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Ascot’s Champions Day is an event packed full of races of the highest quality, so much so that it’s hard to single out one as the best, but the pick of the bunch may just be the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, which will take place at 15:05 on Saturday afternoon.
A Group 1 run over the straight miles, this race has been won by some of the best milers of the century, including Excelebration, Rip Van Winkle and the mighty Frankel. This year, the incredibly highly rated Paddington, who looked as if he may be a potential great earlier in the season, looks to join that list of illustrious names by bouncing back following his defeat at York last time out. Can he do it?
Field for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
- 1 Field for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
- 1.1 Angel Bleu (trained by Ralph Beckett, ridden by Hector Crouch)
- 1.2 Checkandchallenge (trained by Willaim Knight, ridden by William Buick)
- 1.3 Facteur Cheval (trained by Jérôme Reynier, ridden by Mikel Barzalona)
- 1.4 Big Rock (trained by Christopher Head, ridden by Aurelien Lemaitre)
- 1.5 Chaldean (trained by Andrew Balding, ridden by Frankie Dettori)
- 1.6 Epictetus (trained by John Gosden, ridden by Keiran Shoemark)
- 1.7 Hi Royal (trained by Kevin Ryan, ridden by James Doyle)
- 1.8 Nashwa (trained John Gosden, ridden by Hollie Doyle)
- 1.9 Paddington (trained Aidan O’Brien, ridden by Ryan Moore)
- 1.10 Rogue Millennium (trained by Tom Clover, ridden by Daniel Tudhope)
- 1.11 Tahiyra (trained by Dermot Weld, ridden Chris Hayes)
- 2 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes betting odds
- 3 Our betting tips and predictions for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
11 runners are set to go down to the start for the 2023 renewal of this prestigious event. Here they are in full:
Angel Bleu (trained by Ralph Beckett, ridden by Hector Crouch)
Comes into this race off the back of winning a Group 2 at Gowran Park, but this is much harder, while his previous efforts at Group 1 level in the last year or so have left plenty to be desired. Looks past his best and would be a surprise winner.
Checkandchallenge (trained by Willaim Knight, ridden by William Buick)
Group 3 winner in France back in August of last year, but has since flattered to deceive in a variety of races from Listed to Group 1 level. Most recent effort at Longchamp was modest and on that evidence, the mount of William Buick looks set for a bit-part role here.
Facteur Cheval (trained by Jérôme Reynier, ridden by Mikel Barzalona)
Useful French raider, who comes into this contest having finished a respectable third in a Group 1 at Longchamp last time out. Finished just over a length behind Paddington in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood prior to that. Each-way chance.
Big Rock (trained by Christopher Head, ridden by Aurelien Lemaitre)
Very smart type from France. Landed a four-timer when winning a Group 3 at Chantilly back in May and has since finished second to hugely impressive Arc winner Ace Impact. Good second at Longchamp in a Group 1 last time out too. Not out of it, especially for a yard that has won this race twice before.
Chaldean (trained by Andrew Balding, ridden by Frankie Dettori)
Hugely impressive type, who won four of his five races during what was a fantastic debut season last time around. Has been used somewhat sparingly this season, winning a Group 1 at Newmarket in May. Enjoy soft ground and is entitled to be bang there under Frankie Dettori if ready to rock and roll after 104 days off.
Epictetus (trained by John Gosden, ridden by Keiran Shoemark)
Looked quite promising when winning a Listed contest first time out this season, but hasn’t progressed too much since. Won a Group 3 back in August at Goodwood, but has failed to deliver in a couple of Group 2 events since. Should find these waters too deep.
Hi Royal (trained by Kevin Ryan, ridden by James Doyle)
Finished behind Chaldean at Newmarket in May, before finishing third in a Curragh race won by Paddington, but has since moved in the wrong direction, so much so that swimming against this tide is likely to prove beyond him.
Nashwa (trained John Gosden, ridden by Hollie Doyle)
Won a Group 1 at Newmarket ijn the summer and has held his own in very, very strong races since. Beaten just half a length by the Epsom Derby winner in the Irish Champion Stakes last time out and on that form, he’s a big player.
Paddington (trained Aidan O’Brien, ridden by Ryan Moore)
The number one miler in Britain this season, no doubt about it. Would be odds-on here had he not come unstuck at York last time out, but cannot be discounted on that evidence, especially with the return to soft ground likely to suit. Still the most likely winner on the pick of his form.
Rogue Millennium (trained by Tom Clover, ridden by Daniel Tudhope)
Winner at the Royal meeting over course and distance back in June, running on strongly to snatch victory near the line in a Group 2, while she wasn’t too far behind Tahiyra in the Group 1 Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, but would likely need to improve on that form to lay down a big challenge here.
Tahiyra (trained by Dermot Weld, ridden Chris Hayes)
Wonderfully impressive filly, who won the 1,000 Irish Guineas earlier in the season, before the Group 1 Coronation Stakes over course and distance in June. Again showed how good she is when winning the Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes last time out and is well worthy of her place in this race. Probably won’t be far away.
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes betting odds
Let’s take a quick look at how the early betting stands ahead of this race:
Paddington – 2/1 (3.00)
Tahiyra – 4/1 (5.00)
Nashwa – 4/1 (5.00)
Big Rock – 7/1 (8.00)
Chaldean – 12/1 (13.00)
Facteur Cheval 14/1 (15.00)
All other runners 20/1 or bigger.
Our betting tips and predictions for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
This is a very interesting contest, that’s for sure. As mentioned above, Paddington would likely be much shorter if he didn’t have that recent blemish on his record and it is that defeat that has opened this race into more of a betting puzzle.
Our best prediction: Big Rock (each-way) @ 7/1
At the prices, I’m going to take a chance on Big Rock. This French raider is no mug, mark my words. His form against Ace Impact is not to be ignored, while he will absolutely relish the testing underfoot conditions. Bar Paddington, he’s the highest rated horse in the contest, and that’s not something to ignore, nor is his run behind Inspiral in France back in August. He’s beaten several of these before and if Paddington isn’t quite on it again, he looks a good bet to be the one to pick up the pieces.
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