We have a real firecracker of a card to look forward to at Ascot in October as they lay on their annual celebration of all things flat with the QIPCO British Champions Day. All bases are covered on the six-race card, from the fabulous fillies to the iron-lunged stayers, but the fastest of the six contests is run by the sprinters over 6f in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes.
Although the first Champions Sprint Stakes was run in 2011, this race actually dates back to 1946 when it was known as the Diadem Stakes. That first running was won by The Bug who confirmed his position as the country’s best sprinter, winning the Diadem after victories in the Wokingham Stakes, July Cup and Nunthrope Stakes that same season.
More recently some of the best sprinters in the business have had success in this race including Slade Power in 2013, Muhaarar in 2015 and The Tin Man in 2016.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 17th October 2020
- Winner: Glen Shiel
- SP: 16/1
- Trainer: Archie Watson
- Jockey: Hollie Doyle
Open to runners aged three years and older, this Group 1 event over six furlongs serves as the sprint final of the British Champions Series and this year offers £391,260 in total prize money. The ground at the track is currently described as soft.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Soft||6f||Group 1||£391,260||17 Runners||1/5 1-3|
British Champions Sprint Stakes Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Of the trainers on show this year, Andrew Balding, Aidan O’Brien and William Haggas have all claimed this pot once in the past, but the best record belongs to James Fanshawe. Successful with Deacon Blues in 2011 and The Tin Man in 2016, Fanshawe will be hoping the now eight year old, The Tin Man, can roll back the years this time around.
However, the recent stats are against The Tin Man, with each of the past 10 winners having been aged six or younger. The three years olds receive only a single pound from their elders in this event, but have held their own in winning three of the past 10 editions.
This has been the scene of the biggest shock on the card in each of the past two seasons, with Sands Of Mali prevailing at odds of 28/1 in 2018 and Donjuan Triumphant coming home in front at 33/1 12 months ago. Overall, the past 10 years have seen three winning favourites or joint favourites, resulting in supporters of the market leader breaking dead even.
|Dream Of Dreams||15/8||120||Sir Michael Stoute||Oisin Murphy|
|One Master||11/2||114||William Haggas||Pierre-Charles Boudot|
|Oxted||7/1||120||Roger Teal||Cieren Fallon|
Dream Of Dreams – 15/8
Sir Michael Stoute is no stranger to success on the big stage, but is yet to taste victory in this contest. He may never have had a better chance than he does this year, however, with his talented six year old, Dream Of Dreams.
This son of crack sprinter Dream Ahead is the joint top rated runner in this year’s field, and as such it is no surprise to see he has caught the attention of both the odds compilers and the betting public, particularly with the excellent Oisin Murphy taking the ride. Career figures of zero wins from five starts at Ascot aren’t particularly encouraging at first glance, but don’t tell anything like the full story.
Finishing second in three of those five contests, he went down by just a neck here in 2018, before losing out by only a rapidly diminishing head in the past two editions of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the Royal Meeting. Looking better than ever following a gelding operation at the tail-end of last season, he handles soft ground well. He also arrives on the back of a first career Group 1 win having landed the Sprint Cup at Haydock in really good style. Once again likely to be doing all of his best work late in the piece, perhaps this time he might just get there.
One Master – 11/2
Another must for the short list is the admirable six year old mare, One Master. From the yard of William Haggas, this one bids to go one better than when finishing runner up to shock winner, Donjuan Triumphant, in this race 12 months ago.
A real credit to connections, this daughter of Fastnet Rock arrives on the back of a history-making performance at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting. For whilst Enable couldn’t quite manage to land a third success in the big one, One Master did succeed in registering her own hat-trick in landing a third successive win in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret.
That was a smart performance too in getting up late to defy the talented duo of Earthlight and Safe Voyage and she arrives here at the top of her game. That Longchamp contest is however over a furlong further than this, and it does seem that the seven furlong trip is her optimum.
That said, she does get on particularly well with Pierre-Charles Boudot who travels over from France to take the ride, and the soft ground ought to turn this into a thorough test at the distance. Only going down by a length in the race 12 months ago, she may have finished closer still but for experiencing trouble in running and can go close once again.
Oxted – 7/1
Also in with a big shout is the horse who has gate-crashed the top tier of the sprint division this season: the Roger Teal-trained four year old, Oxted, who in Cieren Fallon has one of the most talented young riders in the business in the saddle.
