By Racinguk.com staff
Harry Angel features among five Group One winners declared for the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
Clive Cox's speedball, the general 11-10 favourite, has already beaten his elders twice this season, in the July Cup at Newmarket and the Sprint Cup at Haydock.
His dozen opponents will be clinging to the fact that the only three defeats in his career have all been at Ascot.
Last year's winner The Tin Man, Harry Angel's Commonwealth Cup conqueror Caravaggio and Karl Burke's filly Quiet Reflection will all have their supporters.
Aidan O’Brien, the trainer of Caravaggio, who is a general 9-2. will also be represented by Alphabet, Intelligence Cross and Washington DC.
He said: “Caravaggio’s in good form and everything has gone well since his last run at the Curragh, where we were delighted with him. I’d say it is very possible it will be his last run.
“Alphabet won’t mind if it gets soft - she’s very happy on that ground. Intelligence Cross ran well in the July Cup and he’s in good form. Washington DC is also in good order - he’s a horse who needs a bit of luck in his races.”
Big Orange and Order Of St George face a rematch in the QIPCO Long Distance Cup following their thrilling duel for the Gold Cup in June. The former is 5-1 with Coral to coinfirm his superiority, while Order Of St George is 5-4 to make amends for his below-par fourth in the race last year, when sent off at 4-6.
Bill Gredley, owner of Big Orange, said: “I’d rather take on Order Of St George at two miles, than two-and-a-half miles. I just think Big Orange is better over that trip but we will soon find out, won’t we?”
St Leger third Stradivarius, Doncaster Cup winner Desert Skyline and Mount Moriah represent the younger generation. Duretto, royal runner Dartmouth and last year's winner Sheikhzayedroad are also among a field of 13.
Journey defends her crown in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes but she must take on Bateel, who had her measure in the Prix Vermeille.
Journey returns to defend her Champions Day crown
Left Hand and The Juliet Rose add further strength in depth to the French challenge, while Journey's trainer John Gosden also runs Coronet and The Black Princess.
Aidan O'Brien is represented by Hydrangea and Wild Irish Rose, with Park Hill winner Alyssa and Andrew Balding's Horseplay completing the ten-runner field.
Francis Graffard, trainer of Bateel, who is 4-1 with Bet 365 and Boylesports, said: “This was a very obvious race for Bateel after winning the Vermeille. I’m very glad that we weren’t tempted by the Arc, as this has given her a nice bit of time to recover.
“She’s in just as good a form as before that race, and now I don’t feel any pressure. She’s a filly that has her own character, but she has not stopped progressing since she joined us. I am hopeful that she will put up a very good performance as we also know she goes well on soft ground, and fingers crossed she doesn’t find one too good.”