Champion Stakes Betting Tips & Analysis – 15th October 2016

The £1.3m Champion Stakes is one of several fantastic races taking place at Ascot this Saturday. The richest 10 furlong race in the continent sees 11 runners go head to head for this renewal but it’s the rivalry between Almanzor and Found which has been dominating the headlines in the pre-race discussion.

The Champion Stakes has a long and quite glorious past stretching back to 1877 when it was originally contested at Newmarket. When the present grading system was introduced it received Group 1 status which it has held ever since and it even became part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series in 2009 and 2010.

Trends To Look Out For

Almanzor may be the bookies’ favourites but this seems to be more of a curse than a blessing for the Champion Stakes. Only two winners in the past 10 renewals have been the shortest priced name on the race card, posting a level stakes loss of 6.62. In this time we’ve also had three winners priced in double digits so a side each way is a sensible option.

Quite a few names for this renewal haven’t featured much this season and this appears to be a bad sign coming into the race. Only one winner in the past decade had fewer than four seasonal appearances before their victory here and even then the exception had at least secured a Group 1 success in their sole start.

Betting Tips

  • Main Pick – Almanzor at 6/4 with Totesport
  • Alternative Tip – Jack Hobbs at 14/1 with Ladbrokes

Found (5/2, Bet365) has suffered plenty of ‘nearly’ races this season, with five second place finishes including in last month’s Irish Champion Stakes which she finish three quarters of a length behind the victor Almanzor. The filly did however pick up her first victory since the beginning of May a fortnight ago in what was a very competitive Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Aidan O’Brien feels like she will be ready in time despite the short turnover but it wouldn’t be the first time a horse hasn’t run at their peak after a short break overseas, even a runner as consistent as Found. The Arc can be a really gruelling race and we think it might just prove too much for the great filly to double up.

With Almanzor the better rested coming into this race, having skipped the Arc trip, this may help give him the edge for a battle which looks like being settled by the finest of margins. He’s unbeaten on his last four starts, two of which have come over this distance, and Jean-Claude Rouget has been happy with his preparation for this race. Having made continuous improvements this season, he can be expected to impress once again on ground which is going to suit and help improve the record of the favourites in this race.

It’s quite hard to see anybody matching Found and Almanzor here but if anyone can do it then it looks like being Jack Hobbs. He doesn’t meet the trend of having featured at least four times this season, in fact he doesn’t come close as his only start this year saw him pulled up at Newmarket in April.

It’s certainly possible that a lack of competitive action may result him being way off the pace here but John Gosden feels that he’s not the type to come back rusty and has benefitted enormously from the break. He’s far from certain of putting in a good run but given Gosden’s words and his record last season, he’s worth taking a gamble on at very decent odds of 14/1.