British Champions Sprint: Irish trio out to thwart Maarek’s retention bid

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Edward Lynam is leaving nothing to chance in his bid to land the British Champions Sprint Stakes with the Irish trainer triple-handed for this year’s showpiece event.

Last year’s winner Maarek is the red-hot favourite to retain the crown and comes into the race in good form under likely pilot Declan McDonagh.

The six-year-old gelding has obliged in his last two outings, taking the Prix De L’Abbaye De Longchamp by a short neck from Catcall last week to build on a one-length victory over York Glory at Newbury in September.

At 9/4 the Lisbunny Syndicate-owned charge looks a little short here and Lynam will be well aware of the fact that no horse has successfully defended this crown since the race’s inauguration in 1979.

Leading Lynam’s charge is three-year-old Viztoria.

The K Lavery-owned fillie struggled to a sixth-place finish at Longchamp last time out, but showed enough promise in her early races to warrant inclusion here.

Viztoria has finished in the top two in all but two of her races so far and those anomalies can arguably be put down to her simply not getting the trip (of one mile), and a difficult passage across the Channel when engaged at Longchamp.

The race may be a little early in the three-year-old’s career but with a price of 6/1 available and little value in terms of the favourite’s price, consideration here is a must.

Lynam also saddles stablemates Sole Power and Slade Power here and it is the former that carries the bigger price for the contest.

Four-year-old colt Slade Power is available at 6/1 to win and after reaching the frame in four of his last five runs could attract plenty of each-way attention.

However, Sole Power, older and more-experience at six-years-of-age, is a 10/1 shot but proved last time out that he has the beating of his namesake.

Under Johnny Murtagh, the G Russel-bred gelding came third – missing out  on the victory by just over half a length –  in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August. The biggest reservation must surely be the fact that this smart animal has been on the go at the very top level for almost the entire season.

Slade Power meanwhile was also present in the Nunthorpe but disappointed in 15th place.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.