1pt win Afjaan @9/1, 0.75pts each-way Remarkable @14/1, 16:25 Ascot, Saturday

The Balmoral Handicap finishes off one of the best cards for a Champions Day since it came to Ascot. The race could have been filled twice over with 45 declared, instead only 20 take part.

GM Hopkins loves this track and has Ryan Moore booked, so you fancy him to go close enough in this following his second last year off a 1lb lower mark.

As a betting prospect, the value may have gone from his price having been double figures during the week, and it’s enough to make us look elsewhere as he gives weight all-round – although you could do worse than an each-way stake.

Firmament has one of those profiles which makes you consider whether he may now just be at his limit from a handicapping perspective. He was so unlucky to get mugged by Librisa Breeze over 7f on this track and has been raised an extra 2lbs as a result. The step up will suit and he is set to put in another terrific run.

Both selections raced in that Ascot handicap, and we really like the look of the low-mileage four-year-old AFJAAN, who you must take out of the race.

A 2lb drop is very welcome which gives him a 4lb swing with Firmament for a 1.5l defeat, and it would have been much shorter for the bottom-weight if he hadn’t been carried across the track to finish an unflattering seventh.

That wasn’t a fair showing and we may not have got to the bottom of him yet. He is a hold up horse having proved this by scoring in taking fashion on his penultimate start to win from last-to-first. But he won’t want to have to repeat that, and he should be assured a nice toe in to the race behind the pacey Instant Attraction who is drawn next door.

The extra 1f is a big plus for him and the form of that Ascot race was boosted by Intisaab last weekend. Frankie Dettori looks to have a secured a nice ride to finish off the card.

Morando and REMARKABLE look exciting three-year-olds, but on the pick of the form, you have to say the latter just shades it.

John Gosden’s second entrant finished an unlucky fifth to Ribchester in the Jersey Stakes where he ran very well when not having the smoothest of passages.

Remarkable returned a fortnight ago to run a solid race behind a couple of these horses (including our other selection) and that looks to have been a stepping stone for this.

His reappearance should have him spot-on and he was entitled to be a little rusty after a four month lay-off. But he can resume his improvement towards the bottom of the handicap and receives a further 3lb for his age.

He has a plum draw in 9 and although the 1m trip is new there is no reason he couldn’t see it out with his sire having produced milers in the past.

He looks the type to progress and is a decent outsider for a yard which is having an excellent finish to the season.

1pt win Afjaan @9/1, 16:25 Ascot, Saturday
0.75pts each-way Remarkable @14/1, 16:25 Ascot, Saturday
(Skybet paying 1/4 odds, five places)


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