Champion (noun) – a person who has surpassed all rivals in a sporting contest or other competition.
These kind of horses and people are celebrated on a Saturday of October every year normally around the twentieth.
The sprinting division has been one of the openest of them all and I have had a closer look at the runners for the Champion Sprint.
The 2017 winner, Labrisa Breeze, and the 2016 winner, The Tin Man, both have live chances once again. The former hasn’t won since and has only been seen twice in Britain this season when he was ninth in the Diamond Jubilee behind The Tin Man, Projection and Sir Dancealot. He was last of eight last time out in the Hungerford behind Sir Dancealot and Dream Of Dreams. The Tin Man was fifth in this last year and was last seen winning the Sprint Cup at Haydock with Brando, Donjuan Triumphant, Sands Of Mali, Harry Angel, Speak In Colours, Tasleet and Sir Dancealot. He is a three time course and distance winner and there is no reason why he can’t go in again.
Harry Angel won the Sprint Cup and was fourth in this last season. He started this season in good style by winning the Duke Of York and has the beating of Brando and Sir Dancealot based on that. He got tangled in the stalls when last at Ascot and injured himself but still finished eleventh of twelve. He got lit up early by an outsider sitting at his shoulder last time out and lost the race then. If he can get an uncontested lead, he will be hard to beat especially as he goes on any ground and has one of the best sprint race jockeys riding on board- Adam Kirby.
Brando has been second on three of his four starts in Britain this season and they have either been in group one or two company. He is a very classy horse and deserves a big win like this but may struggle. Tasleet’s last win came in 2017 in a Group Two at York. He was second in this last year and has been seen twice since when third in Ireland and eighth in the Sprint Cup. Both of these will need to step up.
Connections have ran Limato at various different trips this season. He began by being well beaten in two group ones over a mile and was then dropped back to six furlongs and was eleventh in the July Cup. He was dropped in class for two runs after that and he won two listed races nicely. Last time out, he won his second successive Challenge Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket just one week ago. He has a good chance but I’m not convinced he has the speed to land this competitive group one which will have lots of early pace.
My three each way fancies are Son Of Rest, Sands Of Mali and Projection. The former dead heated for the Ayr Gold Cup and before that was second in a group one behind Havana Grey. He will adore the conditions and may even like more rain. Projection ran a brilliant race last time out, on ground which was a lot softer than its description, to win the group three Bengough Stakes. Admittedly, it wasn’t a strong race and he only just held off Dream Of Dreams in the finish. It’s hard to know what ground he likes as he doesn’t win often and I wouldn’t be surprised if he runs to a place. Sands Of Mali was a Group Two winner at two and three, when he landed the Sandy Lane on seasonal debut. He ran an almighty race to be second in the Commonwealth Cup and he was left a bit out of his comfort zone in the July Cup and got a bit tired after leading for a long way last time out but finished a creditable fifth behind The Tin Man, Brando and Donjuan Triumphant.
Donjuan Triumphant, Dream Of Dreams and Bacchus are the likely outsiders. The former’s best run of the season was when fourth in the Lennox beaten less than a half length by Sir Dancealot. Since then, he was last of nine in the City Of York but ran a good race last time out to be fourth in the Sprint Cup. He goes well on soft and had a decent chance as he’s a Group Two winner in France. Dream Of Dreams has been second in his last three starts in group twos and threes. He was behind Projection last time out and will struggle to reverse the form. Bacchus won the Wokingham on his first start of the campaign over course and distance. He was behind Projection and Dream Of Dreams in a Group Three won by Yafta next time out and unplaced in a French Group One behind Labrisa Breeze, The Tin Man, Brando and Sands Of Mali.
Aidan O’Brien isn’t represented in this but his son Joseph has a runner in the form of Speak In Colours. A course and distance winner when trained in England, he has since been behind Sands Of Mali in the Commonwealth Cup and won a Group Three on his penultimate start. Behind The Tin Man last time out, he lacks the class.
Gerald Mosse gets on really well with Sir Dancealot and the pairing have won three group races this season. Ninth in September behind The Tin Man, he should go well despite this bit doesn’t have a great record at this track.
2.Sands Of Mali
3.Son Of Rest