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ITV Racing Tips – Through the card tips on Champions Day

  • We take a look through the full card on Champions Day at Ascot
  • Palace Pier is the hot-favourite for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
  • Magical attempts to win back-to-back Champion Stakes
  • Four Group Ones will be handed out at Ascot on Saturday
  • We have tips for all six races right here
magical ascot
Magical (second left) claims victory in the 2019 Champion Stakes. (Getty)

We’ve taken a look through the full card on Champions Day at Ascot and provided readers with our ITV Racing tips on Saturday 17th October.

The final major meeting on the British flat racing calendar takes place on Saturday, as Ascot stages a superb card on British Champions Day. Four Group Ones will be handed out this weekend, along with the Long Distance Cup and the Balmoral Handicap.

We had plenty of success with our ITV tips at Newmarket last week. Hopefully that good form will run into Saturday!

2020 Ascot Champions Day Card

1:20pmQipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2) (British Champions Series) 2m
1:55pmQipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) 6f
2:30pmQipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) 1m4f
3:05pmQueen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1) (Sponsored By Qipco) (British Champions Mile) 1m
3:40pmQipco Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1) 1m2f
4:15pmBalmoral Handicap (Sponsored By Qipco) 1m

ITV Racing Tips – Saturday 17th October

Race 1 - Long Distance Cup Tips

Dual Irish St Leger winner, Search For A Song looks to be Stradivarius' main challenger here. That being said, Dermot Weld's filly has never run over two miles, she's never run at Ascot before and she's never run on ground softer than good. Those are three fairly big questions she has to answer on Saturday.

Stradivarius is the most likely winner, and there's no-one of Kew Gardens' quality facing him in the field this time around. Still, I'm more inclined to take an each-way punt on MORANDO, who will relish the testing nature of this race.

Andrew Balding's seven-year-old is yet to win in three starts this season, but his results have improved with each start. Morando often produces his best around this time of year. The finest performance of his career came here at Ascot last October, and Morando loves plenty of cut in the ground. 

Race 2 - Champions Sprint Stakes Tips

Dream Of Dreams1:55pm Ascot Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) 6fGET 15/8 HERE
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Art Power loves juicy ground and relished the challenge of the track when winning at Royal Ascot. Tim Easterby's three-year-old bounced back from a poor run in the Nunthorpe with a decent showing at Haydock, and represents good each-way value at his current double-figure price.

However, Art Power was powerless to resist DREAM OF DREAMS when they met in the Sprint Cup, where Sir Michael Stoute's charge secured his first Group One triumph in impressive fashion. Dream Of Dreams has been in the form of his life this term, and two stunning performances on soft ground have helped him reach a mark of 120. 

Dream Of Dreams may have finished out the back in the last two editions of the Champions Sprint, but he's never come into the race in such good form and his performances in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes prove he can deal with the track here at Ascot. 

dream of dreams haydock
Dream Of Dreams (centre) powers to victory in the Sprint Cup at Haydock. (Getty)

Race 3 - Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes Tips

Antonia De Vega2:30pm Ascot Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) 1m4fGET 5/1 HERE
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Wonderful Tonight heads the market, for what looks a wide-open renewal of the Fillies' And Mares'. I'm quite keen on the chances of ANTONIA DE VEGA, who stayed on to finish sixth in this race 12 months ago, after sitting a little too far off the pace.

Ralph Beckett's filly is two-from-two this term, and looked very good when beating Alpinista in the Princess Royal Stakes last time out. Antonia De Vega loves soft ground, and she's entitled to come on from that victory at Newmarket. She has the class to win and ground conditions will suit. I just hope Harry Bentley takes closer order in the first half of the race.

Race 4 - Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Tips

Circus Maximus E/W3:05pm Ascot Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Group 1) (Sponsored By Qipco) (British Champions Mile) 1mGET 10/1 HERE
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Only Ghaiyyath is rated higher than Palace Pier, so it's clear that John Gosden's unbeaten colt is going to be very hard to beat. I, however, would rather back CIRCUS MAXIMUS at 10/1 each-way, than have a single bet on Palace Pier at 4/6.

Aidan O'Brien's four-year-old is the hardiest miler in the business and very rarely runs a bad race. Circus Maximus may come into Ascot on the back of probably his worst performance in the Prix du Moulin, but he was still able to finish ahead of the likes of Siskin and Victor Ludorum when finishing third behind Persian King.

Ryan Moore's mount has won the St James's Palace Stakes and the Queen Anne here at Ascot, so I'm expecting Circus Maximus to give another good account of himself.

circus maximus
Circus Maximus (right) winning his second Royal Ascot race in the 2020 Queen Anne. (Getty)

Race 5 - Champion Stakes Tips

After beating the highest-rated horse in the business over this trip on her last start, I can't see any reason to side against MAGICAL. Aidan O'Brien's mare came to Ascot on the back of a grueling run in the Arc last year, and still had enough left in the tank to see off Addeybb and win the Champion Stakes.

If it wasn't for Enable, we'd be talking about Magical as the best mare of her generation. In her last 15 starts, O'Brien's star has finished outside the top two places just once. The only horses to have gotten the better of Magical in that time are Enable - who beat her three times - Ghaiyyath and Crystal Ocean.

Missing the Arc this season may help Magical produce an even more impressive performance in the Champion Stakes. She'll take all the beating.

Race 6 - Balmoral Handicap Tips

Bell Rock E/W4:15pm Ascot Balmoral Handicap (Sponsored By Qipco) 1mGET 12/1 HERE
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BELL ROCK was my selection in the Cambridgeshire on his last start. Sadly, Majestic Dawn stole a march on the field going into the dip and was never going to get pegged back. Bell Rock, who was keen early on, made up some eye-catching late ground, eventually crossing the line third.

Andrew Balding has decided to fit cheek-pieces following that run. This will be the first time Bell Rock has ever run on soft ground, but the going may dampen the superior turn of foot some of his rivals possess and emphasise his staying ability. At 12/1, I think he's a cracking each-way bet and Bell Rock will be the last of my ITV Racing tips.


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