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Angus McNae

Angus McNae - Saturday 19th October 2013

Champions Day should be cause for rejoicing, not moaning

When a top-class day of racing comes around, we should greet it with enthusiasm and convey that excitement to others because a failure to complete this simple task is effectively an abdication of responsibility.

Future Champions’ Day was not rubbish because War Command did not set the Rowley Mile alight with his Dewhurst Stakes win. In fact if you analyse what he actually achieved last Saturday on the clock he ran just as fast as he did in the Coventry Stakes at Ascot; a race in which everybody said he was electric.

Any card that contains two Group One races must be embraced and championed by everybody because if we cannot champion such days how on earth are we going to attract others to the sport?

We must never forget these big days exist not for us, not as a vehicle for our prejudices, but for everybody and to close the door to those who want to be part of such days is short-sighted.

With this in mind Saturday’s action in Berkshire is massive for our sport. Saturday is a fantastic day’s racing. Well done Qipco, well done Ascot, well done British racing.

© Racehorse Photos


Rant over folks, and time to try to make a few quid. First up for me is the Champion Stakes. I am a big fan of Cirrus Des Aigles, not least because his trainer Corine Barande-Barbe told us on Planet Turf that he was back to his best before his recent win at Longchamp. If Farhh, however, he is going to meet a formidable opponent and while I want Cirrus to win I think Farhh is the bet.

He was wildly impressive when winning the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May and the time of the race was outstanding. He is also unexposed on soft ground, which his action suggests is what he wants. That he can perform to a high standard on fast ground does him credit, but soft ground on which he won the Thirsk Hunt Cup is definitely what he wants.

My worry about him is that he may be better at a mile than at ten furlongs and as such he would have surely been a major player in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile, but Godolphin have Dawn Approach for that race. Farhh has proved that he does stay ten furlongs and whilst Cirrus will be hard to beat Farrh is surely the one to be with here at the prices.

In the Queen Elizabeth I shall be backing the horse who is unbeaten at a mile in three starts and all those wins have come on soft ground. That horse is Maxios. His trainer Johnathan Pease tried to turn him into a stayer, but when he returned to a mile last time out at Longchamp he thrashed Olympic Glory by five lengths.

He has got form at trips further than a mile, but to me he is a horse with lots of speed and he looks sure to run well. Of course Dawn Approach will be hard to beat, nobody has championed his ability more than me, but he has been in many a battle thanks to the aggressive way he is usually ridden and this may be a step too far.

Maxios is the value and do not worry if he gets worked up and a little on edge beforehand. I spoke to his jockey, Stephan Pasquier, about this and he said that this is just his nature and is something he has always done.

Farhh and Maxios are my two selections for the day, a day we should embrace and enjoy. It does not get better than this and it is all live on .


Angus's Saturday tips:

3.30 Ascot: Maxios at 9-2 with Coral

4.05 Ascot: Farhh at 7-2 with bet365



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