Kinross in tip-top shape for Champions Sprint repeat

Kinross could bring the house down on Champions Day when attempting to land back-to-back Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes victories in the hands of California-bound Frankie Dettori.

Ralph Beckett’s popular six-year-old has proven the most versatile of operators throughout his career and dropped back to six furlongs with aplomb to pick up this Group One prize 12 months ago.

He registered further notable triumphs at both Goodwood and York in the summer and having suffered a cruel defeat in defence of his Prix de la Foret crown, now attempts to regain the winning thread at a track he knows well.

The son of Kingman is reported to be in good order since his ParisLongchamp reversal and his Kimpton Down-based handler is keen to see him add to his big-race haul.

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“Winning Group Ones wherever they are is nice, but he likes it at Ascot and he will like this ground,” said Beckett.

“He seems in really good shape so hopefully he will run well. Everything has gone very smoothly since France and he’s had no issues.”

It is Kinross’ fifth year in training with Beckett, but it is since switching to the ownership of Marc Chan in 2021 that Dettori has entered the Kinross story.

The duo have have been regular visitors to the winner’s enclosure in recent seasons and Beckett credits the Italian with helping extend Kinross’ years at the top table.

The Kinross team after Champions Day success in 2022
The Kinross team after Champions Day success in 2022 (John Walton/PA)

“He’s been a joy to train,” added the trainer.

“They may have a couple of more days together yet, but they understand each other and that is a key part of the horse’s longevity. Frankie knows when to push the buttons on him and that really helps.

“Everyone who has ridden him will tell you he is a joy to ride.”

The guarantee of testing conditions could spell third time lucky for Vadream in a race in which she has performed with credit in recent years.

Vadream relishes testing conditions
Vadream relishes testing conditions (Nigel French/PA)

Charlie Fellowes’ mud-lover has already found the scoresheet twice with the ground in her favour this term and has been primed for this day after a respectable tune-up at the track in the Bengough Stakes.

“She loves Ascot, is in great order and this has been the plan for some time,” said Fellowes.

“I thought her comeback run in the Bengough was absolutely spot-on and on ground that was probably a touch too quick for her. I’m delighted with where she is at the moment.”

Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Mill Stream came of age with a pair of victories at Deauville in the summer and will have the assistance of William Buick for just his second start at the highest level, while another contender set to appreciate conditions is Andrew Balding’s Sandrine.

Sandrine winning the Park Stakes at Doncaster
Sandrine winning the Park Stakes at Doncaster (Tim Goode/PA)

Owned by Kirsten Rausing, the four-year-old achieved the enviable feat of Group-level victories at two, three and four when successful in the Park Stakes at Doncaster and has been seen to great effect since tried in headgear.

“Sandrine is right back to her best and she hasn’t had a hard season,” said Balding.

“The visor she’s worn at York and Doncaster the last twice has made a big difference, and six furlongs with a bit of give in the ground is ideal for her.”

Prix Maurice de Gheest runner-up Spycatcher was third behind Sandrine on Town Moor and is one of two in the race for Karl Burke alongside stablemate Swingalong, who also has smart sprinting form to her name – finishing third in the Commonwealth Cup, winning York’s Summer Stakes and most recently a respectable fourth in Haydock’s Betfair Sprint Cup.

A place ahead of Swingalong on Merseyside was George Boughey’s Believing who justified connections’ belief when supplemented for her first Group One assignment and is fancied to defy her outsider status once again.

“Believing is a bit of a dark horse, I think,” said Boughey.

“We all at home fancied her a bit more than the general public considering she went off at 66-1 at Haydock. I didn’t supplement her for £20,000 without thinking she had a live chance in a Group One.

“She’s very versatile ground-wise. At the start of the year I was hoping for rain before the Nell Gwyn and she just didn’t stay the seven furlongs, I think – she showed loads of pace.

“I think she comes here in as good a shape physically as I can possibly have her.”

Henry Candy’s Run To Freedom finished second to Kinross in this 12 months ago and again hit the frame in the July Cup earlier in the summer, with David Evans’ Ascot specialist Rohaan the mount of Ryan Moore attempting to better last year’s fourth.

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Rohaan spent 224 days out with injury following that Champions Day run and having worked his way back to form throughout the campaign, returned to the scoresheet at his beloved Berkshire venue earlier this month.

“It’s took a long time to get him back from the injury he had and I think every race he has had this season he has got a bit more confidence,” said Evans.

“I think he’s nearly back to how he was last year and apart from Kinross the race looks wide open I think.

“He’s only really disappointed once which was in this race two years back when it was really gluey ground and he couldn’t get out of it.

“We’re looking forward to it and he won well last time which paid for his chance and we’ll enjoy the day out I think. We’ve got a good jockey on his back as well which is always a bonus.”

Sense of Duty won four-in-a-row before injury struck
Sense of Duty won four-in-a-row before injury struck (Richard Sellers/PA)

William Haggas’ Sense Of Duty, who was a sprinter on the up before a setback hindered her progress and kept her on the sidelines for over the year.

She returned to the track over five furlongs at Newbury next month and will now put her credentials to the test in her first taste of Group One action.

“If the weather forecast is correct it may be specialist ground, but we would rather that for her than it be on the quick side,” said Richard Brown, racing manager for owners St Albans Bloodstock.

“She’s a big, very powerful filly who almost looks like a colt. I think she will go through it no problem.

“It’s not the ground we would worry about, more the opposition.”

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