Sands Of Mali caused a 28/1 surprise in last year's Champions Sprint.
The finale of the Sprint section of the British Champions Series, the betting for the Champions Sprint is hugely popular, and you can find the odds for the 2020 renewal of the Champions Sprint here a little closer to the time.
Champions Sprint Tips
With the race usually run on tacky ground, the Champions Sprint can often throw up a surprise or two, shown by Donjuan Triumphant causing a 33/1 surprise in the 2019 renewal. Our tip for the 2020 renewal will appear here closer to the time, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for all of the build up.
What is the Champions Sprint?
Run over a distance of six furlongs, the Group 1 Champions Sprint is the finale of the sprint section of the British Champions Series, with more than £600,000 in the prize pot. The race is traditionally the first race on the six-race card on British Champions Day, and regularly features a double-figure field.
What happened in the 2019 Champions Sprint?
The 2019 Champions Sprint looked wide-open, and several of the 17-strong field looked to have rock-solid claims of taking home the Group 1 prize. This was reflected in the betting, which was headed by the Martyn Meade-trained Advertise and the French raider One Master, who were 4/1 joint favourites.
The Kevin Ryan-trained and well-fancied Hello Youmzain ensured a break-neck pace to the race, which opened the door to the closers, and although Donjuan Triumphant - along with several others - met trouble inside the final furlong, he quickened really smartly inside the final furlong to cause a 33/1 surprise for Andrew Balding and King Power Racing, defeating One Master into second.
Established in 1946, the race began life as the Diadem Stakes - named after a winner of several leading races at Ascot.
The race was originally classified as a Group 3 contest when the modern grading of races began 1971, before being upgraded to Group 2 status in 1996. It was traditionally held at Ascot's late September meeting, before being switched to the newly-formed British Champions Day in October in 2011.
The move to October prompted a name change to its current guise, and the prize pot was also swelled to £250,000 for the inaugural running in the process. Since then, the race was upgraded to Group 1 status in 2015, and the prize pot now stands at over £600,000.
The race is no stranger to throwing up a surprise result - something shown by the 28/1 success for Sands Of Mali in 2018 - though several notable names have won the Champions Sprint, including Cadeaux Genereux (1988), Acclamation (2003), Deacon Blues (2011) and Muhaarar (2015). Jockey Wayne Lordan has enjoyed plenty of recent success in the race, winning back-to-back renewals with Slade Power in 2013 and Gordon Lord Byron in 2014.
Who is the most iconic winner of the Champions Sprint?
Several key names have won the race over the years, though the race has only been run under its current title since 2011.
Since the switch, the most iconic winner of the race was undoubtedly the Charles Hills-trained Muhaarar in 2015. Having shown plenty of ability as a two-year-old, finishing third in the Middle Park Stakes, Muhaarar enjoyed a scintillating three-year-old campaign, winning four Group 1 contests.
The first of those came in the inaugural running of the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, and having proved himself the best of his generation, Muhaarar promptly followed up against his elders in the July Cup at Newmarket and the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville. Connections decided to retire him at the end of his three-year-old campaign, and he rounded off a sparkling season by running out a dominant winner of this race, pulling clear inside the final furlong to win by two lengths. Muhaarar has since embarked on a career as a stallion, with his first progeny racing in 2019, and it will be worth keeping an eye on him in 2020.
Are there any trials for the Champions Sprint?
The Champions Sprint is the finale of the sprint category of the British Champion Series, and as such the route to the race is pretty established. Every so often, key contenders will improve throughout the season through more unorthodox routes, but more often than not, contenders for the Champions Sprint tend to take their chance in races such as the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Nunthorpe Stakes at York, the July Cup at Newmarket and Haydock's Sprint Cup. Meanwhile, a three-year-old contender for the race could emerge from the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
Who is the most successful jockey in the Champions Sprint?
The winning most jockey in the history of the Champions Sprint is Lester Piggott, with seven wins. Piggott's seven wins in the race came courtesy of Abergwaun (1971), Home Guard (1972), Saritamer (1974), Swingtime (1975), Absalom (1979), Moorestyle (1981) and Salieri (1983).
Who is the most successful trainer in the Champions Sprint?
The joint-winning most trainers in the history of the Champions Sprint are Walter Nightingall and Vincent O'Brien, with four wins each. Nightingall's four wins in the race came courtesy of Set Fair (1952 & 1954) and Jack and Jill (1958 & 1959), while O'Brien's four wins in the race were with Abergwaun (1971), Home Guard (1972), Saritamer (1974) and Swingtime (1975).