The first race of the day is the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2). The race over 2m dates all the way back to 1873 and since its recent running as part of British Champions Day has seen its prize money significantly increase and its race status rise from Group 3 to Group 2.
Long Distance Cup Trends
The first trend to note is recent Irish dominance in the race. Since the race moved to Ascot in 2011 five of the last seven winners have been Irish trained. This has included two wins apiece for Dermot Weld and Aiden O’Brien who saddled last years winner Order of St George.
A variety of aged horses have won the race, however only one three-year-old has obliged in the last ten years. That was in the shape of Akmal for John Dunlop back in 2009. This goes against second Favourite Flag of Honour who looks the best Irish chance of victory.
It is important to focus on horses that have had a recent run and have had relatively busy seasons. Fourteen of the last sixteen runners have had an outing within five weeks of the race whilst twelve of the last sixteen runners had at least five runs that season. The race has been favourable for favourites and they have won seven of the last sixteen renewals with the average SP coming in at 6/1 over the last decade. Another trend is the benefit of being in stalls two to four. They have won five of the last seven runnings.
This year see’s John Gosden’s superstar STRADIVARIUS as odds-on favourite and he is rightly so. He fits the bill and will take all the beating. This could start a great day for Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori if the four-year-old can confirm favouritism in the opener.