Horse Racing – Star colt can end glittering career on a winning note

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RACING expert Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) has been in the money recently and has taken a look at the best plays for Saturday's action from Champions Day at Ascot.

2:00 Ascot | British Champion Sprint Stakes | ITV

The British Champion Sprint Stakes kicks-off the Group 1 action and this is a wide-open renewal. A fairly big field and soft ground makes this a fascinating race and I'm backing one at a big price who I think could scrape a place.

I've rather blindly followed Dream Of Dreams (28/1 Ladbrokes) this season and I suspect he could reward place backers here. He's a huge price and on this season's form he does deserve to be that price.

However, he loves soft ground and as a strong traveller in this big field, and likely fast pace, he could run into a place once the race is over.

He is largely consistent and although he has a bit to find to win this, there are bookmakers offering four places and that appeals to me.

3:15 Ascot | Queen Elizabeth II Stakes | ITV

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is the main mile race of the season and despite lacking a real standout star miler, is a race I'm really looking forward to. The soft ground will actually play into the hands of most of these but there is one in here I feel is overpriced.

Recoletos (11/2 Betfair) is a dual Group 1 winner who stays beyond a mile and will love the ground conditions. Yet he's slightly underrated and I feel he should be challenging for favouritism.

He was below his best here in the Royal meeting, where the ground wasn't ideal, and his race was pretty much over as soon as it began. He was then second to the superb Alpha Centauri before winning a Group 1 last time, getting on top late on, and with the stiff mile on soft ground, I think he will be hard to beat.

3:50 Ascot | Champion Stakes | ITV

The Champion Stakes is the highlight of the day and this is a solid, if not spectacular renewal. Cracksman (5/6 Ladbrokes) tends to divide opinion but I am very much of the opinion he will win this.

Cracksman is a hugely talented colt and on his day I regard him as the best colt in training. He returned this season with an emphatic win in France before scraping home in the Coronation Stakes.

His attitude was questioned after that and he didn't look straightforward on his last start at Royal Ascot. He's been freshened up since then, he will relish the ground and the blinkers should focus him.

Unlike the rest of the field he has been targeted specifically for this race and I expect him to win this before heading off for stud duties.

Best Bets

2:00 Ascot – Dream Of Dreams each-way (28/1 Ladbrokes)

3:15 Ascot – Recoletos to win (11/2 Betfair)

3:50 Ascot – Cracksman to win (5/6 Ladbrokes)

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About Author

I grew up watching Hearts games with my dad and playing football at every opportunity so betting on it was the logical next step! Football coupons became a Saturday ritual and it introduced me into the world of horse racing. I started watching it on a regular basis, and after Galileo's Derby win in 2001 I was hooked. I follow both flat and national hunt racing attending the northern meetings when possible.

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