2018 QIPCO British Champions Day

Betting on the 2018 QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot

As single day events go, there are few capable of matching the magnificent British Champions Day which fittingly takes place at Ascot on 20 October. It is typically considered to be the end of the Flat racing season in Europe, although technically there is a Group 1 race at Doncaster the following week.

2018 British Champions Day consists of six races, including four Group 1 events and a Group 2 to cover all the Champions categories plus the Balmoral Handicap.

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It is always a marvellous day of racing as we witness the very best sprinters, milers, fillies, and middle-distance runners the world has to offer.

In this year’s event, world-class horses such as Stradivarius, Roaring Lion, Cracksman, and Crystal Ocean do battle with a series of other fantastic entries that wouldn’t look out of place in any standard of race.

In today’s preview, we’ll be looking at three of the four Grade 1 races: the British Champions Sprint Stakes, the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes and the Champion Stakes.

Each race preview will include some basic background information, a look at important betting trends and our own thoughts on where the best value is to be found in each race. We’ll also compare the ante post betting odds across each of three major bookmakers.

British Champions Sprint Stakes

As the winner receives over £350,000, the British Champions Sprint Stakes is one of the most lucrative races of the year. It is a pure test of speed over 6 furlongs and was established in 1946 as the Diadem Stakes. It was a Group 3 race at first but was promoted to Group 2 in 1996 and Group 1 in 2015. It became part of the British Champions Day in 2011 and has become one of Europe’s leading sprint events.

Previous Winners

Year Winner Odds (SP)
2013 Slade Power 7/1
2014 Gordon Lord Byron 5/1
2015 Muhaarar 5/2
2016 The Tin Man 13/2
2017 Librisa Breeze 10/1

Betting Trends and Information

There are 14 runners at the time of writing with 2016 winner The Tin Man installed as the 3/1 favourite. 2017 winner Librisa Breeze is the 5/1 second favourite with Harry Angel next at 6/1. The rest of the field is 8/1.

  • 20/21 winners finished in the top five in their previous race.
  • 20/21 winners were aged 3, 4, and 5.
  • 18/21 winners were in the top five in the betting market.
  • 11/12 winners had 4+ runs this season.
  • 11/12 winners had at least 3 career wins.

Harry Angel’s fall from grace is a little surprising as he was the top 3yo sprinter last season. After sustaining an injury in his second 2018 race, Harry Angel also flopped on his latest outing at Haydock where he was well beaten by The Tin Man. However, recent trends don’t favour the market leader as only one 6yo has won this race in the last two decades.

Most trends seem to favour horses outside the top five in the betting market which suggests we may have a mid-priced winner this year. Projection could be a surprise winner at 16/1 having narrowly won a Group 3 at Ascot this month, albeit in a small field.

On the downside, he was beaten by Limato at Newmarket in August. Limato is an interesting outsider at 16/1 but is also a 6yo. If we leave trends aside, however, the Henry Candy trained horse recently won a Group 2 at Newmarket and can’t be discounted.

Ante Post Betting Odds

RaceBets.com ComeOn.com Unibet.com
The Tin Man 11/4 11/4 11/4
Librisa Breeze 9/2 9/2 5/1
Harry Angel 5/1 5/1 5/1
Brando 7/1 15/2 7/1
Tasleet 8/1 17/2 8/1
Sir Dancealot 16/1 14/1 16/1
Limato 16/1 16/1 16/1
Projection 16/1 16/1 16/1
Son Of Rest 16/1 16/1 16/1
Sands Of Mali 20/1 18/1 20/1
Sioux Nation 25/1 22/1 25/1
Donjuan Triumphant 25/1 22/1 25/1
Speak In Colours 20/1 22/1 20/1
Laugh A Minute 25/1 25/1 25/1
Dream Of Dreams 25/1 28/1 25/1
Bacchus 33/1 33/1 33/1
Classical Times 66/1 66/1 66/1
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British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes

This Group 1 race is only open to fillies and mares aged 3yo+. The British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes is a test of stamina over 1m 4f and 4yo+ entries are asked to carry an extra seven pounds. This race was established in 1946 and was initially a Group 3 race that was promoted to Group 2 in 2008. It was finally upgraded to Group 1 status in 2013. It has been run at Newmarket in several years during the 21st century but has been at Ascot since 2011.

Previous Winners

Year Winner Odds (SP)
2013 Seal of Approval 16/1
2014 Madame Chiang 12/1
2015 Simple Verse 5/1
2016 Journey 4/1
2017 Hydrangea 4/1

Betting Trends and Information

Lah Ti Dar is the 11/8 market leader with Kitesurf the second favourite at 5/1. The rest of the 11-runner field is 11/2+.

