A number of talented horses will battle it out at Ascot to win the British Champions Sprint Stakes at the end of October. The meet is one of the most lucrative of the season and provides an occasion of grandeur to end the flat campaign.
The Tin Man won the event last season and will be aiming to join an elite group of horses to win the race for a second time. However, he will face competition from a number of quality competitors at Ascot. As a result, it’s worth tracking the bay gelding’s odds at timeform.com before the meet to ensure that backing him or another member of the field is a worthwhile punt.
We’ll now look at The Tin Man’s form over the past season and the potential challengers for his crown for the race in October.
The Tin Man
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The bay gelding was not considered one of the leading contenders for the crown last season. However, after a decent start to the meet, he made strides through the pack to move into second place inside the final furlong. With Tom Queally in the saddle, the horse upped the ante inside the final 100 yards to claim the win – one length ahead of his nearest rival Growl.
After a lengthy spell out of action, The Tin Man returned to action in the Clipper Logistics Stakes at York, but put in a poor display finishing down in fifth. Upon his return to Ascot, the five-year-old rose to the occasion to deliver victory at the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
The bay gelding needed another strong finish down the stretch and he just managed to edge out Tasleet by a neck to win the crown. However, James Fanshawe’s charge followed his triumph with one of the worst displays of his career, placing well off the pace in eighth at the July Cup Stakes.
The Tin Man improved in his last outing to finish third in the Sprint Cup Stakes at Haydock Park, although he was well behind eventual winner Harry Angel. Ascot brings out the best in the bay gelding and Fanshawe will be hopeful that continues on October 21.
The bay colt poses the toughest challenge to The Tin Man at the event. The Irish horse has delivered nothing but success in his seven races to date, never failing to finish below second. His first appearance came in the Novice Stakes at Ascot last season, where he was denied a debut win by a nose by Reach High. However, he did notch his opening triumph at Newbury with a dominating performance.
Harry Angel returned to Ascot at the start of the 2017 term, but was again beaten out for the win at the racecourse. Blue Point edged him out down the stretch in the Pavilion Stakes. Clive Cox’s charge secured the second win of his career at Haydock Park, delivering a comfortable win over the rest of the field in the Sandy Lane Stakes, finished four-and-a-half lengths ahead of his nearest rival.
The bay colt was one of the leading contenders for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. However, American horse Caravaggio beat him out by a narrow margin to take the crown. Since his narrow defeat at Ascot, he has been in outstanding form, claiming back-to-back wins in the July Cup Stakes and the Sprint Cup Stakes.
In the process of those wins, he finished well ahead of The Tin Man, which will give Cox and jockey Adam Kirby that the horse can end his hoodoo at Ascot to claim the British Champions Sprint Stakes title.
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The conqueror of Harry Angel in the Commonwealth Cup will have a huge say in deciding the outcome of the British Champions Sprint Stakes. The American horse has enjoyed a sensational career, winning seven out of his nine races, including his triumph at Royal Ascot.
Aidan O’Brien’s charge began his career with a win in Dundalk and then backed up his efforts with a dominant outing in Marble Hill Stakes in Curragh. In the Grey Colt’s first appearance at Ascot, he enjoyed immediate success, claiming a third victory on the bounce to win the Coventry Stakes. He continued his run of excellence, winning the Phoenix Stakes by a comfortable margin – four lengths ahead of his nearest rival.
At Naas, at the start of the 2017 campaign, he again highlighted his superior speed over the rest of the field, delivering on his status as race favourite to claim his fifth-straight victory with ease.
Caravaggio’s first test of his ability came in the Commonwealth Cup, and although Harry Angel put him under pressure, the American horse and Ryan Moore still came out on top. However, his run of brilliance came to an end as Harry Angel avenged his defeat at Ascot in the July Cup Stakes, with the grey colt finishing in fourth. A decision to race in the Maurice De Gheest Group 1 failed to bear fruit in Deauville, with an underwhelming display.
O’Brien sent his charge back to Curragh to build form once again. Moore and the American horse got back to winning ways in the Flying Five Stakes. However, the British Champions Sprint Stakes will be a tough test.
The Battle for the Crown
The race should be an enthralling contest as all three horses that will be vying for the title have enjoyed great success, either at Ascot or over the last campaign. Harry Angel comes into the race with recent form on his side, having beaten his two rivals in the July Cup Stakes and the Sprint Cup Stakes. However, his lack of success at Ascot could weigh against him as the bay colt chases his first major crown.
Caravaggio was the horse to beat during the middle phase of the campaign. However, since the grey colt triumphed in the Commonwealth Cup his form has slumped slightly. If O’Brien can bring the best out of the American horse for the meet then it would be hard to bet against it.
The Tin Man has the experience of the race behind it and has a strong record at the racecourse. Fanshawe’s charge has not been at his best this season but could find his form of last season to rise to the occasion to join the elite company of horses to win the race twice.