Horse Racing

Qipco Champion Stakes – complete field, odds, and top betting tips

The fourth and final Group 1 contest taking place at Ascot on Champions Day will be the Qipco Champion Stakes, a race for the best horses in Britain and Ireland that run over one mile and two furlongs.

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Photo by Icon Sport.

Prestigious in nature, this race is a contest that some real big names have landed in recent times, including the likes of Twice Over, Cirrus Des Aigles, Frankel and Cracksman.

Field for the Qipco Champion Stakes

Hoping to join the illustrious list of previous Qipco Champion Stakes winners will be the likes of King Of Steel and Mostahdaf, both of whom have looked worthy of winning a prize like this when at their best. The complete field for this race is as follows:

Bay Bridge (trained by Michael Stoute, ridden by Richard Kingscote)

Won this race a year ago, beating the likes of My Prospero and Dubai Honour, but this is undoubtedly a stronger renewal, while he’s finished behind some of the chief protagonists this year. Has work to do to reverse the form with Mostahdaf.

Dubai Honour (trained by William Haggas, ridden by James Doyle)

Twice a Group 1 winner in Australia this year, where he looked as good as ever, though he has struggled to match that form on other shores and was disappointing when well beaten by Paddington at Sandown back in summer. Could only manage sixth in this race last year too. Doesn’t look an obvious player.

Mostahdaf (trained by John Gosden, ridden by Jim Crowley)

Top-of-the-range Group 1 horse, finished fourth in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic back in March, before returning to Britain to win over course and distance at the Royal meeting. Impressed when beating both Nashwa and Paddington in the Juddmonte at York last time out. Very hard to beat if in the same mood.

My Prospero (trained by William Haggas, ridden by Tom Marquand)

Hails from a top yard and comes into this contest off the back of regaining the winning thread at Goodwood last time out. However, that was only a Listed contest and this is much, much more demanding. Has something to find on all available form.

Point Lonsdale (trained by Aidan O’Brien, ridden by Ryan Moore)

Has Ryan Moore in the saddle, which is never a negative, but he’s never won at Group 1 level and has generally been found wanting when running in races of this nature. His effort in the Irish Champion Stakes last time out certainly doesn’t point towards him winning this contest.

Via Sistina (trained by George Boughey, ridden by Oisin Murphy)

Landed the Group 1 Yulong Pretty Polly Stakes over this trip at the Curragh back in July, running on strongly from off the pace, while he enjoyed the testing conditions when a close second at this level in France last time out, staying on over a mile, suggesting that this step back up in trip would be ideal. Each-way player for sure.

Horizon Dore (trained by Patrice Cottier, ridden by Mikel Barzalona)

Impressive French performer, who is well worthy of his place in this race. Remains unexposed and runs in a Group 1 for the first time here, but the way he won a Group 2 at Longchamp on softer ground last time out suggested that he was ready for it. Will need to improve again but that’s not out of the question.

King Of Steel (trained by Roger Varian, ridden by Frankie Dettori)

Very lightly raced and very highly thought of. Showed his class when emerging victorious from the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, running on powerfully to go clear in the closing stages. Was only a length behind Auguste Rodin in the Irish Champion Stakes last time out, so absolutely warrants respect here.

Royal Rhyme (trained by Karl Burke, ridden by Clifford Lee)

Another very lightly raced type, one who has hardly put a foot wrong. Won a hot handicap at Goodwood with plenty in hand back in August, before again winning nicely in a Listed contest last time out. Enjoys testing conditions and could show further improvement to get involved. Potential each-way candidate.

Qipco Champion Stakes betting odds

Here’s how the early betting looks:

Mostahdaf – 10/3 (4.33)

King Of Steel – 4/1 (5.00)

Horizon Dore – 9/2 (5.50)

Bay Bridge – 11/2 (6.50)

Via Sistina – 9/1 (10.00)

My Prospero – 14/1 (15.00)

Royal Rhyme – 14/1 (15.00)

Point Lonsdale – 20/1 (21.00)

Dubai Honour – 28/1 (29.00)

Our betting tips and predictions for the Qipco Champion Stakes

As we can see from the odds above, the betting is competitive, especially at the head of the market, though for my money, there’s a clear pick here, one who probably should be a bit shorter.

Our best prediction: Mostahdaf @ 10/3 (4.33)

As far as I’m concerned, and as the official ratings are concerned, Mostahdaf is the best horse in this race and he can confirm that. A repeat of his recent effort at York would likely see him get the job done with a little bit to spare, which could make early odds of 10/3 look somewhat generous.

Of course, that win at York did come on much better ground and it the ground that is probably the driving force behind him not being a very strong favourite here. However, he has won twice on proper soft ground before, so I’m not sure it’s an issue. Moreover, he comes here off the back of beating a horse that is arguably better than anything in here, even if Paddington is better at a mile than he is at this trip, while his form when beating the 123-rated Luxembourg over course and distance in the summer is very hard to ignore too. For me, he is the best horse in this contest and at odds of 10/3, I think it’s absolutely worth paying to find out if he can confirm that.

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