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Seasoned Cirrus is hard to oppose

I will begin with the good news from the Budget during the week that racing is going to get a badly needed injection which will, hopefully, prove to be a huge help to get our prize money back up to where it should be.

That would help us to attract owners back to the sport and get more horses in training when it looks like it can be a viable investment.

Speaking of prize money, there is plenty of that on offer at Ascot tomorrow and I suppose it's disappointing that some of the big names aren't going to be there to line up but once you get beyond Prix de l'Arc weekend that is the risk you run.


It's always a worry at this time of year that the weather might mess it up and they've done a lot of talking about covers and that but so far they haven't come up with a solution and as regards moving the meeting... where do you move it to?

Arc weekend and the Breeders' Cup stand on their own and the Irish Champions Stakes is well established and, thankfully for us, the Irish Champions Weekend is leading the way at the moment and fair play to everyone involved because it has come up trumps.

This is the last big weekend of flat racing for the year and it would appear that Richard Hannon is going to prise away the Trainers' Championship from John Gosden, which certainly didn't look likely earlier in the season.


Looking ahead to the racing and the forecast would suggest that Dermot Weld won't be running Free Eagle in the Champion Stakes, unfortunately, and that is a real shame because it would be great to see him again.

In saying that, if he did run, Cirrus Des Aigles is a real tough nut and a big hurdle for any inexperienced horse, especially on that ground. He would be hard to oppose, although I would love to be wrong if Free Eagle does turn up.

Again, I'd love to be wrong about the Long Distance Cup as well but after a good season, and with the drop back in trip, I think Estimate could triumph ahead of Leading Light and Forgotten Rules.

Leading Light has had a tough season and had a tough race in the Irish St Leger when Brown Panther got away from him and he is not a horse that you'd be relishing riding under the British rules because he's a horse who only gives you what you can dig out of him as he has a lazy away of going.


If Forgotten Rules does go on to win this, he will be three from three and he could be the next superstar in the staying ranks that we are looking for. The one thing, however, is that he hasn't gained much experience in either of his wins at Punchestown or Galway but whatever happens tomorrow he'll come home with a lot of experience!

The sprint has been a good race for us also and Gordon Lord Byron would be my pick here. He's just such a consistent horse who can handle the muck and heavy ground and actually seems quite flexible on the ground. Maarek will hopefully run well but it would be a concern how he really blew the start of the Prix De L'Abbaye in France.

Hadaatha stayed on very well in the Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp last time out to finish third only a neck and a neck behind We Are and Ribbons and hopefully this daughter of Sea The Stars will shade the Fillies and Mares, while Charm Spirit can land the QEII.