There are four Group One races on the card for Champions Day at Ascot, and another with plenty of European interest at Caulfield in Australia on Saturday morning, where Aidan O’Brien’s Cliffs Of Moher, the runner-up in last year’s Derby, is one of four runners from British and Irish stables in the Caulfield Cup, a major trial for the Melbourne Cup. Anyone getting up at 6.40am UK time to back Cliffs Of Moher will find that he now races under the name of The Cliffsofmoher, since his original moniker clashed with that a colt who was already in the Australian form book. He was briefly rechristened My Cliffs Of Moher in the interim before that too was abandoned, so his performance from stall three in Saturday’s Group One could be seen as a test of the old superstition that it is bad luck to change a horse’s name. Saeed bin Suroor’s Best Solution heads the weights for the race, while Andrew Balding and Ed Dunlop are represented by Duretto and Red Verdon respectively. The “missing” horse, meanwhile, is Aidan O’Brien’s Yucatan, who had been expected to start favourite for the Caulfield Cup but was re-routed around it and straight to the Melbourne Cup after picking up a penalty to guarantee his place in the field on 6 November following a recent win in the Herbert Power Stakes. Yucatan now heads the betting for the Melbourne Cup at around 8-1 and Saturday’s race is very much one to look out for as a European challenge of unusual scale and quality prepares for Australia’s biggest race.
Redcar 1.45 Elieden 2.15 Absolute Dream 2.45 Icario 3.20 Fox Leicester 3.50 The Groove 4.20 Slipstream 4.55 Montana Dawn 5.25 Dutch Coed
Haydock 2.00 Dancing Rave 2.30 Welcoming (nb) 3.05 Mobsta 3.35 Sod’s Law (nap) 4.05 Guildhall 4.40 This Girl 5.15 Lincoln Park 5.50 The Knot Is Tied
Fakenham 2.05 Collodi 2.35 Miles To Milan 3.10 Cultivator 3.40 Mon Port 4.10 Actinpieces 4.45 General Custard
Wincanton 2.20 Southfield Torr 2.55 Canyouringmeback 3.25 Lovato 3.55 Boy In A Bentley 4.30 Beau Sancy 5.05 Silver Sea
Newcastle 5.10 Falcon Cliffs 5.45 Nathless 6.15 Boston George 6.45 Counter Spirit 7.15 Chosen World 7.45 Great Colaci 8.15 Mutabaahy 8.45 Cameo Star
Tips by Greg Wood
While Saturday promises to be a day to remember, however, it also offers a sharp contrast to a fairly humdrum set of cards in Britain on Friday, when Sod’s Law (Haydock 3.35) may offer the best chance of starting the weekend with a winner. Hughie Morrison’s three-year-old is on a roll after winning his last two starts with something in hand, and the time of his latest success on soft ground at Pontefract suggests a 3lb rise in the weights will not be enough to stop him today. Welcoming (2.30) finished third in a maiden at Goodwood in August which produced five winners next time out from further down the field, while Lincoln Park (5.15) should also go close in the nursery on the same card. The Groove (3.50) has strong claims at Redcar, while Great Colaci (7.45) is one to consider on the evening card at Newcastle. He has looked a little unlucky on his last two starts and his consistency could make all the difference in today’s field.