The Messenger has two bets at Ascot on Champions Day and they are Crystal Ocean and Kynren.
Ascot 3.50: Crystal Ocean
Cracksman was a brilliant winner of this twelve months ago on similar ground and a repeat performance today will see him win just as easily against what I regard as a sub-standard field. However he has not looked in the same form/mood this term and Crystal Ocean is a viable alternative.
Yes Cracksman gets his favoured going today, but he has been laboured on his last two runs and that was not simply down to faster going. Blinkers are employed to try and buck his ideas up. That decision might work but he does not look like one to take a short price about.
Crystal Ocean was no match for Enable last time, but was narrowly defeated in an epic King George battle with Poets Word here and it might just be that he is better back down to 10f. He is certainly comfortable on slow ground as his smooth Sandown spring success showed. If Cracksman does not return to his best I can’t see many other alternatives to the Michael Stoute trained colt.
Ascot 4.30: Kynren
Kynren is the choice as I think he will benefit for a return to soft ground for the first time since the opening day of the turf season. On that occasion he looked a handicapper to follow when placing third in the Spring Mile at Doncaster despite being drawn on the hugely unfavoured near side of the track. Since then he has performed consistently in the big handicaps without winning including a third in the John Smiths Cup and second at the Ebor meeting at York. He has the stamina for 10f, but a strongly run mile will suit.
1pt win – Crystal Ocean – 3.50 Ascot at 11/4 with William Hill and Paddy Power
0.75pts each-way – Kynren – 4.30 Ascot at 9/1 with Paddy Power