British Champions Day: 6 horses coming in hot
The British flat racing season will come to a peak with British Champions Day on Saturday at Ascot.
Five group stakes races are on the agenda, led by the prestigious, 1 1/4-mile Champion Stakes (G1). With three weeks remaining until the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland, it’s possible British Champions Day will produce key contenders for North America’s championship event.
Who are the big names to follow on British Champions Day? Let’s take a look at six horses who will bring hot form to Ascot.
Dream of Dreams
Although this speedy 6-year-old has been soundly beaten in the last two editions of the British Champions Sprint (G1), he’s elevated his game to a new level in 2020.
After he kicked off the season with a narrow, runner-up effort in the Diamond Jubilee (G1) at Royal Ascot, Dream of Dreams rattled off consecutive victories in the Hungerford (G2) and Haydock Sprint Cup (G1).
If he handles the expected soft ground at Ascot, the British Champions Sprint is his for the taking.
A gallant winner of the 2019 Champion Stakes (G1), Magical arrives at Ascot in peak form to defend her title.
The superb 5-year-old mare has won three of her four starts in Group 1 company this season. She most recently battled to an impressive victory over elite male rivals in the Irish Champion (G1) at the Curragh.
Soft ground isn’t an issue for Magical, and 1 1/4 miles is right up her alley. With Ryan Moore in the saddle for Aidan O’Brien, Magical will be tough to deny.
If anyone can upset Magical in the Champion Stakes, it’s probably Mishriff.
With the high-profile team of trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori, Mishriff travels to Ascot off three straight victories, including the important Prix du Jockey Club (G1) at Chantilly.
He has thrived over heavy ground, so the conditions at Ascot should be suitable, and he has been improving by leaps and bounds with every start.
Another step forward will make Mishriff dangerous.
Campaigned by Gosden and Dettori, Palace Pier has gone undefeated in five starts to emerge as a heavy favorite for the Queen Elizabeth II (G1).
An elite miler, the 3-year-old sensation enters off back-to-back wins in the St. James’s Palace (G1) and the Prix Jacques le Marois (G1), with the latter over heavy ground.
There are plenty of talented horses entered in the Queen Elizabeth, but Palace Pier’s raw talent and affinity for rain-soaked ground will make him difficult to defeat.
Three starts, three victories.
Starman hasn’t beaten top competition yet, but the rapidly improving 3-year-old is undefeated in three starts and comfortably conquered older rivals in the 6-furlong Garrowby S. at York last month.
Soft ground is a question mark, but if Starman enjoys the conditions, he can vie for victory against Dream of Dreams in the British Champions Sprint.
The runner-up in the 2019 Queen Elizabeth II, The Revenant has won seven of his last eight starts and belatedly kicked off his 2020 campaign with a victory in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein (G2) over heavy ground at Longchamp.
He is running back on just two weeks of rest, but the fact that he has only run once this season suggests he still has upside.