Champions Sprint Stakes Preview – Saturday 20th October
Last updated: October 18, 2018 by Leon Marshal
The 2.00 race at Ascot on Saturday is the £600,000 Group 1 British Champions Sprint Stakes over six furlongs. The race was formerly run as the Group 2 Diadem Stakes but was renamed and elevated to Group 1 level in 2015. Notable previous winners of this valuable sprint include Moorestyle (1981), Never So Bold (1984), Cadeaux Genereux (1988), Elnadim (1997) and Slade Power (2013). Last year the race was won by Librisa Breeze for Dean Ivory and Robert Winston, beating Tasleet and Caravaggio.
The Tin Man and Librisa Breeze seek second race victory
The winners of the last two runnings are both in action on Saturday with Librisa Breeze joined by 2016 winner The Tin Man. There has not been an established star on the sprinting scene this year and Librisa Breeze has been racing over slightly further. The grey has shown all his best form in soft ground and this will the first time that he has raced on his favoured surface for a year. He faded tamely to finish last of eight behind Sir Dancealot in the seven furlong Hungerford Stakes at Newbury.
Jockey Oisin Murphy can do no wrong this year and made the most of his opportunity when taking over the reins on The Tin Man at Haydock last month. He replaced regular rider Tom Queally and drove the son of Equiano out to beat Brando by half a length. He had Donjuan Triumphant (fourth), Harry Angel (sixth), Speak In Colours (seventh), Tasleet (eighth) and Sir Dancealot (ninth) behind him that day.
Of those, the run of Donjuan Triumphant was the most eye-catching. Andrew Balding’s five-year-old is at his best when the mud is flying, as he showed when winning a valuable handicap at Haydock in September last year. He was only eighth in this race last year but any further rain would help his prospects. Tasleet was runner-up 12 months’ ago and will wear blinkers for the first time as he attempts to go one better.
Harry Angel bids to bounce back
Harry Angel had been expected to dominate the top sprints this season but things have not gone his way. After a satisfactory return to action at York in May he completely missed the break at Royal Ascot when favourite for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Clive Cox’s colt was well backed to make amends at Haydock but again proved restless in the stalls before fading to finish sixth.
Jamie Spencer rides Brando for Kevin Ryan, a six-year-old gelding by Pivotal. He has finished runner-up in the July Cup and the Haydock Sprint Cup this season. He goes on any surface and is entitled to finish in the money again this weekend. Projection got the better of Dream Of Dreams by a neck at Ascot last time in the Group 3 Bengough Stakes. There were only four runners that day and this looks a much tougher assignment.
Son Of Rest dead-heated for the Ayr Gold Cup off a rating of 101 last time. He was undoubtedly well treated on the evidence of his previous run behind Havana Grey at the Curragh. He won’t mind the ground while Joseph O’Brien’s Speak In Colours was not disgraced at Haydock last time. Limato was a comfortable winner of the Challenge Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket last week. He remains a high class performer at the age of seven but has never raced on ground this soft.
Champions Sprint Stakes Betting Tips
The Tin Man @11-4 BetVictor
Donjuan Triumphant @25-1
Each-way 1/5 odds, 1,2,3,4
The Champions Sprint Stakes is due off at 2.00 at Ascot on Saturday 20th October and will be televised live on ITV.