the testing conditions. Doesn't look like getting his preferred going this weekend and others look far more likely for top spot.
"Skipped a possible Arc tilt in favour of this after beating Found in the Irish Champion Stakes and all ground comes alike. Possesses a devastating burst of speed and looks a rock-solid market leader."
Racing History: Totally unexposed contender whose full brother Farhh won this race following a layoff three years ago. Not seen since a very encouraging fourth in last year's renewal and despite obvious fears over the size of the task following a year on the sidelines, he must be considered an intriguing outsider.
The Grey Gatsby: Dual Group One winner but he hasn't quite been able to match the best of his form from 2014 and 2015 in four starts so far this term. Best effort came when second to Big Orange over 12 furlongs at Newmarket so he could lack the requisite pace to finally return to winning ways here.
Found: Gained a richly-deserved third Group One success of her career when leading home a remarkable one-two-three for her trainer in the Arc de Triomphe and she was only narrowly denied by the reopposing Almanzor over this shorter trip in the Irish Champion Stakes prior to that. Looks all but guaranteed to run another bold race.
Almanzor: Tops the betting on the back of a near-perfect campaign of four wins from five starts, two of which have come at the highest level. Skipped a possible Arc tilt in favour of this after beating Found in the Irish Champion Stakes and all ground comes alike. Possesses a devastating burst of speed and looks a rock-solid market leader.
Midterm: Missed a large chunk of the season after picking up an injury when fifth in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York. He was antepost favourite for the Derby prior to that and although the form of his comeback second to Makahiki in France obviously could have worked out better, he's not to be underestimated. Could find this test on the sharp side, though.
US Army Ranger: Bit of an enigma as he's obviously extremely highly regarded and ran a massive race to be second to Harzand in the Derby. Disappointing in two subsequent starts but retains potential and dropping back from a mile and a half looks a positive move.
VERDICT: 1 Almanzor 2 Racing History 3 Found
GM Hopkins: Goes well at the track and better than finishing position suggests in Cambridgeshire last time after forfeiting ground at the start. No forlorn hope despite top weight.
Tullius: Rare venture in handicaps after a solid season including win in Diomed at Epsom and second in Foundation Stakes at Goodwood last time. Might be suited by the hurly-burly and strong pace but handicapper knows all about him.
Firmament: Second in valuable handicaps here the last twice and while he's creeping up the handicap he is in the form of his life right now. Caught a tartar when running into Librisa Breeze the last day and must be on any shortlist.
Master The World: Good run to chase home Franklin D at Goodwood in July but barely raised a gallop in the Cambridgeshire last time and far more compelling cases can be made for others.
Here Comes When: Back to winning ways in four-runner conditions race at Bath last time. Talented but this is clearly a very different test and he has very little big-field handicap form to his name.
Bronze Angel: Won this two years ago but restricted to only two starts this season and nothing in his midfield finish in Cambridgeshire to suggest he's ready to strike again. Father time may be catching up with him and needs help from the assessor.
Chil The Kite: Has been a force to be reckoned with in these type of races for a few years now but not as good so far in 2016 after making a belated reappearance and nothing in his last three runs to enthuse over.
Emell: Better run in Listed race at Newbury last time but the suspicion is the handicapper has him exactly where he wants and other make significantly more appeal.
Sea Wolf: In form of his life right now having run out ready winner of Irish Cambridgeshire at the Curragh last time. Travelled well that day and seems versatile in terms of the ground.
"While he's creeping up the handicap he is in the form of his life right now. Caught a tartar when running into Librisa Breeze the last day and must be on any shortlist."
Morando: Readily completed hat-trick at Ayr last time and is a lightly-raced colt, on a roll, and in very good hands. He ticks plenty of boxes but this is his acid test and others are far more battle-hardened.
Dream Walker: Things didn't fall his way in Listed race at Listowel last time but has enjoyed another profitable season. The handicapper hasn't missed his success though.
Yuften: Joined Roger Charlton from John Patrick Murtagh and very much took the eye on only start for stable when finishing well to be fourth at Newmarket. He looks potentially very well treated on the pick of his Irish form and is very much feared.
Third Time Lucky: Signs of a revival at York two starts ago were confirmed with bold bid to follow up his 2015 win in the Cambridgeshire. Fresher than most he looks to be a leading player.
Highland Colori: Ended a long losing streak in first-time blinkers at York last time. Handicapped to run well here but clearly the headgear will need to have the desired effect a second time and this is a whole heap tougher.
Instant Attraction: Like many form his yard has enjoyed a good season. Cut little ice in the Irish Cambridgeshire last time but seventh place in the Hunt Cup points to him being among those with a chance of hitting the frame at a big price.
Donncha: Good run when eighth behind Librisa Breeze here last time but nothing there suggested he has anything in hand and he'll do well to finish as close to the leaders again here.
Remarkable: Strong traveller who caught the eye behind Librisa Breeze here last time. Lightly raced and open to improvement but is a strongly-run mile (a trip he has yet to try) going to play to his strengths?
Mutarakez: Always held in high regard but missed big chunk of last season and absent again since midfield finish in the Lincoln back in April. Would be tremendous training performance to have him ready to win this.
Zhui Feng: Fifth in Cambridgshire was a cracking effort but has since run at Maisons-Laffittee and is another who looks to have little in hand of his current mark.
Afjaan: Another eyecatcher in the Librisa Breeze race but one who is proven at this trip. He goes well through his races and with Frankie Dettori in the saddle, he's a player for his excellent yard.
Silent Attack (Reserve 1): Taken an unusual route to this race having competed in a Group Two race in Turkey last time. He was second there but the balance of his summer form in handicaps at Newmarket suggests he has a bit to find.
Dutch Law (Reserve 2): Has enjoyed a profitable campaign and picked up a valuable prize here when beating Firmanent in September. However he's shot up the handicap as a result and was midfield behind Librisa Breeze in that key form race last time.
Dinkum Diamond (Reserve 3): Not the force he once was and for all a third place behind Highland Colori at York showed the fire still burns. He makes limited appeal in this company.
VERDICT: 1 Firmament 2 Afjaan 3 Third Time Lucky 4 Yuften 5 GM Hopkins
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