A look ahead to British Champions Day - 25,000 crowd expected with rain forecast to stay away

All the latest odds, tips, news and analysis ahead of British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday October, 16. A crowd of 25,000 is expected in Berkshire for the feast of racing prowess.

British Champions Day is the official finale to the British Flat racing season.

Top jockeys and trainers from across Europe will be at Ascot on Saturday, October 16 to make sure the day goes off with a bang.

It is also the country's richest raceday with four Group One races on offer including the Champion Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Plus the Champion Flat Jockey will be crowned for the 2021 season.

Planet Sport takes a look ahead at the latest news and ante-post odds with less than a week to go.

Latest British Champions Day news

Never fear, Planet Sport is on hand with all you need to know ahead of what will be a stonking Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday, October 16.

The best of British racing will be showcased and there is also the none too small matter of settling an enthralling Champion Flat Jockey battle.

Ascot officials excited for the big day

The 10th running of the QIPCO Champions day has Ascot officials champing at the bit, with dry weather forecast and a big crowd expected to see the best of British and international racing.

The meeting, founded in 2011, is set to live up to its billing with the cream of thoroughbreds at a variety of distances lining up.

For the crowd of around of 25,000 to enjoy there is the added attraction of the nail-biting jockeys' title race between reigning champion Oisin Murphy and William Buick coming to a conclusion.

Nick Smith, Ascot's director of racing and communications, is in expectant mood after the final declarations were published on Thursday.

"You couldn't have asked for a lot better. The weather is pretty sound, so it will probably be the best renewal we've had since Excelebration and Frankel kind of bookended the card early on (in 2012)," he said.

The six-race card has attracted an array of stars, opening with the clash of staying giants Trueshan and Stradivarius in the Long Distance Cup. That is followed by the Champions Sprint that has been thrown wide open by the enforced absence of Starman.

Snowfall, brilliant winner of the Oaks, lights up the Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, followed by the two biggest prizes of the day.

The showdown between Palace Pier and Baaeed in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes has been eagerly anticipated, and comes before another high-octane duel between Derby hero Adayar and Juddmonte International scorer Mishriff in the Champion Stakes.

The curtain comes down with a 20-runner cavalry charge over the straight mile in the Balmoral Handicap - a race that could decide the championship.

"The final declarations are great. The stayers' race is looking like the race of the year over that trip, which is slightly unexpected after a strong Cadran but great to see," said Smith.

"The Champion Stakes and the QEII are probably joint highlights with Adayar running now against Mishriff - the King George one and two. You've got to say that now has become the outstanding clash. It's not bad to have Baaeed and Palace Pier as the appetiser, so we're really thrilled. It's going to be a great day."

Smith sees the epic battle for the Flat jockeys' championship as a fascinating bonus.

"It will probably go to the wire now. It's an intriguing added dimension, especially if it ended up going to the Balmoral. It's fascinating really," he said.

"The declarations didn't need another story, but it certainly is another thread.

"We'll have a crowd of about 25,000 with the weather looking set. It will still seem reasonably comfortable. It will be a tremendous day and a fantastic way to see the season out with a real bang."

Murphy V Buick Champion Jockey fight heating up

The build-up to Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday comes with the backdrop of a thrilling race for the Champion Jockey title between reigning champ Oisin Murphy and William Buick.

The gap between the two top jockeys stands at two victories after both scored a winner on Thursday evening at Chelmsford.

Reigning champ Murphy was successful on the Jamie Osbourne trained Notions while Will Buick struck aboard Typical Woman for Ian Williams.

The fights moves on to Haydock on Friday before the ultimate face off at Ascot on Champions Day this Saturday.

Buick has also picked up the plum ride of Adayar in the Qipco Champion Stakes on Saturday should Godolphin's star attraction take his chance after his Arc exhertions.

Murphy has a choice ride himself at Champions Day on Saturday, with the Champion Jockey race likely to go down to the wire, the Irishman partners Archie Watson's rapid Dragon Symbol in the Champion Sprint.

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (3.10 Ascot)

Champion miler Palace Pier heads up a total of 10 confirmations for Saturday's mouthwatering Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained four-year-old has only lost once in his 10-race career but that defeat did come in this race 12 months ago.

Connections blamed the testing ground on that occasion but with the weather set fair this week, better conditions are anticipated.

John Gosden said: "It was frustrating when Palace Pier had to miss the Sussex Stakes with that blood disorder but he has since won the Prix Jacques Le Marois and it was always the intention after that to wait for this race.

"He's been training well and he'll appreciate what will hopefully be nicer ground than last year. A little over a week ago it was bottomless, and while we don't expect it to dry out to good to firm, it won't be like that."

