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Big Cap: Champs Elysees in focus
by Handicappers / Globeform
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Champs Elysees, arguably the best-bred horse in the Big Cap field, is an intriguing contender. He finished a good third here last year, behind Heatseeker and Go Between but consistency was not his key through the rest of the season.

The Juddmonte horse made up a lot of ground from well off the pace in last year’s Big Cap, and it was a main track debut that made many include him on their shortlist for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Indeed, via a season of some ups and down in turf races, Champs Elysees did end up in the BC Classic. But, while he produced his highest rating in the championship event, he finished only eighth. He went off at 23-1 so his run was more or less as expected.

Champs Elysees had previously gained G1 success in the rather soft Northern Dancer Stakes (G1) on turf at Woodbine in Canada, where he was third in the Canadian International (G1) four weeks later. He was beaten 5 ¼ lengths by the winner, Raven’s Pass. Champs Elysees had previously gained Gr.1 success in the rather soft Northern Dancer Stakes on turf at Woodbine in Canada, where he was third in the Gr.1 Canadian International four weeks later, and he also took the Gr.1 Hollywood Turf Cup before the year was out. Champs Elysees disappointed in his 2009 debut, as he could manage only seventh of eight behind Magnum in the San Antonio Handicap (G2) at Santa Anita in February. He needs to run a lot better than that to have a chance in the Big Cap but the son of Danehill has been rather inconsistent over the past twelve months, and it would be no surprise to see him bounce back to form.

Related to some top class milers, such as Banks Hill, Dansili and Intercontinental, he stays 1 ½ miles and his chances increase if the race gets a strong pace.

Last update: 2009-03-06 08:08:28 (First published: 2009-03-01 15:44:26 )

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