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Battaash, Blue Point and Harry Angel among top sprinters entered for QIPCO British Champions Sprint

8 Aug 2018

Fascinating 42-strong entry for the £600,000 Sprint on QIPCO British Champions Day

A fascinating 42-strong entry has been received for the QIPCO British Champions Sprint, including Prix de l’Abbaye winner Battaash, who is currently the top-rated sprinter on 127 and who delivered another exhilarating performance at Glorious Goodwood.

No horse has ever covered Ascot’s six furlongs more quickly, though, than Charlie Appleby’s Blue Point when he won the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes in 2017, one of three successes from four course visits for the Godolphin-owned sprinter.

Blue Point’s most recent Ascot win came at QIPCO British Champions Series level in the King’s Stand Stakes, when he inflicted a rare defeated to Battaash over five furlongs.

Appleby said, “We’re going to drop back to five first off and head for the Nunthorpe at York but at the end of the day he held the track record over six furlongs at Ascot as well so it’s a course that he seems to bring his ‘A’ game to, whether it be five or six furlongs. For sure, depending on how he goes in the Nunthorpe, he’s going to be a horse that’ll be heading towards QIPCO British Champions Day.”

Harry Angel, another who could potentially carry the blue Godolphin silks here, has been closely matched with Blue Point in the past and was a Group 1 winner in both the July Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup in 2017. He suffered a poor start and pulled too hard when fourth to Librisa Breeze in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes, and had stalls issues again when 11th to Merchant Navy in this year’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Trainer Clive Cox said, “He obviously had a hold-up after Ascot and it’s very much day-by-day with him. The aim is for him to be ready for the Haydock Sprint Cup and we’ll see how that goes first.

“We ran him on QIPCO British Champions Day last year, even though the ground was softer than ideal for him, and a horse like him has to be entered in a race of the calibre of the QIPCO British Champions Sprint again. It’s a meeting you want to be involved at, a very special day, an occasion to savour and always a fitting finale to the season.”

The last two heroes of this race are both set to be in the line-up again. James Fanshawe’s The Tin Man built upon his 2016 victory by landing the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2017 and was a fine fourth in that same QIPCO British Champions Series race in June. Most recently, he was an eye-catching third in last Sunday’s Prix Maurice de Gheest.

Librisa Breeze, fourth in the Maurice de Gheest, made his Group 1 breakthrough for Hertfordshire trainer Dean Ivory when coming a length and a quarter clear in last year’s QIPCO British Champions Sprint.

“The race will be a major target again at the end of the season and we’ll just have a look at what we’ll do between now and then – I should think we’ll look for another race abroad,” Ivory said.

“I was very, very pleased with his run at Deauville. The ground had been watered to maintain it at good, and it just goes to show how the ground is a big thing to these horses.

“Tropics was second in Group 1s and you do start to wonder whether you’re jinxed. For Librisa Breeze to finally win us one last year was very special and it would be nice if we could get another one with him.”

Representing France is last year’s fourth City Light, who was beaten just a short head over course and distance in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes back in June.

Stephane Wattel, his trainer, said, “City Light has come out of the Diamond Jubilee really well and I’m delighted with how much he has progressed this season. The QIPCO British Champions Sprint is definitely an objective and we would really like to come back to Ascot in October. After the Prix Maurice de Gheest, his options are either the Prix de la Foret or Ascot, or both.”

Premier tickets are selling fast for the Ultimate Raceday at Ascot on Saturday 20 October – be sure to secure your spot via the Ascot website!

Full entries for the QIPCO British Champions Sprint:

Bacchus (GB), Battaash (IRE), Blue Point (IRE), Brando (GB), Cenotaph (USA), City Light (FR), Donjuan Triumphant (IRE), Dreamfield (GB), Dream of Dreams (IRE), George Bowen (IRE), Gifted Master (IRE), Harry Angel (IRE), Intelligence Cross (USA), Justanotherbottle (IRE), Librisa Breeze (GB), Limato (IRE), Projection (GB), Sir Dancealot (IRE), Spirit of Valor (USA), Tasleet (GB), The Tin Man (GB), Washington DC (IRE), Battle of Jericho (USA), Declarationofpeace (USA), Emblazoned (IRE), Eqtidaar (IRE), Fleet Review (USA), Hey Jonesy (IRE), James Garfield (IRE), Laugh A Minute (GB), Raid (IRE), Sands of Mali (FR), Sioux Nation (USA), Speak In Colours (GB), St Patrick’s Day (USA), Unfortunately (IRE), Classical Times (GB), Mabs Cross (GB), One Master (GB), Clemmie (IRE), Different League (FR), I Can Fly (GB)