Crunchsports.com's tips for Saturday's Champion Stakes at Ascot (4.10) courtesy of BettingPro.com tipster Ross Aylward...
So You Think is as short as 15/8 for Saturday's Champion Stakes at Ascot, but he can be opposed only a fortnight after finishing fourth in the Arc.
Aidan O'Brien's runner ran as well as could be expected from a poor draw in Paris and is now back over his preferred trip of 1m2f, over which he posted hugely impressive victories over last year's Derby winner Workforce in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes in the summer and last year's Oaks winner Snow Fairy in the Irish Champion Stakes last time out.
However, the Champion Stakes at Newmarket always used to be a graveyard for horses coming on from Longchamp and there's no reason to believe Ascot will be any different. O'Brien has made a reference to So You Think's iron constitution and he was having his fourth race in a month when third in last year's Melbourne Cup, but I still have my doubts and, given the quality of opposition he faces here, I'm inclined to take him on at around the 2/1 mark.
Nathaniel is next best in the betting and there's no doubting he loves Ascot, as his successes in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and in the King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes proves. Both those wins came over 1m4f, though, and connections were even considering running him in the St Leger (1m6f) at one stage, so there has to be a doubt about his effectiveness over this shorter trip, although his trainer John Gosden doesn't think it will be a problem and is more concerned over the draw: "I think it will be critical where you are drawn - if you are on the outside you will be severely compromised. It could get messy going into Swinley Bottom and it won't be smooth for the jockeys."
He wouldn't have been too pleased to see Nathaniel drawn out wide in 10 then and I will be surprised if he becomes the first King George winner to follow up in this race since Brigadier Gerard in 1972.
Having backed Henry Cecil to be the season's top trainer, I'd love to see one of his two runners win - he might need a 1-2 here, even if Frankel and Vita Nova both win earlier on the card. In Twice Over and Midday (7/1 and 8/1 respectively), he has the horses to go to war with, but I'm not convinced Twice Over will be so effective away from his beloved Newmarket, where he has won the last two renewals of this race (beaten all four times he's raced here), and Midday, as brilliant as she is, is always opposable against the colts. Furthermore, both are older than ideal with three and four-year-olds accounting for 36 of the last 40 winners.
The more I look at this race, the more I fancy an upset and the three-year-old CASAMENTO could out-run his current odds of 33/1. Last year's Racing Post Trophy winner has taken a while to come to hand this season (well beaten in the 2000 Guineas and French Derby), but ran much better when landing a Longchamp Group 3 last time and will be fresher than most, having raced only once since June. This is his toughest assignment to date but he's a proven Group 1 performer, unlike his better-fancied stablemate Dubai Prince, and there are no concerns over the likely fast ground. The booking of Richard Hughes also takes the eye and he should be able to stay handy from stall six.
Of the rest, Green Destiny could also go well at a price (20/1 currently) as he is improving at a rate of knots and may not have finished yet, although his trainer is hoping for rain as he doesn't want it too quick. The Arc third Snow Fairy, an 8/1 shot, is opposed for the same reason as So You Think and the French-trained Cirrus Des Aigles looks a bigger threat at the same price. The French have a decent record in this race, last winning it with Pride in 2006, and this ultra consistent sort could easily make the frame.