British Champions Day, Saturday 19th October – Ascot 1:35 6f QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1) (Class 1) (3yo+)
The race was first run in 1946 and was originally called the Diadem Stakes. It was named after Diadem who was described in 1918 as ‘one of the most brilliant sprinters seen in England for very many years’. During her six-year career the chestnut filly won the 1,000 Guineas, the Ling’s Stand Stakes and the July Cup, winning a total of 24 of her 39 races.
When the current race grading system was introduced in 1971 the Diadem Stakes was classified as a Group 3 race. Its status was elevated to Group 2 status in 1996. In 2011 it was given its current name when it became part of the card on British Champions Day and was finally granted Group 1 status for the 2015 renewal.
The race is open to horses aged three years old plus and nine of the last 12 winners have been three and four year olds. In fact since 1975 the 39 renewals have seen three and four year olds winning 34 times.
As is often the case in sprint races the betting is not much of a help. Only three of the last 12 winners were favourite or joint favourite at the off. In fact, last year’s winner Sands of Mali won at odds of 28/1.
As only two of the last 12 winners won on their previous start, current winning form would not appear to be crucial. However, look out for horses with a recent run, as 10 of the last 12 winners had run within 42 days of the race. A previous run at Ascot is more important, with 10 of the last 12 winners having run previously run over the course. Winning form over the race distance of 6 furlongs is another key requirement as 10 of the last 12 winners previously won at least twice over the trip.
Look for horses who have run at least four times earlier in the season, as 11 of the last 12 winners had run four times or more before the race and nine of the 12 had at least one win earlier in the campaign.
An Official Rating of 111 of higher has been required to win the race in 10 of the last 12 renewals and eight of the last 12 winners had also previously won a Group race.
Hello Youmzain has tasted Group 1 success already this season, winning the Sprint Cup Stakes at Haydock on his last start. He took on several rivals, who re-oppose again, with a front running effort, when he made all, keeping on well towards the finish to win by half a length. The three year old bay colt has won on four of his six starts and although he has yet to encounter the forecast Heavy ground, he has won in Soft going and rates good value for money.
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