One trainer, one jockey, one horse and one race to watch on Saturday
Champion trainer John Gosden has two short-priced favourites and other fancied runners for the six races on £2.5 million Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot.
Supreme stayer Stradivarius, seventh in this month's Arc, will be a warm order to win back his Long Distance Cup (1.20) crown, while the unbeaten Palace Pier could go off even shorter in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (3.05).
Gosden is also set to saddle five other contenders at Ascot - Mehdaayih and Frankly Darling (Fillies & Mares), Nazeef (QEII) and Lord North and Mishriff (Champion Stakes) - as he seeks to add to his total of eight Champions Day victories.
It is a matter of when, not if, Hollie Doyle rides her first Group 1 winner and the top jockey has three chances at Ascot to join Hayley Turner and Alex Greaves as the only women to have won at the highest level in Britain.
Doyle partners Glen Shiel in the Sprint (1.55), Dame Malliot in the Fillies & Mares (2.30) and Extra Elusive in the Champion Stakes (3.40) - and she has also been booked to ride Trueshan in the Long Distance Cup (1.20) and Solid Stone in the Balmoral Handicap (4.15).
The best chance of Group 1 success for Doyle, who this week bettered her own record for the most winners by a female rider in a calendar year in Britain, appears to come in the Fillies & Mares on Dame Malliot, on whom she won the Group 2 Princess Of Wales's Tattersalls Stakes in July.
The mile division has been crying out for a star and the unbeaten Palace Pier has shone brightly this season with a brace of Group 1 wins in the St James's Palace and Prix Jacques le Marois.
The three-year-old colt, a slow burner at the start of the year who headed for a handicap at Newcastle rather than the 2,000 Guineas, bids to extend his perfect record to six in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (3.05).
His task has been made easier by the absence of Guineas hero Kameko and the rain-soaked ground should hold no fears as he handled the heavy ground at Deauville with aplomb last time.
The Champion Stakes (3.40), a historic race that used to be held at Newmarket, has become the established centrepiece of British Champions Day since its inception in 2011 and this year's renewal certainly lives up to the billing.
Last year's winner Magical will attempt to become the first horse to win three times on Champions Day - having also won the Fillies & Mares two years ago - and the seven-time Group 1 winner is set to go off favourite after beating Ghaiyyath in last month's Irish Champion Stakes.
Aidan O'Brien also saddles Japan and Derby winner Serpentine against a strong home team headed by John Gosden-trained pair Mishriff and Lord North, while last year's runner-up Addeybb and French raider Skalleti are sure to relish the testing conditions.
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