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The QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes

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The Tin Man and Tom Queally (dark blue cap) winning The Qipco British Champions Sprints Stakes
Ascot 15.10.16
Pic Dan Abraham-racingfotos.com

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History

This six furlong (1,200 metres) contest provides the grand finale to the QIPCO British Champions Series Sprint category, to be run as a Group 1 for the first time in 2015 and with prize money of £600,000.

Run for the first time in 2011 (it may have taken over from the Group 2 Diadem Stakes, previously run at Ascot’s late September meeting, but it has new conditions which has changed its profile completely), the QIPCO British Champions Series Sprint takes place over the same course and distance as the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

Since the success of Deacon Blues in the inaugural 2011 running, the race has gone the way of Ireland for the past three years. In 2014 jockey Wayne Lordan landed back-to-back victories in the race aboard Gordon Lord Byron in the contest that provides Flat racing’s speed merchants with one final chance to shine on the British stage and stake their claim to sprinting greatness.

Muhaarar added his name to the list of top-class horses in 2015, as he bowed out the undisputed sprinting champion of Europe.

In Muhaarar’s absence, who will seize the spot as the Series sprinting icon?

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

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Going/Track

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No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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The Tin Man shows mettle for Queally

Tom Queally was buzzing after steering The Tin Man to a decisive victory in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes.

The 13/2 shot scored by a length and a short-head from Growl (50/1) and Brando (14/1). Quiet Reflection (seventh), Twilight Son (eleventh) and Mecca’s Angel (twelfth) – all Series winners this year – were unable to reproduce their best.

Queally will alway be known for his association with Frankel, who won all 14 of his races – including nine British Champions Series contests.

He has endured mixed fortunes since Frankel’s triumph and this was his first Group One triumph since Frankel bowed out with his Champion Stakes triumph four years ago.

“There are loads of people involved in this horse and it is a big deal for a lot of people who aren’t really, really wealthy – I understand what that means, and know what has gone into this horse,” Queally said. “He hasn’t had the easiest preparation all season and it is great when it all comes together. It’s fantastic.

“The post-Frankel years have been difficult. But it’s like poker – if you keep going to the table, you’ve got a chance of getting a hand. I was dealt the best hand of all time a few years ago, but I know I am capable of playing a hand if I get it. I’ve had to wait a while, but I’m getting a kick out of it.”

Trainer James Fanshawe was enjoying his second victory in the race as Deacon Blues, a half-brother to The Tin Man, won it in 2011. The stable also landed the 2013 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes with Seal Of Approval.

“He’s been a very difficult horse to get right this year – in the Spring he didn’t really thrive, and while I thought I’d got him right for Royal Ascot it didn’t work out,” Fanshawe said. “Then the ground came up soft at Haydock [Sprint Cup] and so this is the first time this year we’ve had a really clear run with him, although it’s easy to say in hindsight.

“It’s been a really big team effort to get him right for today. Jacko [his wife] started the Fred Archer Syndicate – Archer built my yard. He’s a very exciting horse and on his day he’s very good, but you’ve got to get them right.”

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

British horseracing can lay claim to plenty of blue-blooded connections, but none rival those of Ascot. The Berkshire racecourse’s roots go back 300 years to Queen Anne, who recognised the potential of a stretch of heath land while out riding just a few miles from Windsor Castle.

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The royal link has endured ever since. Today, Queen Elizabeth II and members of the Royal Family attend the world-famous ‘Royal Ascot’ meeting each year, arriving in a horse drawn carriage. Royal Ascot, meanwhile, has earned iconic status as a centrepiece of the social calendar, when the world’s best thoroughbreds face fierce competition from the world’s most extravagant fashion designs.

Ascot, which underwent a £200 million redevelopment between 2004-6, also hosts the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes sponsored by QIPCO in July, the most prestigious open-age Flat race staged in Britain.

It will also host the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day in October which will be the richest raceday ever staged in Britain with over £4.2m in prize money and the climax to the QIPCO British Champions Series.  Including the five category finales on QIPCO British Champions Day, Ascot stages no less than 13 of the 35 QIPCO British Champions Series races.

What sort of horses like Ascot? Horses that like right-handed courses. And what sort of people? People who like champagne and scones, apparently. During the five-day Royal Ascot meeting in 2010, 60,000 bottles of champagne and 40,000 scones were consumed. Lobsters, meanwhile, don’t like Royal Ascot – 1,500 of them were eaten over that same period.

Getting there

Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 7JX

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