Estimate Kicks Off All-Star Cast on Champions Day at Ascot
Sir Michael Stoute’s Estimate has been heavily backed in the ante-post market for the opening Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Saturday. She has not raced since winning the Gold Cup here for Her Majesty in June but reports suggest that she will certainly not be lacking in fitness.
She usually runs well fresh and this will be only her third start of the season with Ryan Moore in the saddle. Aidan O’Brien’s Eye Of The Storm has been the best backed against her this week whilst the consistent Ahzeemah has not finished out of the first two on his last eleven starts.
Maarek is likely to carry the hopes of many punters in the British Champions Sprint Stakes at 2.20. He has his favoured soft ground after victories at Newbury and Longchamp, the latter coming in the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye on Arc day.
Jack Dexter has been prepared for this race for some time and is expected to make a bold bid for Scottish trainer Jim Goldie. Stable companion Hawkeyethenoo has been disappointing of late but it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if he bounced back on a course he loves.
There has been plenty of each-way support for Oaks third The Lark in the Fillies and Mares Stakes at 2.55. She won the Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster in great style but the runner-up has been well beaten since.
Talent proved her Irish Oaks running to be all wrong when running a fine race to finish second in the St Leger. This trip should suit her better and she may have most to fear from Dalkala in the Aga Khan colours.
Dawn Approach bids to end his career on a winning note in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at 3.30. Trainer Jim Bolger is confident that he has him in excellent shape but he will have to battle to fend off the likes of Maxios and Olympic Glory.
Cirrus des Aigles bids to win the Champion Stakes for the second time having won in 2011 and finished second to Frankel last year. There has been good support for Godolphin’s Farhh despite a lengthy layoff and he could be the one to beat.
Selections: 1.45 Estimate, 2.20 Maarek, 2.55 Dalkala, 3.30 Maxios, 4.05 Cirrus des Aigles, 4.45 Breton Rock