Sky Sports Racing’s Freddy Tylicki talks us through Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day.
Benbatl (Saeed bin Suroor)
Benbatl shouldn’t be underestimated altogether as he is a real fighter and he goes on any ground but the faster the ground, the better for him.
In the Joel Stakes at Newmarket, he made the running and if he gets his own way in front he could take some pegging back.
Lord Glitters (David O’Meara)
He won the Jebel Hatta and the Queen Anne in the past and has been the ultimate servant to connections but I am not sure the race will unfold to his liking as there won’t be a lot of pace.
However, he could be picking up the pieces in the very closing stages and pick up a cheque for connections.
Njord (Jessica Harrington)
He has run some decent races in decent company this season but has failed to get his head in front in his eight starts this term and there is absolutely no reason to believe that could change in this stellar field.
Palace Pier (John & Thady Gosden)
To me, he is just the ultimate miler so far and whatever is put in his way he has beaten. He was brought with a precision-timed run by Frankie (Dettori) in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville in August to beat Poetic Flare a neck and that was the fifth Group One of his career.
He lost a shoe when third to The Revenant in the race last year but that run is probably best forgotten and frighteningly for his rivals Palace Pier has shown he acts on any ground. He won the Queen Anne over course and distance in June when there was no pace whatsoever and he still annihilated that field with a totally authoritative performance.
It is probably going to be a very tactical affair with no pace as there is only Benbatl who goes out in front and I assume Patsy Cosgrave will have his own way out in front and nothing will take him on as everything else wants to be ridden from off the pace.
I am sure that it will be similar tactics as in the Queen Anne and, as we are well aware, nobody rides Ascot as well as Frankie. For me, he is the horse to beat.
The Revenant (Francis-Henri Graffard)
He obviously beat Roseman a head in the race last year and finished runner-up the year before but, if the weather reports are correct, the ground won’t be to his liking.
He looked a little unlucky in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein at Longchamp last time when just failing to catch Real World but the key to him is the ground and he has shown he is a different horse when the mud is flying.
He ploughs through the mud but he hasn’t got the same gears on quicker ground and other horses are simply quicker than him.
Baaeed (William Haggas)
We simply don’t know just how good he is and he is unbeaten in five starts but the Prix Du Moulin at Longchamp which he won a length-and-a-quarter from Order Of Australia hasn’t worked out well at all with the runner-up, third Victor Ludorum and fourth Snow Lantern all well beaten next time out.
He is obviously a nice horse in the making and William Haggas said in an interview that he was a little bit fresh there but this is his first proper real test.
I would be inclined to dismiss him in favour of Palace Pier as that horse has specifically been trained for this race and is the one they all have to beat.
Lady Bowthorpe (William Jarvis)
It was lovely to see her provide William Jarvis and Kieran Shoemark with a Group One success in the Nassau Stakes but she flopped next time out in the Prix Jean de Romanet at Deauville and simply doesn’t look quite good enough.
She was put well and truly in her place by Palace Pier in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May and there is no hiding place behind that horse here.
If she can put up a performance like that in this race I am sure that connections will be delighted.
Master Of The Seas (Charlie Appleby)
We didn’t see him for a long time and he was having his first run since May when third to Benbatl in the Joel Stakes.
That would have blown away a few cobwebs and he obviously comes right into the mix on the form he showed when beaten a short head by Poetic Flare in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
He gets three pounds from Palace Pier which he will need but the ground should be very much to his liking and he obviously comes here a relatively fresh horse.
Alcohol Free (Andrew Balding)
She didn’t stay an extended mile and quarter in the Juddmonte International at York in August but she is back to a mile which is her perfect trip and she showed just what she is capable of when scything down Poetic Flare to win the Sussex Stakes by a length and three quarters.
She is a filly who doesn’t want to be making the running but having a nice even pace and as we saw when she finished third to Snow Lantern in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket she doesn’t want to be making the running.
She had previously looked a superstar when beating Snow Lantern and Mother Earth in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and I am sure that Oisin Murphy will drop her out and come with a run. She would be a potent threat to all if she comes here at the top of her game.
Mother Earth (Aidan O’Brien)
She is an interesting filly and obviously won the 1000 Guineas in May when beating Saffron Beach a length and the Prix Rothschild at Deauville in August.
The question mark is that she was well beaten by Saffron Beach in the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket and it is a big ask for her to return to winning form in a race of this magnitude.
Freddy’s big race verdict
For me, this is the race of Qipco British Champions Day and, as good as the Champion Stakes is, this is the best race on a glittering card. I think PALACE PIER is the consummate professional and fancy that he will come out on top again.
Alcohol Free would be a threat to all at her very best and the way the race could be run I wouldn’t be surprised if Benbatl sneaked a place.