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Watch This Space: Godolphin Sprint Star entered for epic clash in QIPCO Champions Sprint

1 Sep 2020

Prix Maurice de Gheest winner headlines entries list brimming with Group 1 talent

Space Blues

Charlie Appleby is hopeful that Space Blues might provide him with a coveted first win on QIPCO British Champions Day when he challenges for top honours over six furlongs in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes, which is the richest sprint race in Great Britain this year.

Appleby has enjoyed top level success all around the world since taking over the reins at Moulton Paddocks in 2013, but it has so far eluded him on QIPCO British Champions Day.

Outlining a scenario in which Space Blues might miss Longchamp’s Prix de la Forêt and wait for the QIPCO British Champions Sprint he said: “Pinatubo will step back up to a mile again in the Moulin and if he doesn’t happen to win and we feel he’s definitely not seeing that mile out then he will be dropping back to seven furlongs in the Forêt. Then we would have to decide if we wanted to run both him and Space Blues in the same race.

“Ascot could be a very good option for Space Blues anyway, as he won over six and a half furlongs at Deauville in the Maurice De Gheest and he handles soft ground well. The stiff six at Ascot on soft ground could just play to his strengths.”

While Battaash continues to dominate the sprint scene at the minimum distance, a clutch of rivals still have claims to top spot over six furlongs.

Commonwealth Cup winner Golden Horde is among them, and Clive Cox said: “The Champions Sprint is the target for Golden Horde, although we’ll be looking at the Haydock Sprint first.

“I’m looking forward to it because he clearly performs extremely well at Ascot. He’s always been a strong individual but I’m hoping there’s more to come.

“I do think it’s tough in the sprints against the older horses, and he’ll probably have to reverse form with Oxted for one, but that the gap closes as the year goes on and so hopefully he’ll be really competitive. He’s a really hardy horse to deal with, and for a sprinter he’s extremely well mannered.”

The Darley July Cup winner Oxted has strong claims whilst Diamond Jubilee winner Hello Youmzain is another with strong credentials. He was below form in the Darley July Cup but was back to close to his best when going down by only half a length to Space Blues at Deauville.

Dream of Dreams, beaten only a head in the Diamond Jubilee, is also a leading candidate, Sir Michael Stoute’s six-year-old having registered a career best when a seven-length winner of the Unibet Hungerford Stakes at Newbury last time.

William Haggas has once again entered One Master, who last year found only Donjuan Triumphant too good when dropping back to six furlongs following a memorable second win in the Prix de la Forêt at Longchamp over her specialist distance of seven furlongs.

Haggas said: “One Master will go to Longchamp first, but I’ve given her a Champions Sprint entry too and that’s very much on the cards as well after her good second last year.”

Aidan O’Brien has Lope Y Fernandez entered for a race which he has yet to win. The three-year-old was third to Space Blues at Deauville last time. He said: “Lope Y Fernandez could go to Haydock this weekend but he’s a strong possible for the Sprint. It’s very much on his agenda.”

Roger Varian has entered four-times Ascot winner Cape Byron. He said: “Cape Byron hasn’t run yet this year but he’s coming back to form. He’ll probably run first in the Bengough Stakes, which he won last year, and would then be a possible for the QIPCO British Champions Sprint. He didn’t like the heavy ground last year, but he handles soft ground all right.”

We should also expect to see veteran The Tin Man, who won this race in 2016 and will be making his sixth successive appearance at QIPCO British Champions Day.

Full entries for the QIPCO Champion Sprint Stakes:

A’Ali (IRE), Archer’s Dream (IRE), Aristocratic Lady (IRE), Art Power (IRE), Brando (GB), Cape Byron (GB), Chiefofchiefs (GB), Dream of Dreams (IRE), Dubai Station (GB), Forever In Dreams (IRE), Glass Slippers (GB), Glen Shiel (GB), Golden Horde (IRE), Happy Power (IRE), Hello Youmzain (FR), Judicial (IRE), Khaadem (IRE), Kurious (GB), Last Empire (GB), Lope Y Fernandez (IRE), Make A Challenge (IRE), Millisle (IRE), One Master (GB), Oxted (GB), Pinatubo (IRE), Queen Jo Jo (GB), Sonaiyla (IRE), Space Blues (IRE), Speak In Colours (GB), Starman (GB), Summerghand (IRE), Tabdeed (GB), The Tin Man (GB), Tis Marvellous (GB), Ventura Rebel (GB)