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Monday 21 August 2017

If Weld's horse runs, he can be part of double for trainer

Looking ahead to the Champions Stakes at Ascot tomorrow, a lot will depend on the participation of Dermot Weld's Free Eagle but should the three-year-old be allowed to take his chance it could well be the day where all the talking about him is justified.

Connections will tell you that he wasn't quite right when running against Australia last year as a two-year-old and a frustrating start to this campaign meant he was absent until September and while Cirrus Des Aigles sets a fairly high benchmark, if Free Eagle is the horse that so many people have said he is, he should be able to account for the French raider. He will also be slightly fresher and that will be a big help as well.

relishing

Indeed, Lady Cecil's Noble Mission will be one of the few that will really be relishing the testing conditions and although Cirrus Des Aigles will also handle it, Noble Mission is picked to finish in front on him.

The first three years of British Champions Day proved to be a lucky hunting ground for Irish-trained horses and hopefully that will continue tomorrow afternoon.

Indeed, the three previous winners of the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day were all Irish trained and that trend looks set to continue tomorrow with a strong Irish challenge in the two miler.

Leading Light heads the way and is a worthy favourite but Dermot Weld's Forgotten Rules is a hopeful choice.

The horse really impressed by winning a Punchestown bumper on his first start and followed that up on the Flat at Galway and almost made it into the reckoning for a tilt at the Melbourne Cup, so connections don't lack in faith and, hopefully, he'll prove that.

The QIPCO Sprint has also been a nice race for the Irish and 2012 winner Maarek is back but Eddie Lynam's Viztoria proved that she was back to something of her best at the Curragh last week and after finishing third behind stable companion Slade Power here 12 months ago she might get due compensation this time around.

Unravelling the QEII is a daunting task and it's not that easy to figure out which will go through the testing conditions best but Michael Stoute's Integral is a real likeable filly who has won on soft ground before and may be able to put up to the colts and geldings on this occasion.

Integral won the Falmouth Stakes earlier in the season at Ascot over the course and distance on soft ground and if putting her best foot forward she should go very close at around about 6/1.

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