We have a real firecracker of a card to look forward to this coming Saturday with Ascot racecourse laying on its annual celebration of all things flat with the 2019 edition of British Champions Day. All bases are covered on the six-race card, from the fabulous fillies to the iron-lunged stayers, but it is the sprinters who set the ball rolling in this opening marathon contest.
There are plenty of runners in with chances here, including three previous winners of the race. Whilst that trio can’t be dismissed out of hand, we are expecting another brand new champion and a first ever win in this race for Roger Varian.
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.
Six furlongs is the trip for this Group 1 contest set to be run on heavy ground this year and offering nearly £600k in total prize money.
|Going||Distance||Class||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Heavy||6f||Group 1||£583,130||17||1/5 1-3|
British Champions Sprint Stakes Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from the last running of the race. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
It goes without saying that the sprinters involved in this test all pack plenty of speed. It is the key requirement over six furlongs but horses will find it near impossible to find their top gear given just how muddy Ascot’s straight track will be. The predicted heavy going will have a massive impact on how the race pans out, benefitting sprinters who may have a little less speed but a little more endurance and determination.
ADVERTISE FACING FRESH CHALLENGE
Market leader Advertise has raced and won at Ascot before on good to soft ground but never has he been in action with the ground any softer. Conditions experienced during his Commonwealth Cup win in June will be significantly different to what the colt faces this Saturday and it’s hard to know how he’ll shape up. With Frankie Dettori in the saddle the three year old is in good hands but at a 5/1 price, his going inexperience makes him a real gamble. You also have to consider the similarly priced Make A Challenge a risk given that the gelding has never taken part in a race higher than Listed standard before.
YOUMZAIN OFFERS LIMITED APPEAL
Beaten by Advertise in the Commonwealth Cup, Hello Youmzain (5/1) returned to winning ways when winning the Sprint Cup Stakes at Haydock on soft ground. With him making it two wins from two on such going, you would think he’d make strong claims here but we aren’t so convinced. At Haydock the three year old only edged out former Champion Sprint Stakes winner the The Tin Man by half a length. That’s after the seven year old made an awful stumbling start too. Even softer conditions this Saturday will only suit James Fanshawe’s horse more too so from the pair he’s the better value selection.
CAPE SET TO FLY TO VICTORY
He finished second from last in the July Cup but otherwise Cape Byron’s form this season makes for great reading coming into this race. The Shamardal gelding, priced at 10/1 here, got off the mark with two very competitive handicap wins at Ascot, beating a combined 50 runners. He then managed a creditable placed finish during the City of York Stakes before making it a hat-trick of victories at Ascot, scoring a muddy renewal of the Bengough Stakes. Although this contest is a decent step up from that, Cape Byron was in absolute command that day despite a particularly awkward start.
Final Verdict: Cape Byron To Win
On faster ground we would be tipping Advertise for the win but the conditions expected for Ascot’s straight course means Cape Byron is our selection. A keen favourite of the course, he is also a proven performer on softer ground and has been going from strength to strength this season.
British Champions Sprint Stakes Winners
Open to all runners aged three and older, it is the older runners who have just edged things over the past 10 years, with six wins compared to four for the three year olds.
The market does tend to be a fairly useful guide for this race with five of our last 10 champions stemming from the top three in the betting. We have had our fair share of longer-odds winners though with four names since 2009 returning a double digit SP.
|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|
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 2019.
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 28/1 long shots.