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British Champion Sprint Stakes preview

It's Champions Day at Ascot with more money on the card* than the rest of the Flat season put together. One of the great races on the card is the Sprint, as previewed by Calum Swan Law, appearing courtesy of @EIBloodstock. Read more of his work on the latest edition of his blog.

*not actually true, but wouldn't be far off


British Champion Sprint Stakes
Group One, 6f, £600k
1320 local, 2320 AEDST

Aeolus- Steady sprinter who recorded a Group Three victory when beating the useful Mattmu in the Chipchase at Newcastle. Not been so good the last two however and was readily put in his place by Eastern Impact here last time. Very much an outside chance in this company.

Coulsty- Son of Kodiac, who tries today's trip for the first time since taking a weak Group Three at Deauville in August last year. That was on very soft ground and having been campaigned over seven furlongs for most of this campaign he may find things happening a stride too quickly cutting back in trip in this contest.

Danzeno- Snapped a losing streak of seven when taking a four runner conditions event at Musselburgh. This is much deeper and he looks unlikely to give Dettori a ninth Group One winner of the season.

Eastern Impact- Consistent sprinter who outran his odds of 50/1 when finishing third in the July Cup behind Muhaarar, and has won two of three since that fine effort. He won the 'trial' for this race over C+D last time and appeals as being overpriced once more. Each-way possibilities.

Emperor Max- Singapore flyer who hasn't been out of the places in 15 races in his homeland. He has finished second in his country's premier sprint, the Kris Flyer, the last two years and chased home Hong Kong superstar Aerovelocity in this year's edition. Ground conditions are an obvious concern, but on form he is right in this, the vibes in the build up seem positive and he has a multiple Group One winning jockey doing the steering. Lots to like about his profile and he looks well overpriced.

Gordon Lord Byron- Globetrotting warrior who took this contest last year and has often ran with credit this campaign. He will relish the ground conditions and gets the benefit of Pat Smullen for the first time in his long career. Almost certain to run a solid race and another with place claims.

Great Minds- Lightly raced 5yo who has struck in two Irish Listed contests this term. However he has been well beaten in his last two races, both in Group 2 company, and looks a rough chance to give Wayne Lordan a hat trick of victories in the race.

Heavens Guest- Only midfield in his latest two tries, both at handicap level means he rates as an unlikely winner here.

Jack Dexter- Finished runner-up to Slade Power in this in 2013 and third behind Gordon Lord Byron last year. However he is winless in 17 and won't be breaking that streak today.

Lancelot Du Lac- Hasn't won on turf since taking a York Handicap off a mark of 92 in 2013 and flying too high here.

Lightning Moon- Buzz sprinter last year having won a Group 3 over C+D here on only his third start, after which he was prominent in the market for this contest. He failed to take up that engagement and has only managed midfield finishes on both his starts this year. It requires a leap of faith to seeing him being involved at the business end today.

Maarek- Grand old 8yo who was a winner of this race on soft ground in 2012 and not too far behind that level of form this year. Will relish conditions and if they go too fast up front he could be finishing to best effect under Spencer.

Naadir- Two time listed winner, who finished behind Eastern Impact over C+D last time. He looked the likely winner that day and was unable to go by, but the set up of the race today may suit better and with Soumillon doing the steering he could outrun his lofty odds.

Adaay- Has won five of his ten races to date, two of which were at Group 2 level, and was chosen by Hanagan when Muhaarar hosed up in the Commonwealth Cup. Very much the second string today however and needs to bounce back from a lacklustre run in the Haydock Sprint Cup. Rates as an unlikely winner.

Muhaarar- Champion sprinter who arrives here looking for a four-timer in top level sprints. He announced himself as a potential superstar when demolishing a high quality field of 3yos in the inaugural Commonwealth Cup and has since followed up in the all-aged July Cup and Prix Maurice De Gheest. Has been given a break since his victory in France and this has been the stated target for a while. Looks to have a class edge here and should prove tough to beat.

Strath Burn- Only broke his maiden in July but went within a short head of becoming a Group One winner in the Haydock Sprint Cup. The form of that race looks suspect and he will need to find more today to be involved in the finish.

The Tin Man- Brother of 2011 winner Deacon Blues who rates as a fascinating contender, having been supplemented for the race at a cost of 40k following a facile success in a handicap here a fortnight ago. He couldn't have been more impressive that day and deserves this step up in class, yet still has 16lbs to find with Muhaarar on official ratings. He has been well found in the market and at the current prices I am willing to let him prove it today.

Twilight Son- Winner of the Group One Haydock Sprint Cup and comes here unbeaten in five lifetime starts. Trained by a master and ridden by the best jockey in the country, so has plenty going for him on paper. However I felt the Haydock race lacked depth for the grade and he will need to improve again to preserve his unbeaten record.

Gathering Power- 5yo mare who is 2/23 lifetime and carries an official rating of 99 into this race. Despite being trained by a master of sprinters she looks outclassed.

Interception- Landed a monumental punt when taking the Wokingham at the Royal Meeting, but winless since in Listed and Group Three company. Swimming too deep here.

Verdict- Muhaarar arrives here looking for his fourth top tier victory in a row and he is undoubtedly the one to beat. However at around 2/1 in a 20 runner sprint he makes minimal appeal as a betting medium. At a juicier price a chance is taken on the Singapore raider Emperor Max, who brings over top level form from his homeland. He was only bested by the world class Aerovelocity in this years Krisflyer and his OR of 114 puts him in the mix here. The ground is a concern but the price more than compensates for that and at the current prices he rates as an each way play

Recommendation- Emperor Max E/W 33/1 with Betfair Sportsbook
(beware the place terms at various books. At time of posting, there was a wide variety of terms)


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Villiers Stakes preview

The highlight of summer racing in Sydney is the Villiers Stakes. Tasked with the preview is Mitch Fenton.


Villiers StakesRandwick, G2, 1600m
1615 local time, 0515 GMT

Form link

Twitter: @weekndkngracing
Facebook: /weekendking

The most reliable guide to the Gr2 Villiers has always been the Festival Stakes.

I’m going to stick with that form line; here’s the horses who ran in the Festival, running today.

1 I'm Imposing (55.5) 20-1
2 [0.1] Estonian Princess (54) 7-1
3 [0.3] Strawberry Boy (57.5) 6-1
5 [1.7] Sir Moments (56) 11-2
6 [2.5] Multilateral (54) 60-1
7 [3.8] Scream Machine (56) 20-1
8 [4.3] Aomen (58.5) 30-1
11 [6.8] Monton (60) 16-1
12 [8.0] Keep Cool (54) 80-1

Out of all those runs in the Festival, Strawberry Boy was a clear top pick for mine.

He worked very hard out in front with his 1500m to 600m times and was 3L quicker than the average. He was entitled to drop out of the race but instead he fought on dogged…