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Champions Day tips: Four big-priced bets for Ascot on Saturday

By Harry Allwood (Racing TV)
Harry Allwood has a quartet of fancies chalked up at double-figure odds on QIPCO British Champions Day, live on Racing TV this Saturday.
If the racing at Ascot on Saturday doesn’t excite you, then I am afraid you are in the wrong sport. We have six brilliant races to look forward to on QIPCO British Champions Day, all of which will be shown live on Racing TV, with an abundance of star names in action.
The going at Ascot is currently Good to Soft, Soft (in places) – the latest Going Stick readings were 6.8 (straight) and 6.5 (round) on Thursday morning – and further rain is forecast, so conditions may ease further ahead of racing.
My colleague, Andy Stephens, has identified some interesting Champions Day trends which are certainly worth taking note of if you are having a bet at Ascot on Saturday. Andy has also shared his tips plus outsiders to consider for every race, and both pieces can be viewed here:
Below are four contenders chalked up at double-figure odds who look capable of going close on Saturday, including two in the Balmoral Handicap. Best of luck, and please remember to gamble responsibly.
Race: 15H00 SA Time – Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.
General odds: 25-1.
Garrus (IRE)(69)
Jim Crowley | Charles Hills
Ascot 15H00 SA Time
The six-year-old finished a length behind Highfield Princess when third in the Prix Maurice de Gheest last time out, and the form has received several boosts, with the winner successful in two Group Ones since, and the runner-up, Minzaal, bolted up in the Sprint Cup on his next start. Rohaan, who finished fourth and reopposes here, has also won since.
Garrus was an authoritative winner of a Group Three at Deauville prior to that, and his past two outings have been with cut in the ground, which appears to suit him. He was also not beaten far when a never-nearer fifth over this course and distance on soft ground in last year’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
His record following a 50-plus day break reads 12114, so the fact he has been absent since August is not a concern, and Jim Crowley has a 27 per cent strike-rate when teaming up with Charlie Hills this year.
There are plenty you can make a case for towards the top of the market, but Garrus produced arguably a career best when last seen, and a repeat of that effort will certainly see him outrun his odds.
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Race: 15H40 SA Time – Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.
General odds: 18-1.
Lilac Road (IRE)(34)
Cieren Fallon | William Haggas
15H40 SA Time Ascot
This year’s Middleton winner was a shade unlucky not to record her first Group One success when second in the Prix Vermeille in September, and she appeared to relish the give underfoot there having raced on good/good to firm ground this year.
Her previous effort, when fifth behind Alpinista in the Yorkshire Oaks, probably deserves to be marked up, too, as she was unsuited by the way the race developed and had previously finished an eye-catching third in the Nassau Stakes having met trouble in running.
The daughter of Mastercraftsman certainly seems to be improving and is likely to have more to offer over this trip. She was also ridden prominently last time out and I expect similar tactics to be deployed again here from her draw in stall three.
Her stablemate, Sea La Rosa, is half the odds of Lilac Road, but I would have them much closer in the betting than that, especially as the selection has some strong form next to her name.
William Haggas continues to operate at a strike-rate of over 20 per cent and the selection holds decent each-way claims.
Race: 17H40 SA Time – Balmoral Handicap
General odds: 10-1.
Tom Marquand | William Haggas
17H40 SA Time Ascot
Despite showing signs of greenness, this filly was a cosy winner on her handicap debut last season and has taken a big step forward this year having landed a Group Three at Epsom on Derby day.
Connections suggested afterwards that cut in the ground is important to her, so she probably hasn’t been seen to best effect on her past two starts in Group company on good to firm, and conditions will be ideal for her on Saturday.
This race represents a drop in grade and while she is 12lb above her last winning mark, I believe she has the potential to outclass her rivals here, with the majority of the contenders being exposed handicappers.
There’s a strong chance she has more to offer given she still didn’t look the finished article earlier this season, and this will be just her ninth start.
Tom Marquand, who has guided Bashkirova to success twice, is a positive jockey booking and it will be disappointing if his mount cannot go close.
Race: 17H40 SA Time – Balmoral Handicap
General odds: 14-1.
Symbolize (IRE)(14)
Callum Hutchinson | Andrew Balding
17H40 SA Time Ascot
Symbolize finished second in the Balmoral Handicap last year
Symbolize found only the well-handicapped Aldaary too good in this race 12 months ago and bids to go one better off the same rating on Saturday.
Admittedly, Andrew Balding’s charge has been a shade disappointing this season, but he’s had excuses on numerous occasions, including when racing on the wrong part of the track in the Challenge Cup last time out.
He has gone close on a couple of outings this season, though, which suggests he is in form, despite some of his efforts suggesting otherwise, and I suspect connections have had one eye on this race for a while now.

Callum Hutchinson takes off a useful 5lb and if first-time cheekpieces help Symbolize show his best, then expect him to be involved in the finish with the ground in his favour.