Ortensia, winner of the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan in March, flies the flag for the Australians who have an unbelievable record in the five furlong contest. The seven-year-old mare will be hoping to follow in the hoofprints of the likes of Choisir (2003), Takeover Target (2006), Miss Andretti (2007) and Scenic Blast (2009). However, she is battling for favouritism at 5/1 with Coral, which is plenty short enough considering she relishes better ground.
The same can also be said of Hong Kong contenders Little Bridge and Joy And Fun. The former has yet to race outside of Sha Tin, while the latter broke a bone in his leg when finishing unplaced in the Golden Jubilee Stakes here two years ago. Joy And Fun missed the break behind Ortensia in Dubai when last seen and it’s hard to imagine him winning at the age of nine.
That leaves French filly WIZZ KID as the final overseas contender and, in my eyes, the most likely winner. The four-year-old was arguably a little unlucky in her two trips to these shores last season and followed a fine fifth-place finish in the Nunthorpe with a cracking run behind Deacon Blues on this track in October. She was hampered at a crucial stage at York and, I felt, given a fair bit to do in the Champions Day Sprint.
She looked to have improved again this term when bouncing back from a pipe-opener at Longchamp to land a Group Two sprint at Chantilly with relative ease last time. She appreciates a little bit of cut in the ground and still looks an attractive betting proposition at around the 6/1 mark.
There is always a worry about the draw in large field sprints of this nature, but the suspicion is that the action should unfold under the stand’s side rail (high) and if that’s the case she is perfectly berthed in stall 15.
Bated Breath and Sole Power set records tumbling on lightning fast ground at Haydock last time and the suspicion is that conditions will be a little bit too dead to see them at their best. Last year’s winner Prohibit simply hasn’t been in the same heart so far this campaign, while the same can also be said of Margot Did.
One that could run extremely well at a massive price is course specialist MEDICEAN MAN who can be backed each-way at 40/1. He looked to be returning to form last time and he is simply too big a price to ignore.
Sticking with the sprinters and it’s the turn of the two-year-olds to strut their stuff over the minimum distance in the final race on the card. A whopping field of 23 have stood their ground in the Windsor Castle Stakes with seven having run only once or less.
The Hannon team are always to be respected and I wouldn’t be surprised if Alhebayeb turned out to be the best of theirs. However, I’m going to take a chance with Irish raider DYLANBARU who had enough speed to get close to the useful Cay Verde in a Listed contest last time.