Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien had ante-post backers tied in knots in the build up to the declarations for tomorrow’s Champions Day, with a number of his horses entered in multiple races.
The magician finally revealed his plans on Thursday night, with Minding heading to the QEII and Seventh Heaven confirmed to run in the Fillies & Mares, but it’s FOUND in the Champion Stakes (3.45pm) that catches my eye.
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup heroine wasn’t even Ballydoyle’s first string for the Irish Champions Stakes at Leopardstown, but she ran a cracker to finish a close second behind Almanzor.
The daughter of Galileo then built on that effort when leading home an O’Brien 1-2-3 to land the Group One Qatar Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly.
That form is obviously strong; the only concern is that it was only two weeks ago.
The main danger is Almanzor, who is quite rightly a warm favourite having beaten Found on her own patch last month. However, the 6/4 is too short and I’d rather back Found at 5/2 with Betway.
Dermot Weld’s Fascinating Rock won this race a year ago, but this looks a hotter contest.
Elsewhere, JOURNEY was only just reeled in late by Simple Verse in last season’s Fillies & Mares Stakes (2.35pm) and looks value at 13/2 with Betway to go one better 12 months on.
She arrived at Ascot last year on the back of a busy campaign and lines up on Saturday with just three runs under her belt.
Dual Group One winner Seventh Heaven heads the market at 2/1 and looks the most likely winner, but at the prices I’ll take a chance on Journey.
Journey e/w 2.55pm Ascot
Found e/w 3.45pm Ascot