Raced just the once as a juvenile, this one showed definite signs of promise in winning two of his seven starts at three. Having been well beaten in Listed and Group 3 company though, he didn’t appear to be the most obvious contender to make his presence felt against the big boys this term. He has however clearly come on a bundle over the winter, and returned with an impressive success in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket, before bettering that with a huge career best to see them all off in the July Cup back at HQ in July.
Not seen at the track since that day due to a slight setback, he is reportedly raring to go again now, and may also be open to further improvement on what will be his first start since a wind operation. That July Cup wins puts him right in the mix on this season’s form, and whilst he is unproven on soft, the progeny of his sire Mayson do tend to handle it well.
British Champions Sprint Stakes Winners
|2020||Glen Shiel||16/1||Archie Watson||Hollie Doyle|
|2019||Donjuan Triumphant||33/1||Andrew Balding||Silvestre De Sousa|
|2018||Sands of Mali||28/1||Richard Fahey||Paul Hanagan|
|2017||Librisa Breeze||10/1||Dean Ivory||Robert Winston|
|2016||The Tin Man||13/2||James Fanshawe||Tom Queally|
|2015||Muhaarar||5/2||Charles Hills||Paul Hanagan|
|2014||Gordon Lord Byron||5/1||Tommy Hogan||Wayne Lordan|
|2013||Slade Power||7/1||Edward Lynam||Wayne Lordan|
|2012||Maarek||5/1||David Peter Nagle||Jamie Spencer|
|2011||Deacon Blues||5/2||James Fanshawe||Johnny Murtagh|
About the British Champions Sprint Stakes
Sports administrators are always looking for ways to grow and win over more fans. One of the best ways of capturing people’s imagination is by creating a long running narrative and in that regard the introduction of the British Champions Series has done wonders for the flat racing season on the turf.
The Sprint Series is one of the five divisions, all of which have their final race run on British Champions Day which takes place at Ascot in October. The British Champions Sprint Stakes is the divisional final for the fastest horses in training and follows on from a run of prestigious sprints, namely the King’s Stand Stakes, Commonwealth Cup, Diamond Jubilee Stakes, July Cup, Nunthorpe Stakes and the Haydock Sprint Cup.
Many of the leading runners and riders from those big races will head to Ascot for a chance to win the British Champions Sprint Stakes. It’s not just the chance to be crowned the winner of the Sprint Series, the race provides a handsome prize of its own with over £300,000 going to winning connections in 2020.
A RICH HISTORY BEFORE 2011 CHANGES
The British Champions Series has done very good things for flat racing since being introduced but the races which make up the series, including the British Champions Sprint Stakes, had plenty of history before the Finals Day at Ascot was introduced in 2011.
Before this race adopted its current name, the British Champions Sprint Stakes was known as the Diadem Stakes. The name paid homage to Diadem, a fine mare who won many of Ascot’s most prestigious and valuable sprint races. It was fitting, then, that the race took place over six furlongs. For many racing fans that is the ideal sprint trip as it demands incredible pace to win at the Group 1 level (the level at which the British Champions Sprint Stakes has been run since 2015) but is also a long enough trip to bring tactics and a certain amount of stamina into play.
The very best sprinters have been competing in this race since it was introduced in 1946. It would likely have been held in even higher regard earlier were it not a slight victim of its scheduling though. It’s always been held in either September or October which brings in the chance of softer ground than is ideal for many horses whilst the effects of a tough season can cause some stars to miss out through injury.
Punters who like to analyse the trends in the search for a winning bet have a host of historical stats to pour through. The trends will show that younger horses have had the best of it in recent years so three and four-year-olds are rightly favoured in the betting. The advantage that younger horses have is one of the main reasons why only two horses have won the race more than once. Set Fair won in 1952 and 1954 whilst Jack And Jill became the first horse to successfully defend the race with wins in 1958 and 1959.
LONG STANDING RECORDS LIKELY TO REMAIN IN PLACE
The much revered Lester Piggott holds any number of records on the flat and it’s he who has the most wins as a jockey in the history of the British Champions Sprint Stakes. His first win came on Abergwaun in 1971 with his seventh and last coming in 1983 on Salieri. For the first four of his wins, Piggott teamed up with trainer Vincent O’Brien. He knew more than most about sprinters but was never able to break the long standing record of four wins as a trainer in this race set by Walter Nightingall who trained both two time winners, Set Fair and Jack And Jill.
Many of the biggest names currently in training have got their hands on the British Champions Sprint Stakes but no yard has been able to dominate. The unpredictability of the race is reflected in the variety of prices that the winner has gone in at in recent years which ranges from 5/2 favourites to 33/1 long shots.