THIS time 12 months ago, ORDER OF ST GEORGE was sent off odds-on favourite for the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup, (1.25pm) but could only finish fourth.
Tomorrow afternoon he faces an even stronger field that include his Ascot Gold Cup conqueror Big Orange, but I will be very surprised if anything beats him.
Regular readers of this column know I have been regularly keen to oppose this horse having taken him on both at this meeting last year and at Royal Ascot in June.
I have often made the point that he is a risky betting proposition and the fact he has been beaten in half of the eight races in which he has been sent off as odds-on favourite since his 2016 Ascot Gold Cup success just highlights that.
However, the reasons to support him at 5/4 with 188BET surround the fact that he looks like getting his ideal soft conditions and has had an extra week to get over his Arc exertions.
Last year there was only a two week gap between Chantilly and this fixture, while this year the break is almost three weeks.
Big Orange doesn’t look like getting his favoured sound surface and the same can also be said for the three-year-olds Stradivarius and Desert Skyline.
I expect last year’s winner Shekhzayedroad and Irish raider Torcedor to both out run their odds of 20/1, but they all should be chasing Order Of St George’s shadow.
The QIPCO British Champions Sprint (2.00pm) looks one of the races of the day with Harry Angel many people’s idea of the banker of the meeting.
He was incredibly impressive at Haydock last time, but my niggling worry is that the three times he has been beaten have all been her at Ascot.
There is no doubt he has matured into a superstar and he didn’t run badly on any of those occasions, it’s just this track doesn’t suit him like Newmarket and Haydock.
Aidan O’Brien saddles four against him too, which means he is bound to be pressured for the lead early. For that reason, the race is best watched.
There has been plenty of money in recent weeks for Andrew Balding’s Beat The Bank in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (3.15pm).
The rapidly improving three-year-old was 10/1 for this contest immediately after bolting up at Newmarket at the end of last month, but now trades at well under half those odds.
He is without doubt a very smart colt, but is swimming in Group One waters for the first time.
QIPCO 2000 Guineas winner Churchill will be a tough nut to crack even on a softer surface than ideal, but both may struggle to beat RIBCHESTER.
Richard Fahey’s four-year-old is unbeaten in three starts at the track, handles soft ground and has already bagged three Group One’s this term.
Unlike Beat The Bank, he has the form in the book and should be hard to bet at 9/4 with 188BET.
Finally, if you haven’t got anything planned this Sunday, then why not head to Kempton Park where they welcome back jump racing for the first time this season.
There’s a cracking looking card with lots of family-friendly activities from pony rides and a petting farm, to an opportunity for your kids to have a go at being a jockey.
Order Of St George 1.25pm Ascot
Ribchester 3.15pm Ascot