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Palace Pier is set to clash with William Haggas' hitherto unbeaten Baaeed in what promises to be a highlight on Qipco British Champions Day.

The three-year-old has come from nowhere this season and was unraced until June, but took the step up to Group One company with aplomb when winning the Prix du Moulin last time out.

Haggas said: "With the likes of Palace Pier and Alcohol Free in the field it could be the race of the day, but Baaeed's preparation has gone well and he's in good shape. He's a nice horse and he's come a long way in a short space of time."

Last year's winner The Revenant is back again for French trainer Frances-Henri Graffard.

Following a couple of defeats on unsuitably fast ground in the spring, he returned to something like his best when a fast finishing second to Real World in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein on Arc weekend.

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Andrew Balding's filly Alcohol Free is another top-class contender, to be ridden by Oisin Murphy, who in any other year would be among the favourites. She beat the boys in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and has been on a small break since failing to see out 10 furlongs in the Juddmonte International at York.

Aidan O'Brien's Mother Earth has been on the go since winning the 1000 Guineas and has been admirably consistent, most recently finishing second to Saffron Beach in the Sun Chariot.

Saeed bin Suroor has left in his stable stalwart Benbatl, who returned to winning ways last time out and he will be enthused by the forecast, while his Godolphin compatriot Charlie Appleby could run Master Of The Seas.

William Jarvis' Lady Bowthorpe was one of the most popular winners of the season in the Nassau Stakes, but she needs to bounce back having disappointed in the Prix Jean Romanet.

David O'Meara's veteran Lord Glitters and the Jessica Harrington-trained Njord - both previous winners of the Balmoral Handicap which closes the Ascot card - complete the field.

Qipco Champion Stakes (4.40 Ascot)

Last year's winner Addeybb, Derby and King George hero Adayar and the brilliant Mishriff are among 14 confirmations.

The William Haggas-trained Addeybb bagged his first Group One victory on home soil in the Champions Day feature 12 months ago, but has made just three appearances since.

The seven-year-old returned to Australia to defend both the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Randwick, having to make do with the runner-up spot in the former event but successfully defending his QEII crown.

Addeybb made a promising return from a break when splitting St Mark's Basilica and Mishriff in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in early July, but has missed multiple engagements since due to unsuitable ground conditions.

Haggas, who will be praying for as much as rain as possible ahead of his bid for back-to-back Champion Stakes triumphs this weekend, said: "We are very pleased with Addeybb's condition. We'd like rain for him, and the more the better, but it doesn't look as if we are going to get it. I'd be surprised if it was quick ground though, as it was so wet there at the last meeting, and he'll run.

Tom Marquand will be on board and told Sky Sports Racing: "It sounds like he's in great form and everyone is happy. There are no chinks in his armour, he's danced every dance and been to the other side of the world a couple of times and proved himself here in the Champion last year."

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Haggas will also have Al Aasy and the supplemented Dubai Honour, after his impressive display in the Prix Dollar at ParisLongchamp, also in the race.

Charlie Appleby confirmed over the weekend that Adayar would be left in the Champion Stakes at the confirmation stage, with a final decision on his participation to be made later in the week.

If the three-year-old does take his chance, he will be turning out just 13 days after finishing fourth in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

The marginal favourite with most bookmakers is John and Thady Gosden's Mishriff, who has been saved for this race since his dominant display in the Juddmonte International at York in August.

The Saudi Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic winner had previously finished third in the Eclipse and runner-up to Adayar in the King George.

Gosden said: "It looks like being a good race and we should get better ground than last year, when he really didn't like it. He can handle soft, but last year it became specialists' ground. Full marks to all of the winners that day, but it's hard to quicken on that stuff."

Aidan O'Brien has left in Love, Bolshoi Ballet and Snowfall, with Jim Bolger's Mac Swiney and the Noel Meade-trained Helvic Dream the other Irish contenders.

Cedric Rossi's Arc fifth Sealiway could represent France.

Euchen Glen (Jim Goldie), Lady Bowthorpe (William Jarvis) and Foxes Tales (Andrew Balding) are the other hopefuls.

Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (1.25 Ascot)

Another ding-dong battle is in store for the top British stayers Trueshan and Stradavarius with both Alan King and the Gosdens looking to the heavens before Saturday.

King's Trueshan prevailed at ParisLongchamp in the Prix du Cadran on hellishly bottomless ground but with drying conditions all week forcast at Ascot, the going could be closer to Stradivarius' preferred good ground.

Trueshan is no doubt a supreme stayer on any ground with a bit of give in it and heads the market going into Saturday.

Yet, you can never discount the true class of the Gosdens' "Strad" and Stradivarius is all the more appealing with no rain and light winds forecast as we build up to what promises to be a mighty clash of marathon runners.

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