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Fanshawe could be singing the Blues…or will he be Rocking instead?!

10 Oct 2011

James Fanshawe hopes to run two strongly fancied contenders in the second race on QIPCO British Champions Day, the £250,000 QIPCO British Champions Sprint, in which French ace Moonlight Cloud is the likely favourite.

Society Rock in the winner’s enclosure with trainer James Fanshawe and jockey Pat Cosgrave after the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot over the same course and distance as Saturday’s big sprint.  Image courtesy of

James Fanshawe hopes to be double-handed in the £250,000 QIPCO British Champions Sprint over six furlongs, race two on the most valuable day in British racing history at Ascot on Saturday.

The Newmarket handler has Deacon Blues, impressive winner of his last four races, and Society Rock, winner of the big sprint at Royal Ascot in June, in the race amongst the18 horses confirmed at today’s five-day stage.  The final field will be known on Thursday morning.

Leading the way amongst the Fanshawe duo’s opponents is the French speed merchant, Moonlight Cloud, who annihilated the opposition in the Prix Maurice De Gheest over six and a half furlongs at Deauville in August.

Freddy Head’s challenger is reported in fine shape, but will she be as good on much faster than the soft surface she encountered at Deauville?

The same question has to be asked about Deacon Blues, who has shown his best form on soft ground. 

There are no such concerns for Society Rock and nor will there be for Wizz Kid, who like Moonlight Cloud is set to make the journey from France and who undoubtedly has the class and form to make her presence felt.

Bated Breath was runner-up in both the Darley July Cup and Betfred Sprint Cup, both times going down narrowly to Dream Ahead, and he will find the likely sound surface very much to his liking.

Genki is a solid Group race performer and Medicean Man has shown his liking for Ascot on several occasions this year, while Royal Rock was a recent course and distance winner and could be a sporting outsider.

It promises to be a cracking contest and if Moonlight Cloud was to win, she would have every prospect of being crowned Europe’s champion sprinter. 

After all, she beat her rival to that title, Dream Ahead, by a wide margein at Deauville, albeit that Dream Ahead clearly did not show his true form that day.

James Fanshawe said of his pair today: “We are very lucky to be going there into the race with two horses who have both won at Ascot.

“Everyone is talking about Deacon Blues but don’t forget Society Rock – he has won two out of three at Ascot and the only time he got beat there was by Starspangledbanner in the Golden Jubilee last year.

“Deacon Blues is improving and has been very impressive in his last four races.

"He would just like a bit of ease in the ground. If the ground did come up fast, we would have to review our decision about whether he runs.

"I was at Ascot ’s last meeting and the going on the first day was beautiful, so if it is like that again we would be happy.

“The plan is for Johnny Murtagh to ride Deacon Blues and Pat Cosgrave will partner Society Rock.”

To view the full race details and entries, CLICK HERE.