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Guest columnist

Champion Stakes: I think it's the race of the Year

By Richard Hannon

I believe Saturday's G1 Champion Stakes at Ascot will turn out to be the best race run in Britain in 2017. It's got everything, it's a fascinating race.

And Barney Roy, the colt I train for Godolphin, has a great chance of winning it. He's a fresh horse since his little break after York, where he finished 3rd in the Juddmonte International in August, and he's ready to go.

Why do I think it is the race of the season? Well, there are horses, who have won over a mile and a half now coming back in trip, and there are others in the mile category stepping up.

Added to that, you have pacemakers in there, as well. I think it will be very tactical.

There is no doubt Ulysses is our biggest danger. He has beaten us twice, in the G1 Coral-Eclipse and the G1 Juddmonte International, and as I pointed out to the media this week, we certainly won't be setting it up for him, as we have previously.

The Ulysses team could not have believed their luck, I'm sure, when our 'Barney' was locked in a battle with Churchill three furlongs out at York. That won't happen again.

Cracksman is another headline horse in what is a fitting end-of-season meeting of racing's big guns.

He did not go for the G1 Arc at Chantilly -- which was won by stablemate Enable -- and has been kept for the Champion. He's a very good horse and has a massive chance.

Barney Roy is the best horse I have in the yard, by some way. He is absolutely brilliant.

His best run to date was his victory in the G1 St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. He enjoys racing at Ascot, which I think became very obvious as he comfortably drew away from his three-year-old rivals, reversing the 2,000 Guineas form with Chruchill.

One possible cloud on the horizon for us on Saturday is the weather and the strong chance of heavy rain. 

If the ground was heavy, I'm not sure what would happen. I don't think it would be to Barney Roy's advantage taking on the older horses in that sort of going. I would discuss the matter with the Godolphin boys.

Let's just hope for decent racing ground all round.