Long Distance Cup betting tips: Flag Of Honour taken to trump Stradivarius on British Champions Day

The 2018 Long Distance Cup betting tips from Horsebetting.com for the Group 2 stayers’ event on British Champions Day say Flag Of Honour is the value bet to give trainer Aidan O’Brien back-to-back winners of the 2m contest. Stradivarius sets a clear standard in these cup races this season, however, so is feared most despite the ground being against him on Saturday, 20 October. Sir Erec, meanwhile, is an intriguing and unexposed each-way alternative to consider if one of the big two in the betting fails to fire. Learn all about this championship contest for endurance Flat horses in our 2018 Long Distance Cup betting tips preview.

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Odds
9/4
Selection
Flag Of Honour
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Odds
1/1
Danger
Stradivarius
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Odds
12/1
E/W
Sir Erec
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Flag Of Honour looks the value bet for Long Distance Cup

Ballydoyle maestro Aidan O’Brien has saddled two previous winners of the Grade 2 Long Distance Cup run over 2m at Ascot on British Champions Day and is triple-handed in this year’s renewal. In Flag Of Honour, he has an ever improving stayer who comes out on top off revised ratings, so looks the value bet to land the spoils in the opening race on Saturday (13:25).

It’s true that three-year-olds don’t have the best recent record in this but, in receipt of 8lb weight-for-age from his elders, this son of Galileo comes out 4lb well-in on main market rival Stradivarius as a result of these race terms. Both colts have had had and won some tough races this season, so it may pay to side with youth and there looked to be plenty more in the tank for Flag Of Honour based on his comfortable Irish St Leger victory last time out.

Having won at Group 3 level as a juvenile, he returned to action on this ground at Longchamp when beaten half-a-length into third over an extended 10 furlongs. Flag Of Honour was then headed in the final 150 yards of the Chester Vase and a 4 1/4 lengths fifth to Young Rascal and shaped better than the bare result suggested when 10th to Study Of Man in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly.

As he was beaten only five lengths, but stayed on again, that suggested what Flag Of Honour needed was further. That proved to be the case when he landed the Group 2 Curragh Cup next time up on his first start over 1m 6f. Flag Of Honour made virtually all the running and stayed on well when pressed inside the final furlong to score by 1 1/2 lengths.

It was a clear step in the right direction, and he then showed real guts under a penalty next time up to just hold Twilight Payment by a neck when 7lb worse off at the weights in the Irish St Leger Trial. Flag Of Honour landed his Curragh hat-trick with Classic glory in the Irish Leger itself when again making all and running out a cost 2 3/4 lengths winner over Irish Derby hero Latrobe.

His three consecutive 1m 6f wins have earned him an official rating of 116 which, taking that 8lb weight-for-age into account, puts him 4lb and upwards clear of the field in this. Given the way he finished off the Irish St Leger, there’s every reason to believe the extra two furlongs in this will suit, so Flag Of Honour looks the value bet to land the spoils.

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Stradivarius respected but plenty short enough

The undoubted star of the staying division in Britain this year is John Gosden’s four-year-old Stradivarius after he landed the £1,000,000 bonus for Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Lonsdale Cup victories over the summer. As he’s won all four of his starts this term, he is feared most.

This son of Sea The Stars has won eight of his 13 career starts and became a stayer that needing keeping onside when following-up on his Queen’s Vase victory over 1m 6f here at the royal meeting last season with victory in the Goodwood Cup. Stradivarius was then beaten half-a-length into third by Capri in last year’s St Leger at Doncaster and rounded off his campaign when a length third to Order Of St George in this race.

Although sticking to the task well on a soft surface, there’s no doubt he was outpaced on the going. It’s also very telling that connections have kept Stradivarius away from any cut in the ground since, though he has nothing to fear from re-opposing duo Mount Moriah and Desert Skyline.

A ready winner of the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup back at 1m 6f during the Dante Festival on reappearance, it was all systems go for Stradivarius as he stayed on gamely and asserted close home to land the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. Having coped with the two-and-a-half miles well to beat leading French stayer Vazirabad three-quarters of a length, he then defended his Goodwood Cup crown.

It was a workmanlike display from Stradivarius at the Glorious meeting, however, and likewise when he completed the four-timer to land the big bonus at the Ebor Festival. The assessor had left him on a mark of 118 throughout the season, yet upped his rating 2lb for completing the Cup treble at York when a 1 1/2 lengths victor over Count Octave.

While his Group 1 and Group 2 form at this trip and over even further sets a clear standard, Stradivarius is no longer benefitting from the weight-for-age he received in this as a three-year-old. After a gruelling campaign, it makes him look vulnerable to an up-and-coming stayer like Flag Of Honour; so, with him needing to find 4lb on revised ratings on that one, our 2018 Long Distance Cup betting tips say Stradivarius should be taken on.

Unexposed Sir Erec an intriguing each-way alternative

Following final declarations, this renewal has cut up a bit and been re-offered. Given the testing conditions, that’s not too surprising. With only seven set to line-up, and all but one of the field being aged four or younger, O’Brien has an intriguing second string in the lightly-raced and unexposed Sir Erec.

He makes more each-way appeal at the odds on offer than Willie Mullins’ Doncaster Cup hero Thomas Hobson, who is twice the age and more of any rival here. Sir Erec is a three-year-old son of Camelot by a Galileo mare that has won two of his four starts.

Representing a yard that does really well with these types when stepping them up in trip, his comfortable four-length victory at Listed level over 1m 4f on heavy ground at Limerick last time out suggests there is plenty more to come from him over further. As Sir Erec clearly acts on the ground, that is an obvious plus.

This obviously demands much more but, in a renewal lacking any real depth outside the top two in the betting, Sir Erec’s current mark of 105 could underestimate his staying credentials – even though the assessor raised him almost a stone for that win last time out. He is therefore an each-way alternative among our 2018 Long Distance Cup betting tips to consider if punters think one or both of the market principals will fail to fire on this going.

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