PREVIEW: When the going gets tough….
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]nd so to Champions Day itself ….
After the Future Champions Day yesterday I was left pretty nonplussed by the Group 1 winners. They may yet turn out to be future champions but I’m not convinced.
Don’t forget before the action gets underway in Berkshire this afternoon the Man City v Spurs game will already be underway at the Etihad – and I previewed that match two days ago.
At Ascot today the going is heavy with the prospect of more rain so I am going to attempt to make hay while the sun shines or at least until it starts raining again 🙁
Of the horse racing experts I take counsel from, they all agree that the going is biggest the single factor in racing and therefore this should be at the forefront of all calculations for today.
But it’s not easy working out if a horse just handles the ground or runs optimally on the ground – or, indeed, when a horse is unproven on the ground it doesn’t disprove that it won’t cope with conditions.
A quandary indeed. I think the opening Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (1.45pm C4, RUK) is an excellent example.
The two Irish raiders Forgotten Rules and Leading Light head the market but there are massive ground question marks against them both and I feel they both have to be opposed.
Leading Light is without doubt one of the best stayers of recent years – his St Leger win last year and Gold Cup win this year are a shining testament to that but the bulk of his best form has been achieved on good to firm ground. The heavy ground today is a whole new ball game. If you look back through his form you’ll find his maiden win came on heavy ground at Tipperary but that might be simply be a case of a very good horse winning on any ground and more pertinently I believe he is much more effective on faster ground and vulnerable in desperate ground.
Forgotten Rules is harder to quantify. He has romped to successes on good to yielding ground in a bumper at Punchestown and on the flat at Galway and whilst remaining an exceptional prospect has a question mark over the ground and the class upgrade. How many question marks do you want when backing a favourite ???
Estimate won the Queens Vase here on soft ground and Sir Mark Prescott’s Pallasator is a heavy ground winner. Both make more appeal at 7/1 and 8/1 respectively and I shall split stakes with Star Sports on them both.