  • 15/21 winners were in the top 4 of the betting market.
  • 18/21 winners had at least two season runs.
  • 9/12 winners had 3+ Flat career wins.
  • 8/12 winners had at least one Group 1-3 win.
  • 11/12 winners had at least one season win.

Although Lah Ti Dar is an excellent horse, she is coming off a surprising defeat to Kew Gardens at Doncaster last month. Also, this is not a great race for favourites as only four have won in the last two decades. Add in the fact that her best wins were in Listed races, and you need to think twice about whether the favourite is worth your money.

Last year’s winner, Hydrangea, has been badly out of sorts this season. There is a chance that she could turn back the clock and produce a spectacular performance at 9/1, but preference is for Kitesurf. The Godolphin horse is arguably the best value best in the race at 5/1.

Ante Post Betting Odds

RaceBets.com ComeOn.com Unibet.com
Lah Ti Dar 11/8 11/8 11/8
Kitesurf 4/1 9/2 4/1
Coronet 9/2 5/1 5/1
Hydrangea 7/1 15/2 7/1
Magical 10/1 11/1 10/1
Pilaster 10/1 10/1 10/1
Magic Wand 16/1 18/1 16/1
God Given 20/1 18/1 20/1
Horseplay 20/1 22/1 20/1
Athena 25/1 25/1 25/1
Bye Bye Baby 33/1 33/1 33/1
Sizzling 50/1 50/1 50/1
Broadway 50/1 50/1 66/1
Flattering 100/1 80/1 100/1
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2018 Champion Stakes

The main event of the day is the Group 1 middle distance championship, better known as the Champion Stakes. It is run over 1m 2f and has a prize fund of £1.3 million! It was first run in 1877 and held at Newmarket. Five Classic winners had won the race by the end of the 19th century.

It was immediately installed as a Group 1 race in 1971 and was transferred to Ascot to become part of the British Champions Series in 2011. Its prize fund was briefly the highest in British racing until The Derby increased its prize money in 2012.

Previous Winners

Year Winner Odds (SP)
2013 Farhh 11/4
2014 Noble Mission 7/1
2015 Fascinating Rock 10/1
2016 Almanzor 11/8
2017 Cracksman 13/8

Betting Trends and Information

The defending champion, Cracksman, has been installed as the odds-on 10/11 favourite in this 8-runner race. Crystal Ocean is the second favourite at 11/4, and the rest of the field is 13/2.

  • 17/21 winners finished in the top 3 in their previous race; two other winners had their first ever race.
  • 20/21 winners were in the top 6 in the betting market, but only six favourites have won the race in the last 20 years.
  • 13/21 winners had 4+ season runs.
  • 11/12 winners have won at least one Group 1-2 race.
  • 10/12 winners had at least six career Flat wins.
  • 10/12 winners had 2+ Flat wins that season.

The Champion Stakes is very much a race for heavily fancied horses in good form. It doesn’t take long to narrow the field down to three realistic contenders; the two favourites, and Capri at 8/1.

Capri is trained by Aiden O’Brien who has a phenomenal big race record. After Group 1 wins last season, and a win over Cracksman, Capri has not enjoyed the same level of success in 2018. Although capable of a big run, it is tough to see him beat two superior rivals, although he has the best chance of upsetting the top two; it would be a huge upset if any other horse came close.

Crystal Ocean cannot be ignored as one of the world’s top-rated horses. A run of three straight wins at the start of the season was followed by two defeats to world-class horses.

Cracksman is the clear favourite, and with Frankel as his sire, one must have complete respect for this great horse. However, he was soundly beaten at Ascot in June by Poet’s Word and offers no value at odds-on.

Originally, I championed Roaring Lion but the world’s #1 3yo has now been entered in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, the race directly before this one. Roaring Lion is the deserved favourite in that race and offers tremendous value at 9/4. He is in scintillating form with three successive Group 1 triumphs, including wins over Saxon Warrior and Poet’s Word. The grey colt is the class of the Queen Elizabeth II field, although the one mile distance may not be ideal.

Ante Post Betting Odds

RaceBets.com ComeOn.com Unibet.com
Cracksman 10/11 5/6 5/6
Crystal Ocean 11/4 5/2 11/4
Capri 15/2 13/2 13/2
Monarchs Glen 14/1 12/1 10/1
Addeybb 16/1 14/1 16/1
Magical 25/1 22/1 20/1
Mirage Dancer 20/1 18/1 20/1
Verbal Dexterity 20/1 18/1 20/1
Magic Wand 25/1 25/1 25/1
Athena 33/1 33/1 33/1
Rhododendron 33/1 33/1 33/1
Maverick Wave 100/1 100/1 100/1
Subway Dancer 100/1 100/1 100/1
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