Man On The Spot: French fancy
Resident tipster Man On The Spot previews all six races from Ascot on Qipco British Champions Day.
Almanzor gets the thumbs up from Man On The Spot
Third in the Arc a couple of weeks ago, ORDER OF ST GEORGE posted an effort that looked as good as his earlier Group 1 successes in the Ascot Gold Cup and last year's Irish St Leger. Aidan O'Brien's charge can confirm Gold Cup running with compatriot and 2014 winner Forgotten Rules and come out best. The latter was well beaten along with Suegioo and Litigant when hampered in last year's renewal and should be sharper for a recent seasonal debut at the Curragh. Quest For More arrives in fine fettle having landed the Group 1 Prix Du Cadran at Chantilly on Arc day with Nearly Caught back in third. He'd earlier been beaten a nose by Sheikhzayedroad in the Doncaster Cup but the latter was five lengths behind the selection in the Gold Cup here in June. Simple Verse repeated last year's win in the Park Hill over 1m6f at Doncaster last month and should relish this longer trip. She won the Fillies And Mares race at this meeting last year and may well figure in the finish.
The ground has gone against ante-post favourite Limato but Henry Candy has a more than able replacement in TWILIGHT SON. The latter finished runner-up in last year's renewal when ahead of The Tin Man, who was well behind again when he was successful in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee over track and trip in June with Signs Of Blessing not beaten far in third. Quiet Reflection comes into the reckoning on her defeat of the The Tin Man in a Group 1 sprint at Haydock last month with Donjuan Triumphant and Mr Lupton further back while Shalaa is another three-year-old to consider. The winner of his last six starts, John Gosden's charge returned to action with a Group 3 success over course and distance a fortnight ago and looks set to run a big race. A dual Group 1 winner over 5f, Mecca's Angel has only her second start over 6f but has beaten recent Ayr Gold Cup winner Brando on a couple of occasions this year and is also preferred to the progressive handicapper Librisa Breeze.
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SEVENTH HEAVEN beat several of these in the process of winning both the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks. Her defeat of subsequent Arc heroine Found at York with stablemates Even Song and Pretty Perfect further behind makes the Ballydoyle filly the one to beat. Frankie Dettori rides Journey rather than California and the former was well ahead of Bocca Baciata and Speedy Boarding when runner-up in this last year. But the latter has improved this season and won her second Group 1 in France when successful over 1m2f at Chantilly on Arc day. Zhukova has been brought quietly along by Dermot Weld and has won a couple of Group 3's in Ireland this year. First-time headgear may bring further improvement and she's preferred to Queen's Trust and Architecture, who both have something to find with the selection.
A cracking renewal sees 1000 Guineas winner MINDING drop back to a mile for the first time since narrowly beaten by Jet Setting in the Irish version. The Ballydoyle filly has won three Group 1 races over middle-distances subsequently including the Oaks at Epsom and wasn't disgraced when third in the Irish Champion Stakes last time behind Almanzor and Found. Third in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, Ribchester took revenge on the winner Galileo Gold to land the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville with Lightning Spear well beaten. Both Richard Fahey's colt and Galileo Gold have strong claims once again and can confirm July's running in the Sussex Stakes with Awtaad, who won the Irish 2000 Guineas back in May and landed a Group 2 on his latest start. All of the above look a cut above the remainder.
Found arrives on the back of victory in the Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly. But she has suffered defeat at the hands of several of these before including when runner-up to Fascinating Rock in this contest last year and once again at the Curragh in May. The latter also beat third-placed Jack Hobbs, Racing History and Maverick Wave a year ago and gave the Arc a swerve for another crack at this. Jean-Claude Rouget also considered this a better option for his Irish Champion Stakes winner ALMANZOR. The French colt beat Found in a high-class renewal at the Curragh with Prince Of Wales's winner My Dream Boat, who beat The Grey Gatsby on that occasion, further behind and will take all the beating with a similar performance. A disappointment in the Dante at York, Midterm was given time to recover and ran much better on his reappearance in an Arc trial at Chantilly last month. It's possible we haven't seen the best of him yet though Epsom Derby runner-up US Army Ranger seems better over further and the remainder have plenty to find in this company.
Harry Bentley could afford to ease down the progressive MORANDO close home at Ayr and still win cosily. He had subsequent winner Highland Colori four lengths behind and Roger Varian's colt is also preferred to stablemate Yuften. Firmament was ahead of several of these including Afjaan when runner-up in a hot handicap over 7f here a fortnight ago while Third Time Lucky was fourth in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket when just ahead of Zhui Feng with several others including Gm Hopkins further behind. Sea Wolf had the measure of Dream Walker when winning the Irish Cambridgeshire while Mutarakez has his first start since April but has run well fresh before. It's been sometime since Group 2 winner Tullius ast competed in a handicap though he was second in the Lincoln off a similar mark in 2014 and reserve Silent Attack went close at Newmarket before finishing runner-up in a Group race in Turkey.
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