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Solow and Jack Hobbs monopolize the Ascot headlines


The prolific French-trained Solow, and Jack Hobbs - brilliant stablemate to Arc winner Golden Horn - are the two biggest names amongst a stellar collection of European racehorses who feature in Ascot's five-race simulcast programme on Saturday.  

Solow is by a big margin Europe's champion 1600m horse this season and the classy grey – who won 11 races from recent 12 starts - has had the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over Ascot's straight 1600m on his agenda for an awful long time.

Irish-trained three-year-old star Gleneagles is his chief rival in the betting for this nine-runner field and a huge threat on form but slow ground is a big problem according to both his record and trainer Aidan O'Brien's continued reluctance to race him on it.

Solow's jockey Maxime Guyon says: "Perhaps not everyone has realised it yet but Solow is a champion. He rarely looks brilliant because once he has got to the front he knows he doesn't have to run flat out to the wire."

Guyon believes Gleneagles and Territories are his main threats, news that may surprise fellow Frenchman Gerald Mosse who jets in from Hong Kong in an attempt to stretch his unbeaten partnership with Kodi Bear to three.

Kodi Bear's victories in G3 and G2 company on his last two starts were hugely impressive and slow ground is ideal, the slower the better in fact.

Jack Hobbs dominates the news stories for the G1 Champion Stakes, the other major feature on Britain's richest raceday.

His trainer John Gosden wanted a low gate but instead Jack Hobbs has been allocated stall 12 in this 2000m G1 clash with only his intended pacemaker Maverick Wave drawn higher.

However, that wide gate has made precious little difference to the anticipated short odds of Jack Hobbs who has only ever been beaten by his superstar stable companion Golden Horn.

And Andre Fabre, as dominant in the trainers' standing in France this year as Gosden is in the UK, has expressed surprise that the gate matters much in this Ascot race though the normally reserved Frenchman does give a big shout to his candidate Vadamos: "He has been working extremely well. I think the 2000m at Ascot will suit him ideally and I will be disappointed if he doesn't go close," he says.

Ryan Moore who was the 2014 LONGINES World’s Best Jockey Award and who will be doing battle against Joao Moreira and other Hong Kong stars at Sha Tin and Happy Valley on a regular basis early next year, partners the Aidan O'Brien-trained three-year-old filly Found in the Champion Stakes.

And viewers to the Arc simulcast programme a couple of weekends ago may remember how this filly had a terrible trip at Longchamp, with Ryan Moore giving her an easy time when her chance had disappeared. 

The 32-year-old three-times British champion takes over on unbeaten five-times winner Twilight Son in the G1 British Champions Sprint Stakes (1200m) which opens the programme and has another well-fancied ride on Tapestry in the G1 British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes, a 2400m spectacular packed with high class distaffers.

The show concludes with the Balmoral Handicap over the straight 1600m. Ryan Moore rides Master The World though much of the talk concerns Irish challenger Sacrificial, so unlucky over this course and distance at Royal Ascot back in June.


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