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The QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes

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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.

After the success of Deacon Blues in the inaugural 2011 running, the race went 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.

Fot the past two years. British challengers have scooped the spoils.

 

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

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

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

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Librisa Breeze blows away Sprint rivals

Trainer Dean Ivory registered his first Group One success after 10-1 shot Librisa Breeze fended off his QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes rivals.
The imposing five-year-old grey son of Mount Nelson travelled well throughout the six-furlong event under Robert Winston and found plenty for pressure in the closing stages to score by a length and a quarter from William Haggas’ Tasleet (10-1).
Aidan O’Brien’s Caravaggio (9-2) kept on well to finish a further three-quarters of a length behind in third, a neck ahead of 5-4 favourite Harry Angel.
Ivory, who has a fine record with sprinters, said: “We’ve done well to get where we are with him and you persevere and hope for a bit of luck and the luck’s come good today – it’s fantastic.
“He is a horse who has never had a clear run this year and he has grown into himself this year and is now a proper horse. He likes this nice straight track and you can keep things uncomplicated with him here. There was one stage where I thought that he wouldn’t get the gap but he got it and quickened up really nicely today.
“He is very versatile trip-wise. You can’t just say that you are going to keep a horse to six furlongs as you have to train horses for where the races are. He’s really a seven furlong horse or a miler, but I’ve had to train him for this race over six furlongs as there aren’t many races over those trips around for him unless you go abroad.
“We’ve bided our time with him and taught him to run over six furlongs and it has worked out nicely. Robert [Winston, jockey] believes in the horse as much as we do so it was great. We had this race in our sights for a long time and it’s great that it has all come together.”
Winston revealed afterwards that, if it were not for Librisa Breeze, he might have hung up his race-riding boots.
“He deserves that, he’s been a bit unlucky in running this year, bit of trouble in running, I’ve got a bit of stick over the rides I have given him, but you have to ride him like that, you have to ride him for luck,” he explained.
“This horse has more or less kept my career going, I was packing in last year, I gave my notice to Dean and it was going to be my last year riding. This horse came along and owner Tony Bloom and things have sort of blossomed since then. It’s kept the dream alive, kept me in game. You need horses like this on the big stage.”
Tasleet was finishing runner-up in a third Champions Series contest and William Haggas, his trainer, said: “I’m very proud of him. He’s been on the go all year and has run very well.”
Ryan Moore, who partnered Caravaggio, said: “He ran a good race, but the draw didn’t help.”
A neck further back in fourth was the hot favourite, Harry Angel, who was a little restless beforehand and raced quite keenly. Trainer Clive Cox said: “I don’t think that anyone has lost confidence in what he is able to do, and I think on a different day on better ground he will be back.”
  

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.

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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