Ascot Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Preview
Al Wukair – 13-2 SunBets ( Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes )
Saturday’s Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day looks set to prove one of the Flat highlights of the 2017 season. But with little to choose between the ante-post market leaders – Cracksman, Ulysses and Barney Boy the 1m 2f contest offers little in the way of value with those horses quoted at a double-figure price hard to fancy against the three principles. The one mile Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes however provides a cracking alternative to hot favourite Ribchester in the shape of French challenger Al Wukair.
Based on his victories in Newbury’s Lockinge Stakes, Royal Ascot’s Queen Anne Stakes and most recently Chantilly’s Prix Du Moulin it is easy to see why Richard Fahey’s stable star is a general 2-1 chance to claim his fifth Group 1 at the weekend but it is hard to forget the Iffraaj colt’s defeat in Goodwood’s Sussex Stakes during the summer at the hands of the well exposed Here Comes When and with the four-year-old’s tendency to hang in the closing stages the Godolphin-owned runner is worth taking on at a short price.
The Andrew Balding-trained Beat The Bank has proved a revelation this season, winning his last three starts at Newmarket ( twice ) and Goodwood by wide margins but whether the son of Paco Boy deserves to be as short as 4-1 for his first attempt at Group 1 company is open to question. Qipco 2000 Guineas winner Churchill reverts back to a mile following defeats over further at York and Leopardstown. Prior to those two efforts the Ballydoyle colt proved a major disappointment when only fourth over a mile in Royal Ascot’s St James’s Palace Stakes and is another worth opposing at odds of 4-1.
One horse who is sure to run a big race and is available at 13-2 with SunBets is French challenger Al Wukair from the stable of Andre Fabre. The great trainer has always rated this son of Dream Ahead very highly and was far from disappointed with the colt’s effort in finishing a close third behind Churchill in the 2000 Guineas back in May where his charge failed to get the run of the race.
Al Wukair has had a relatively light campaign unlike most of his rivals and can justify his trainer’s faith by beating some better fancied opponents to land the Group 1 contest on Saturday afternoon.