Champions Day: Jack Hobbs looms large in Champion

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October 17th, 2015

Saturday's Champion Stakes (G1) (10:05 a.m. EDT) has been the goal of Golden Horn’s stablemate Jack Hobbs for some time. He would have been a major contender in the Arc, but Gosden and the Godolphin brain trust decided to point for Champions Day instead. The son of Halling has always been regarded as the type to improve with time, so his second-place efforts to Golden Horn in the Dante and Derby are extra meritorious. Jack took a leap forward when crushing the Irish Derby (G1), and after his summer holiday, he cruised in the September (G3) over Kempton’s Polytrack. Rivals will have to hope that he’s not as adept over this 1 ¼-mile trip. Post 12 is another potential concern, but not insurmountable.

Found rates as a danger, especially on the basis of her fine second to Golden Horn in the Irish Champion (G1) two back. The O’Brien filly never had a chance in the Arc, where she was too far back, and encountered trouble, before ending up ninth. Throw that race out. A more representative performance here could propel her to the Breeders’ Cup, with the Filly & Mare Turf (G1) mentioned as a possible objective.

Fabre has been raving about how Vadamos is a “champion” in embryo, and he’ll have the chance to vindicate his trainer’s assessment. By Monsun and from the superb family of Valixir, Val Royal, etc., Vadamos aired in the Oettingen Rennen (G2) like a Group 1 horse in the making.

The rest all have to up their game to spring the upset. The Corsican, a closing fourth to Free Eagle and The Grey Gatsby in the Prince of Wales’s (G1) over this course and distance, exits a victory in the misnamed “Arc Trial” (G3) at Newbury. Racing History has the pedigree, as a full brother to 2013 Champion hero Farhh. Indeed, trainer Saeed bin Suroor has said that Racing History reminds him of Farhh. But the once-beaten Godolphin colt is making just his fifth lifetime start, and perhaps the family resemblance could benefit from more experience.