Dexter can secure Sprint honours
Ian Brindle's horse-by-horse guide to the QIPCO British Champions Sprint at Ascot.
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BALMONT MAST: Gave his connections a lot of fun with a lucrative campaign in Dubai during the winter but showed himself more than capable of winning on turf as he readily won a Listed race at the Curragh six days ago. A step back up in grade but should be fresh and has won previously at this stage of the year.
CAPE OF APPROVAL: Progressive earlier this season and took the scalp of Maarek at Cork. Now 5lb worse off at these weights and no show in the Prix de L'Abbaye last time.
EXCELLENT GUEST: No doubting his liking for Ascot having obliged in the Victoria Cup but it would be a major shock were he good enough to take a hand in this.
HAWKEYETHENOO: Classy individual on his day and ran a career best to be second to Maarek in this race last year. Regrettably ruined his chances of winning handicaps when scoring in the Stewards' Cup last year and likely to need plenty of luck in running.
HOOF IT: Winless for some time and dropped a heavy hint when third in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock. Seventh in the Wokingham (2011) when tried here previously and interesting to see Kieren Fallon (who has won on him four times) retains the ride.
HUMIDOR: Yet to win beyond Listed level although he did run a fair fourth to Ortensia in the Nunthorpe at York last year. Nothing of that level this season and not hard to oppose.
JACK DEXTER: Much improved sprinter and no disgrace under topweight in Ayr Gold Cup. Fourth in the King's Stand here in June and if ground stays on the softer side, has much more in his favour than most.
MAAREK: Currently running at the top of his game with victories in the Prix de L'Abbaye and in Group 3 company at Newbury during the last month. A lack of obvious pace in this race is a realistic concern for those on at short odds though little doubt he's just about the best sprinter around in Europe at present.
MASS RALLY: Appears a reformed character these days and fairly flew up the Knavesmire to win a handicap at York off a mark of 103. Life will be more difficult in future and connections try to strike again while the iron is hot.
RACY: Quirky sort that has been called plenty of names in the past and invariably runs on without quite being good enough. Well beaten on his two previous starts on genuinely soft ground and realistically shouldn't be good enough.
SIRIUS PROSPECT: Put up a serious effort when obliging in a York handicap off a mark of 102 and hails from a yard that have had unprecedented success with their sprinters. Third in this race last season and will be staying on again at the death.
SLADE POWER: Sixth in this race last season and with another year under his belt; he's likely to have a clearer idea about what top grade sprinting is about. Won the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in June and while no threat to winner, he was a fair second in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock..
HEAVEN'S GUEST: Confirmed the impression of his fourth in the Ayr Gold Cup by landing a big pot here in the Betfred Challenge Cup. Supplemented for this race at a premium though one of the more interesting participants as he handles soft ground and is unexposed at this grade.
VIZTORIA: Missed the majority of the summer though showed no signs of ring rust when accounting for her rivals in the Park Stakes at Doncaster. Well held at Longchamp in the interim and having seen tried at Ascot in the Coronation Stakes, she surprisingly drops back to six furlongs for the first time this year.
VERDICT: It would be great for Jim Goldie if JACK DEXTER can confirm the faith that the trainer has held in him from the very start of the season. His third in the Ayr Gold Cup reads well and he is proven under the prevailing ground conditions. Maarek has to be considered a big player if able to run up to his Longchamp form while Balmont Mist and Heaven's Guest come here in form yet are big prices with the bookmakers.