All eyes on Ascot

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Horse-racing

The end of the Flat season is upon us and for the eighth time it is marked by the majestic British Champions Day at Ascot – a gathering of the thoroughbred stars of the season to scrap for megabucks prizes and Group One races.

Tasleet 10/1 in Champions Sprint Stakes – Ascot 2.00

The William Haggas-trained Tasleet was second in this race a year ago, chasing home Librisa Breeze, and they join Ascot expert The Tin Man, Harry Angel and Limato in headlining the cast now.

The Tin Man will be hard to topple on his Sprint Cup form from Haydock last month, where he had Tasleet behind, but the prices reflect that and on just his third start this year the selection might have more to offer.

Tasleet finished second in three Group Ones last season and was a decisive Group Two scorer at York over this trip on soft ground. He’s closely matched with the market principles on his best stuff and looks worth chancing for a place (or better) over a C&D that suits – and with new headgear applied.

Lah Ti Dar 5/4 in Fillies & Mares Stakes – Ascot 2.40

John Gosden’s filly lost her unbeaten record in the St Leger last month but her gutsy second behind Kew Gardens ensured she lost little else in defeat.

Lah Ti Dar put daylight between herself and the remainder of the Doncaster field and must hold strong claims of grabbing her first Group One win here.

The drop in distance is no issue and, having won on good to soft before, there’s sound reason to believe she’ll handle the ground conditions and get the job done under Frankie Dettori’s steer.

Recoletos 11/2 in QEII – Ascot 3.15

Roaring Lion will have all eyes on him in the QEII, with John Gosden’s outstanding three-year-old going in pursuit of a Group One four-timer since he was third in the Derby behind Masar.

All of those big-race wins have come over a mile and a quarter and, having won the Irish Champion Stakes last month, connections made no secret of their desire to run in the equivalent race here.

The rain spoiled that plan, leaving Roaring Lion to drop back to a mile, a trip over which he was well beaten in the 2000 Guineas in May, and now on ground softer than he has met before.

French miler Recoletos will be ideally suited to both the trip and the ground and is also bidding for a third Group One win of the season.

Having disappointed in the Queen Anne here in June on good to firm, Olivier Peslier’s mount gets a chance for Ascot redemption, with everything in his favour, and can deny Oisin Murphy and Roaring Lion.

Capri 6/1 in Qipco Champion Stakes – Ascot 3.50

Cracksman won the Champion Stakes last season in stylish fashion, coming well clear of the field, but the son of Frankel hasn’t been himself this term and is opposable on his first start since the Royal meeting here in June.

He gets the ground he wants and has first-time blinkers to help him on what will be his final race, but he’d odds-on and facing a rival in Capri that has beaten him before (2017 Irish Derby).

Aidan O’Brien’s contender also beat Crystal Ocean when landing the St Leger last season and, while that rival is much-respected now, Ryan Moore and Capri might just have the last say on soft going in what may turn into a battle.

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