Champion Stakes 2013 Preview

The Champion Stakes is the feature race on an all-star card at Ascot on Saturday. The meeting comes at the end of a long hard season for many of the competitors and soft going looks like making the race a thorough test.

The Favourite

French raider Cirrus des Aigles will be running in the race for the third successive year. He produced a 12-1 shock in 2011 before chasing home the great Frankel last year. That run left him as the highest rated flat horse in training after Frankel’s retirement but the seven-year-old struggled in the early part of the season.cirrusdesaigles

It has been a different story for his last two races and he was particularly impressive when winning at Longchamp on Arc weekend recently.

He is reported to be in top shape and will handle the soft ground so it is not surprising to find him as short as 11-10 with Bet365. Jockey Christophe Soumillon continues his successful association with the horse.

The Challengers

The pick of his rivals looks to be Godolphin’s Farhh who also had a good view of Frankel’s backside for much of last season. He came out and put up a career-best performance to win the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May but has not raced since. He is equally effective over a mile to a mile and a quarter and his chances depend on his fitness after such a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Mukhadram forced Al Kazeem to pull out all the stops over a mile and a half here at the Royal meeting and was again beaten by that horse in the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes. He was made to work harder than expected to win at York next time and may have been feeling the effects of two hard races.

Epsom Derby winner Ruler Of The World has not won since and the form of the race has worked out particularly badly. He was well beaten in the Irish Derby and in the Arc and now drops back to a mile and a quarter. Sir Michael Stoute’s Hillstar has been the subject of some glowing gallops reports recently but needs to find several lengths if he is to be competitive here.

The Outsiders

This race rarely produces a shock result but the best of the outsiders could be Triple Threat. Andre Fabre’s colt was not beaten far in the Prix Niel on Arc trials day and could reach a place on his best form. Fellow French raider Morandi also has place claims on his second in the French Derby behind Arc third Intello. He chased home the same horse in the Prix d’Orange last month and has the assistance of Christophe Lemaire in the saddle.

Hunter’s Light, Parish Hall and Main Sequence make up the ten-runner field for this Group 1 prize.

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