The Irish will look to reign on QIPCO Champions Day 2013 with the talented three-year-olds Dawn Approach in the QE II and Ruler of the World in the Champion Stakes
In 2012 the Irish took the first three races on QIPCO Champions Day and look well placed to take at least two on the card at Ascot tomorrow. With Dawn Approach’s great rival Toronado out of the picture in the QE II the mile championship looks to be at the Guineas victor’s mercy. After a good rest Bolger’s colt will look to bounce back to the top of the milers division with the only real threat to his crown coming from the South African Soft Falling Rain who looked impressive when winning at Newmarket.
Last year the mighty Frankel sealed his and Sir Henry’s Cecil place in history with his perfect fourteen when he signed off in the Champion Stakes. Twelve months on the second that day Cirrus Des Aigles will have the ground to be Champion if he is not stopped by the Derby winner Ruler of the World. Ruler of the World put in two credible efforts in Paris and has the ability to make a race of it with the French raider.
Maarek is now back in the form that saw him take the Sprint last year and looks to be facing a weaker field in this year’s renewal. The only true threat may come from a fellow Irish runner, the talented filly Viztoria who won well two starts ago and will relish this trip.
Johnny Murtagh has been on fire this season since taking out his trainers license and will look to carry on his big race haul when he rides the overlooked Royal Diamond in the Long Distance Cup. Royal Diamond has the beating of many of these on his best form and it would be worth forgetting his last run where he disappointed.
The Oaks winner Talent will shine in the fillies and mares category and should only fear Lady Cecil’s Hot Snap. Given the conditions her stamina should tell over Lady Cecil’s filly’s speed.
A good card at Cheltenham for the second day of the Showcase Meeting may see Dan Skelton follow up on his first training success at Ffos Las last sunday with another win for the improving Mister Grez.
Crockford’s Dead Cert – Dawn Approach (QE II 3.30)
Unbeaten as a two-year-old and an impressive winner of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, Bolger’s colt can rightly claim the miler crown. With his great rival (Toronado) out of the way expect him to bounce back from his disappointing run in France. The opposition will be no match for this dead cert.
Crockford’s Whisper – Ruler of the World e/w (QIPCO Champion Stakes 4.05)
Cirrus Des Aigles may be odds on favourite to take the QIPCO feature on Champions Day but punters should not overlook the quality of the Epsom Derby winner at each way prices. With a credible run in L’Arc and a good trial in France, Aidan O’Brien’s colt will be ready to provide a notable challenge to the French favourite.
Archer’s Selection – Talent (Fillies & Mares 2.55)
On a day where talent is abound Archer would not have overlooked the quality and stamina of this filly. In the soft conditions that should be present at Ascot this filly’s stamina and talent will shine through.
Crockford’s gambles on QIPCO Champions Day:
Ascot – Royal Diamond e/w (Long Distance 1.45), Maarek (Sprint 2.20), Talent (Fillies & Mares 2.55), Dawn Approach (QEII 3.30), Cirrus Des Aigles and Ruler of the World e/w (QIPCO Champion Stakes 4.05), Brownsea Brink e/w and Intrigo e/w (Apprentice 4.45)
Cheltenham – Vino Griego e/w (2.35), Sametegal (3.10), Tullamore Dew e/w and Mister Grez e/w (3.45) and Balder Succes (5.00)
Catterick – Mutanaweb (1.20) and Judge n’Jury e/w (3.40)
Kelso – Plan Again (1.35) and Wicklow Lad (3.20)
(Featured Photograph – Dawn Approach after the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood by Stuart Rice)
(Photograph – Ruler of the World and Ryan Moore enter the Winners Enclosure at Epsom by Stuart Rice)