2016 British Champions Day: Zhukova holds all the aces in Fillies and Mares
Zhukova to silence Seventh Heaven in Fillies and Mares
Zhukova has done nothing but impress this season and can take the step up into Group 1 company in her stride to land the 1m 4f Champion Fillies and Mares Stakes at Ascot (14.35).
Trained in Ireland by Dermot Weld, the four-year-old put in a stunning performance on her penultimate outing when slamming the useful Pretty Perfect by 7 1/2 lengths in a Group 3 at Naas.
After travelling powerfully throughout in the hands of Pat Smullen, Zhukova breezed into the lead 1 1/2 furlongs from home before storming clear to beat a rival who has subsequently run a blinder to finish a close second to Simple Verse in the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster.
Impressive at Leopardstown
The daughter of Fastnet Rock has since gone on to beat Investec Derby runner-up US Army Ranger by 1/2 a length in a similar grade affair at Leopardstown, where she was value for far more than the winning margin, having idled in front after being three lengths clear entering the final furlong.
It was a most taking performance and Zhukova is clearly thriving and looks the type who should have even more to offer.
Other pluses are that she handles all types of ground and hails from a yard that has a good record with his runners at this venue.
Seventh Heaven a major player under Moore
Seventh Heaven has shown progressive form throughout the season and brings the strongest form into the contest.
The Aidan O’Brien trained filly has won four of her five starts this year and comes into the race on the back of two Group 1 successes.
After landing the Irish Oaks, the three-year-old posted a career best effort when coming with a storming run from off the pace to beat stable companion Found by 2 3/4 lengths in the Yorkshire Oaks at York.
Soft ground a worry
The form of the latter has been given a massive boost with the runner-up having since gone on to land the Arc at Chantilly and there was lots to like about the way on which Seventh Heaven got the job done.
Seventh Heaven now also gets the services of Ryan Moore in the saddle for just the second time in her career and clearly improving with every outing.
However, all her best form has come on quick ground and, with the going currently on the soft side and more rain forecast, Seventh Heaven is not going to get her ideal underfoot conditions.
In what looks a match on paper that could prove vital and give Zhukova the edge on this occasion.
You’ll find recommended race-by-race British Champions Day bets on the Ascot page of Coral news prior to the flat season’s big finale.
Coral’s top tip: Zhukova is a really progressive sort and, with underfoot conditions holding no fears, looks worth a bet to get the better of Seventh Heaven in a cracking renewal of the Fillies and Mares.