Betting British Champions Day at Ascot with a $75 budget
Saturday, October 19 might be a quiet day for racing in North America, but that won’t be the case across the pond. Ascot Racecourse in England is hosting British Champions Day, a Breeders’ Cup-inspired showcase of top-class racing across multiple divisions and distances.
The six-race card kicks off at 8:35 a.m. ET, so you can watch and wager on all the action while enjoying your morning coffee (or tea).
Not sure which horses to play? You could always keep it simple and bet exclusively on legendary jockey Frankie Dettori (he might well win three or four races on Saturday), but if you want to follow a slightly more scientific approach, we’ve got you covered with three spot plays on a $75 budget:
Race 1: QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes (G1)
There are 17 horses entered in this six-furlong dash over the straight course, which is labeled “heavy” after lots of rainfall. Even on a good day British sprinters aren’t very consistent, taking turns beating each other in major races. Throw in the prospect of challenging ground, and almost anything could happen.
That’s why I’ll take a shot with #2 Cape Byron. This improving five-year-old is 3-for-3 at Ascot this season and handled soft ground just fine in the October 5 Bengough Stakes (G3), cruising to victory by two lengths over the veteran group stakes performer #3 Donjuan Triumphant.
Cape Byron is getting good at the right time, fits well enough in terms of Racing Post Ratings, and has successfully negotiated longer distances in the past, suggesting he has the stamina to handle the testing conditions. He’s generally a 10-1 shot among British bookmakers, and I expect a similar price to be available in the U.S. pool.
Let’s bet Cape Byron to win and place:
- $10 to win on #2 Cape Byron
- $15 to place on #2 Cape Byron
Race 4: Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (G1)
The nature of the course—an uphill mile over bog-like “heavy” ground—figures to make the Queen Elizabeth II a test of stamina more than speed. It could also compromise runners who prefer firm footing, such as the world-traveling multiple Group 1 winner #2 Benbatl.
As a result, #3 Century Dream is the horse I want to play. He’s got the tactical speed to stay involved from the start—a benefit over ground this testing—and he’s also shown the stamina to run longer, which should come in handy over these tiring conditions. He also loves soft ground, as he demonstrated in this race last year, when he led into the final furlong before ultimately finishing just a length behind European Horse of the Year Roaring Lion.
In a wide-open race, Century Dream appears to have as good a chance as any. The fact that he hasn’t competed since an unsuccessful winter campaign in Dubai (where the turf was arguably firmer than he prefers) will make his odds attractive.
- $10 to win on #3 Century Dream
- $1 exacta: ALL with 3 ($15)
Race 5: QIPCO Champion Stakes (G1)
Racing 1 ¼ miles over soft ground should be absolutely perfect for the consistent and talented #6 Magical, who defeated #3 Coronet over similar conditions in the 2018 British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (G1) at Ascot. Just like last year, Magical is using an unplaced effort in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) as a springboard to British Champions Day. She holds an advantage in terms of Racing Post Ratings and has already shown the ability to handle quick turnarounds, so anything less than a victory for this daughter of Galileo will be a disappointment.
Let’s bet Magical on top of a straight exacta with Coronet underneath. Racing for the powerful team of trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori, Coronet is in career-best form this season and has no trouble handling soft turf. Back-to-back victories in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (G1) and Prix Jean Romanet (G1) demonstrate she has the class to excel at this level.
- $25 exacta: 6 with 3