British Champion Stakes Betting Tips: Cracksman's Swansong


His father Frankel signed off his unbeaten career with British Champions Stakes victory, and now Cracksman is odds-on in the betting to do the same this Saturday at Ascot.

It is the final test of the British Flat season, and the last race for Cracksman, bidding to repeat last year's victory with one change - he's going to be wearing blinkers.

How will the race be run?

Maverick Wave is likely to set the pace, with Cracksman, Capri and Rhododendron sitting in behind, followed by Crystal Ocean and Verbal Dexterity, with Monarchs Glen bringing up the rear.

The Czech Republic raider Subway Dancer has been known to force the pace, and could upset the front-runner early doors, but is unlikely to be able to maintain Group 1 pace for long. When, these two drop back, that will be the signal that the race has begun.

All the leading contenders have won over further than 1m2f, but Capri has proven the strongest stayer and will be keenest to push on, likewise Crystal Ocean, who has excelled at 1m4f. If Cracksman is back to form, Frankie Dettori will press go at 2f out - the others will just have to hope they're already far enough clear.

Who are the favourites?

Last years winner Cracksman romped to a seven-length win on soft ground, and is poised to repeat that feat, with odds of no bigger than 5/6f with Bet 365. On his best form, there is no horse in this seven-runner field that can beat him, however, he may not be at his best.

Crystal Ocean, who on a line through Poet's Word has effectively beaten Cracksman this year, sits next in the British Champions Stakes betting at a top price of 11/4 with Karamba, and is official rated higher by 4lbs at 129. His concern could be the testing ground.

Then there's Capri, the 2017 St Leger winner, who is 13/2 with Bet 365 as he drops back in trip to the only distance he has won over in 2018. Trained by Aidan O'Brien, he is the only horse in the field to have actually beaten Cracksman, getting him by a neck over 1m4f in the Irish Derby last year.

Is there a trends winner?

The last odds-on favourite in the British Champion Stakes was Frankel, who won as he liked at 2/11 in 2012. In the 23 years up to his win, two odds-on chances ran, Montjeu beaten half a length by Kalanisi in 2000 at 10/11 and Indian Skimmer winning at 8/15 in 1988.

There have also been two even-money bets; Pilsudski won at 1/1 in 1997, and Halling was second to Bosra Sham the previous year. In addition, at those odds, Jack Hobbs was third in 2015.

In addition, the form of the top-rated horse on official handicap marks since 2008 reads: 1612115313 - strictly following those British Champions Sakes trends points only to Cracksman and top-rated Crystal Ocean as possible winners.

What's the best Champion Stakes bet?

Unless you're getting on a Cracksman-Crystal Ocean forecast, or Cracksman-Capri, which isn't a bad idea, Capri is a decent each-way bet at 13/2 with Bet 365. He has not performed up to scratch in two runs this autumn, but has beaten both Cracksman and Crystal Ocean over 1m4f an 1m6f.

Bookmakers are paying three places in the Champion Stakes betting, so if you have loose change, consider Capri or, lump on Cracksman to win. He is 5/6 now, but might ease out a little on Saturday, as money will come for Crystal Ocean and Capri.