Gosden backs favourite to end season in style at Ascot

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Newmarket-based trainer John Gosden is confident Jack Hobbs can live up to his favourite tag as he eyes glory in the prestigious finale of the flat racing season in the QIPCO British Champions Day.

All eyes will be on Hobbs in the standout race of the day, the 10-furlong Champions Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, in one of six races staged in the richest race day of the calender with a staggering £4.1 million up for grabs in prize money.

Goseden, who will also have Maverick Wave among the runners in the Group One race, faces competition from other local trainers including James Fanshawe with Ribbons and David Simcock’s The Corsican, but still fancies his chances of toasting a winner come the end of the race.

“He has looked freshened up in the last week and I have been pleased with him, “ said Gosden at the live reveal of the five-day entries from Tattersalls in Newmarket.

“There is a tough line up but for me the key will be the draw on a course that has fast bends.

“His best distance is over a mile and a quarter as was his father’s and so we are happy with the distance.

“We liked him a lot when we bought him and we have been delighted with how well he has worked out.

Meanwhile, Simcock, who trains out of the Trillium Place Stables in Newmarket, acknowledged Hobbs will be his main competition but had not given up hope of The Corsican springing a little surpirse.

“He is best on fast ground and so with the conditions looking good we are just looking forward to the rac,” he said.

“Jack Hobbs is the standout horse and by far way above the other horses.

“However the race is not a formality for any horse, it has been a long season for everyone and you just never know on the day.”

Elsewhere in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Roger Varian’s Belardo will be head-to-head with fellow Newmarket-based trainer Sir Michael Stoute’s Integral, while in the British Championships Sprint Stakes James Fanshawe will be hoping for a win from The Tin Man but faces competition from Marco Botti’s Naadirr.

Simcock faces a strong chance of success in the Fillies and Mare Stakes over 12 furlongs where Madame Chiang will be aiming to defend her crown up against Hugo Palmer’s highly fancied Covert Love and Fanshawe’s Speedy Boarding.

Speaking of his chances, Palmer backed his horse to challenge for victory if she can stake a challenge for the lead during the race.

“She likes to go forward so we would happy to take the lead at any stage and see what happens from there,” he said.

In the Long Distance Cup, Gosden’s Flying Officer will come up against Botti’s Suegioo and Fanshawe’s Gale Force while Gosden will also be hoping to taste success in the Balmoral Handicap race with GM Hopkins.