The Tin Man (second left) proves too good for his rivals at Ascot
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Alex Wiltshire 2:07PM 15 OCT 2016
Report: Ascot Saturday
Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (Group 1), 6f, 3yo+
THE TIN MAN got his head in front at the highest level for the first time as jockey Tom Queally unleashed the four-year-old with a surging run close to home to be crowned Champions Sprint Stakes winner at 13-2.
Fourth in the race last year, The Tin Man had produced a career-best effort on his last outing when finishing second to Quiet Reflection in the 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock last month, and the James Fanshawe-trained gelding overturned that form with a devastating turn of foot which left his rivals scrambling.
The best of those rivals was 50-1 shot Growl, who showed tenacity to get up for second, while in a further boost to the Ayr Gold Cup form Brando, Growl’s conqueror that day, finished third for trainer Kevin Ryan.
A delighted Queally, who was winning on Champions Day for the first time since Frankel’s Champion Stakes success in 2012, said: “I’ve always thought he was potentially the best horse in the field and he proved to be. He needs cover and thankfully he got it.
“It’s a special day for all the team and personally I’ve got more of a kick out of this than any big winner I’ve had. This is probably even better than the Breeders’ Cup. When you go through a bit of a drought it means a bit more. My family are going to get a big buzz out of this and I’ve a lot of close friends who have followed me closely and I know they’ll get a buzz out of it too.”
Fanshawe has brought home two Group 1s from France this year, but The Tin Man earned him a first Group 1 on home soil this season.
He said: “All year it’s been stop-start with him. He had problems in the spring when we were trying to get him ready and we didn’t have the smoothest of runs trying to get him to Royal Ascot and then we went [for something] small after that and then we had some coughing.
“This is the first time he’s really fired. Tom, my son, rides him out every day and he was telling me how well he is so it’s been a really good team effort and it’s great when you think they’re right and they perform like that. It’s fantastic.”
No fairytale finish for Angel
There was to be no fairytale ending for Mecca’s Angel, as fears over the extended furlong materialised with jockey Paul Mulrennan getting to work at an early stage and she could only beat one home on her final start before retirement.
Twilight Son, Henry Candy’s sole participant after the withdrawal of Limato, was well-backed prior to the off but the gaps never appeared and he finished a tailed-off 12th. Joint 4-1 favourite Quiet Reflection could not produce the thrilling turn of foot we have become accustomed to this season, as the fire went out on her season finishing a disappointing seventh.