Horse Racing

Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes – complete field, odds, and top betting tips

We’ve reached the climax of the British flat season, which means that it’s time for Champions Day at Ascot Racecourse. The first of four Group 1 races on Saturday afternoon will be the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes, which is a fast and furious race that pits together all the top sprinters from Britain and Ireland.

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Photo by Icon Sport.

The Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes has been won by some outstanding horses in recent times, such as Slade Power, Gordon Lord Byron and Creative Force. This year, the field is jam-packed with sheer sprinting quality, including last year’s winner Kinross, who will bid to do something that no other horse has done in this race, which is defend his title. Can he do it under Ascot’s main man Frankie Dettori?

Field for the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes

15 horses are set to go to post for the 2023 renewal of this contest. Below is each and every runner that will battle it out over Ascot’s straight six furlongs:

Art Power (trained by Tim Easterby, ridden by David Allan)

Group 2 winner, who impressed at the Curragh back in May, before going on to win at that venue again in July, again at Group 2 level. Has since come unstuck at the top level, though. Needs to pull out a career-best effort.

Kinross (trained by Ralph Beckett, ridden by Frankie Dettori)

Superstar sprinter, who loves a softer surface. Won over seven furlongs and both York and Goodwood earlier in the season, before running very well indeed in the prestigious and ultra competitive Qatar Prix de la Foret. Will take some beating if repeating that level of form over a furlong less here. Won this race last year.

Rohaan (trained by David Evans, ridden by Ryan Moore)

Five-times course and distance winner, who looks as well as ever when winning a 16-runner handicap at this venue two weeks ago. Has won at Group 3 level before, while he was only a length behind Highfield Princess in a French Group 1 last season. Booking of Ryan Moore is eye-catching. Cannot be discounted.

Run To Freedom (trained by Henry Candy, ridden by Trevor Whelan)

Multiple Listed winner, who ran very well behind Shaquille over this trip at Newmarket in July, but is usually seen to best effect on faster ground, while he’s struggled to match a few of these on more than one occasion in the past. Looks held on all available form.

Saint Lawrence (trained by Archie Watson, ridden by Hollie Doyle)

One win and one place from two wins over course and distance, the five-year-old showed a strong turn of foot to win the 27-runner Wokingham Stakes at the Royal meeting, while he also ran very well on soft ground at Group 1 level in France after that. Below par at Haydock but could bounce back. Potential each-way player.

Spycatcher (trained by Karl Burke, ridden by Clifford Lee)

Very consistent five-year-old. Won a Group 3 over this trip in France back in July, before finishing a very close second in a Group 1 last time out. Wasn’t seen to best effect in a Doncaster seven-furlong race last time out, but has conditions to suit here and will enjoy the drop back in trip. Not easy to dismiss.

Mill Stream (trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam, ridden by William Buick)

Listed winner in France, who improved to land a Group 3 at Deauville in August, winning in impressive fashion. Sixth of 16 at Haydock last time out, but that was on good ground. Should appreciate the softer surface here and remains lightly raced. Booking of Buick is interesting.

Makarova (trained by Ed Walker, ridden by Paul Mulrennan)

Progressive handicapper last season, who rose through the weights to eventually finish second in a Listed contest over six furlongs at Newmarket. Returned this season with a string of respectable efforts at that level, before winning over five furlongs at Ayr. Fourth of 16 in a Group 1 at York since, while she was also sixth of 18 in the top sprint at Longchamp on Arc de Triomphe weekend. Each-way shout.

Sandrine (trained by Andrew Baldwin, ridden by Oisin Murphy)

This useful filly has won at Ascot before, winning a Group 3 contest on just her second start back in 2021. Twice a winner at Group 2 level since, including when winning over seven furlongs at Doncaster on soft ground last time out. Finished behind Kinross prior to that and probably isn’t best suited by this step down in trip.

Sense Of Duty (Trained by William Haggas, ridden by Tom Marquand)

Unexposed filly, who looked very good when landing a hat-trick of wins by easily winning a Group 3 at Newcastle in June of last year. Returned from a 455-day break to finish a respectable third at Newbury last month and is entitled to come forward for that run. Comes from a top yard and could have a say, despite being somewhat chucked in at the deep end.

Vadream (trained by Charlie Fellows, ridden by Keiran Shoemark)

This mare is no stranger to running in big fields over sprint trips and she has mixed it with the best on occasion, but has generally struggled at this level in recent times and looks held unless pulling out quite a bit more.

Believing (trained by George Boughey, ridden by Daniel Tudhope)

Listed winner at Chelmsford back in April, and also won at Listed level in August, when landing an 11-runner race at Pontefract. Ran much better than mammoth odds suggested she would when finishing a close-up third in a Group 1 at Haydock last time out. Remains lightly raced and cannot be fully discounted.

Magical Sunset (trained by Rossa Ryan, ridden by Dominic French Davis)

Unexposed type who has two wins from three goes at six furlongs. Showed a good burst of speed to win at Goodwood in August, but that was over seven furlongs. Drop back to six furlongs doesn’t appear to be an obvious positive. An unlikely winner in all honesty.

Ocean Quest (trained by Jessica Harrington, ridden by Shane Foley)

Irish raider who loves the mud, so the ground and forecast conditions will be right up her street. Won a Group 3 at Naas in fine style on testing ground back in August, but this is much harder, so she’d have to pull out a career best to get seriously involved at the business end.

Swingalong (trained by Karl Burke, ridden by Sam James)

Group 2 winner, whose most recent success came at Group 3 level over this trip at York back in July. Doesn’t mind soft ground and ran well to finish fourth of 16 in a Group 1 last time out. Potential each-way chance.

Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes betting odds

Ahead of this top-drawer dash, here’s how the early betting shapes up:

Kinross – 13/8 (2.62)

Vadream – 13/2 (7.50)

Sandrine – 17/2 (9.50)

Mill Stream – 17/2 (9.50)

Rohaan – 10/1 (11.00)

Spycatcher – 12/1 (13.00)

Sense Of Duty – 16/1 (15.00)

Believing – 18/1 (19.00)

All other runners 20/1 and above. 

Our betting tips and predictions for the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes

Kinross is the standout candidate in here, that’s quite obvious, but where’s the fun in backing a 13/8 shot ahead of a top race of this nature? I’m going to take the favourite on and I’m going to do so by throwing two each-way darts at this. Here goes.

Our best prediction: Spycatcher (each-way) @ 12/1 (13.00)

This horse has run some very good races at Ascot before, while we know he loves soft ground, so for my money, he might just be on the large side at odds of 12/1. His run in the Group 1 Arc Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville back in August stands out to me. Had that race been over half a furlong less, I think he would’ve won and certainly relished the very soft ground, which after the rain this week, bodes well. He also finished in front of several of these on that occasion and is likely to be not far away here with a repeat.

Our each-way prediction: Sense Of Duty (each-way) @ 16/1 (17.00)

Another horse that I cannot resist having a few pounds on is Sense Of Duty. William Haggas certainly has thrown his unexposed filly in at the deep end here, but before she had that 455-day absence, she looked very useful indeed, going easily clear in a Group 3 at Newcastle. The way in which she kept on over five furlongs when reappearing at Newbury towards the end of last month was encouraging too, and I really wouldn’t be surprised if she takes a sizable step forward on similar ground here now tackling six furlongs again.

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