There looks to be a changing of the guard among the top six-furlong sprinters and the young guns are on course to make it a red-hot renewal of the QIPCO British Champions Sprint.
The five three-year-olds to run in the Group 1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket filled the first five places with Ten Sovereigns leading home the likes of Advertise and Fairyland, all of whom have been given entries.
Advertise added Sunday’s Prix Maurice De Gheest at Deauville to his win in the Phoenix Stakes last year and Royal Ascot’s Commonwealth Cup this season. His trainer has revealed Advertise is likely to head straight to the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes without another run.
Trainer Martyn Meade said, “We were very pleased with him on Sunday. He might go straight to Ascot. He could go up to Haydock for the 32Red Sprint Cup but I think maybe that might come a bit soon for him. I don’t think you want to go to the well too many times.
“The only other alternative would be to go to Longchamp for the Prix de la Foret over seven furlongs on Arc day but the QIPCO British Champions Sprint should be what we’re aiming for. It’s certainly on the agenda.”
That could lead to a possible rematch with Ten Sovereigns. The score stands at 1-1 with Ten Sovereigns getting revenge with a devastating display in the Darley July Cup having finished only fourth behind Advertise in the Commonwealth Cup.
His trainer Aidan O’Brien said, “Ten Sovereigns is a possible for the QIPCO British Champions Sprint. He’s pencilled in to go to York for the Nunthorpe at the moment and we’ll see after that. We wouldn’t worry about five or six furlongs but we wouldn’t want to run him on bad ground. We were delighted with him in the July Cup at Newmarket.
“Fairyland is in good form. We’re looking at York for her as well at the moment. We always take it one race at a time but QIPCO British Champions Day is where we’ll be looking with a lot of them.”
Khaadem is another three-year-old heading for what looks likely to be a mouth-watering contest. He’s travelled a slightly different path into the top sprints having run away with the Unibet Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood last Saturday.
Trainer Charlie Hills reckons his new rating is likely to dictate a step up to the top level.
He said, “We’ve always liked Khaadem. He’s taken a bit of time to come to himself, mentally as well, and he’s taking his racing well now. He’s improving nicely.
“We thought he was well handicapped going into the Unibet Stewards’ Cup and three-year-olds have a good record in that race. He’s one of the highest-rated three-year-olds to have won it and he did it very well indeed. He’ll probably go up to a rating of something like 116 and that shows you where we are.
“He’ll probably go to Haydock for the 32Red Sprint Cup next and then hopefully on to Ascot for QIPCO British Champions Day. He handles most ground – he wouldn’t mind a bit of cut.
“We won that race with Muhaarar four years ago so we’re hoping Khaadem is in the same class as him.”
Khaadem’s owner Sheikh Hamdan also has Tabdeed entered. He made a winning return to action after 10 months off the track at Doncaster last weekend.
The last three winners of the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes could all return. The Tin Man, Librisa Breeze and Sands Of Mali are all on the list of possible runners.
Brando, Eqtidaar, One Master and Pretty Pollyanna complete the list of 11 Group 1 winners out of 40 top-class entries.
Full entries for the QIPCO British Champions Sprint:
Advertise (GB), Brando (GB), Cape Byron (GB), Donjuan Triumphant (IRE), Dream of Dreams (IRE), Eqtidaar (IRE), Fairyland (IRE), Far Above (IRE), Flaming Spear (IRE), Forever In Dreams (IRE), Fox Champion (IRE), Garrus (IRE), Hello Youmzain (FR), Invincible Army (IRE), Jash (IRE), Keystroke (GB), Khaadem (IRE), Librisa Breeze (GB), Mabs Cross (GB), Major Jumbo (GB), Never No More (IRE), One Master (GB), Pretty Pollyanna (GB), Sands of Mali (FR), Servalan (IRE), Shine So Bright (GB), Snazzy Jazzy (IRE), So Perfect (USA), Southern Horse (ARG), Space Blues (IRE), Speak In Colours (GB), Tabdeed (GB), Ten Sovereigns (IRE), The Tin Man (GB), Tis Marvellous (GB), Urban Beat (IRE), Verhoyen, (GB)Waldpfad (GER), Woody Creek (GB), Yale (USA)