2022 Champions Sprint Runner By Runner Preview, Odds & Tips

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Thu 3rd November 2022


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The Champions Sprint, formerly known as the VRC Sprint Classic, is a Group 1 race held down the Flemington straight at 1200m. The $3m weight for age feature, has for some time, attracted the biggest and best sprinters in the country and this year’s race is no exception. Last year Nature Strip put a space in his rivals and is back again to defend his crown.

He’s (Nature Strip) currently the $1.95 favourite with Dabble ahead of impressive last start winners Bella Nipotina ($5.50) and Giga Kick ($5.50). These runners are the only horses given a chance according to the market and it’s write your own ticket the rest.

However, we know horse racing is unpredictable at the best of times and anything can happen down the Flemington straight six. So, we have dissected each of the horses’ chances for you and provided our horse racing tips! Read on below to find our runner by runner preview of the 2022 Champions Sprint along with The Shark’s best tips. 

1. Nature Strip (12) – $1.95F
Jockey – James McDonald 58.5kg
Trainer – Chris Waller

Champion sprinter who was brave in defeat last start in The Everest. He sat outside a hot tempo on that occasion and did well to finish as close as he did. He won this race with a leg in the air twelve months ago, and although this year’s edition looks a lot stronger, he has a great record up the straight and has to be greatly respected.

2. Masked Crusader (11) – $34
Jockey – Damien Thornton 58.5kg
Trainer – Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

Missed the start hopelessly in The Everest and did well to finish on the heels of the placegetters before an even effort last start in the Winners Stakes. Should appreciate a stronger tempo up front here but is starting to become costly to punters and needs to find some of his better form to be considered a winning hope.

3. The Inferno (1) – $126
Jockey – John Allen 58.5kg
Trainer – Cliff Brown

Former Singapore sprinting sensation who has found consistency hard to come by in recent preparations. First up run this prep was good in the McEwen before being tailed off in the Moir last start. Will be suited by a drier track here and the inside gate, if the inside half is superior, but hard to have in the numbers.

4. Rothfire (8) – $34
Jockey – Luke Nolen 58.5kg
Trainer – Robert Heathcote

Consistent Qld galloper who chased hard behind the in form Bella Nipotina last start. His runs prior were good, including a McEwen Stakes win, and although he’s untried up the straight, has to be considered an each-way chance.

5. Paulele (9) – $21
Jockey – Brenton Avdulla 58.5kg
Trainer – James Cummings

Started favourite and was the first horse beaten last start in the Manikato. He pulled up with a slow recovery rate there and may not have been comfortable in the heavy going. Gets back on a drier track here, gets the blinkers on for the first time and is capable of running a much improved race at good odds. Respect.

6. Front Page (3) – $31
Jockey – Ben Melham 58.5kg
Trainer – Geoff Duryea

Corowa trained galloper who led from barrier to box first up in The Kosciuszko at Randwick. Is a winner up the Flemington straight and deserves his shot at a race like this, but probably needs to run a career best to finish in the money.

7. The Astrologist (10) – $91
Jockey – Nash Rawiller 58.5kg
Trainer – Leon & Troy Corstens

Led and held on well last Saturday in the Rising Fast behind Argentia. No match for Bella Nipotina prior at The Valley. Has a brilliant record down the straight, including a close up second in the Newmarket earlier this year, but probably lacks a little bit of class against some of his rivals here.

8. Baller (5) – $41
Jockey – Mark Zahra 58.5kg
Trainer – Tony Gollan

Brisbane trained galloper who is racing in career best form. Beat a smart field of sprinters first up in the Bobbie Lewis before another solid effort behind Private Eye last start. That form is strong and although he’s probably not considered an absolute top liner, should be in the mix again.

9. Bella Nipotina (4) – $5.50
Jockey – Jamie Kah 56.5kg
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

In form mare who bolted in the Manikato last start. Her run prior was super in the Moir where she just missed stablemate Coolangatta. Finished third in this race last year behind Nature Strip, and although she’s yet to win at Flemington, looks very hard to beat.

10. September Run (13) – $41
Jockey – Damien Oliver 56.5kg
Trainer – Chris Waller

Found them too nippy first up in the Moir before an improved run last start in the Manikato. Should be ready to peak here third up and loves the Flemington straight. Will let the race unfold early from the high draw and have one last crack under Oli. Not out of it.

11. Roch ‘N’ Horse (6) – $26
Jockey – Jamie Mott 56.5kg
Trainer – Michael Moroney

Former Kiwi mare who has raced well since arriving in Australia. Ran a big race last start behind the in form Private Eye and has a G1 win on her CV at this track/trip. Races best on top of the ground, which she should get here, and looks a good each-way chance.

12. Levante (14) – $31
Jockey – Michael Dee 56.5kg
Trainer – Ken & Bev Kelso

Another Kiwi mare who has a brilliant record and a dazzling turn of foot. Resumes in this off the back of a brilliant Newmarket run, where the inside lanes were superior. Outside draw should be to her advantage and is unbeaten first up in three attempts. Watch for her late.

13. Argentia (15) – $34
Jockey – Tim Clark 56.5kg
Trainer – Anthony & Sam Freedman

Talented Frankel mare who was a strong winner of the Rising Fast last Saturday at this track/trip. Will again be ridden cold from the outside gate and saved for one run, and can run into the placings if she puts her best foot forward.

14. Giga Kick (7) – $5.50
Jockey – Craig Williams 53.5kg
Trainer – Clayton Douglas

Kept his unbeaten record intact with an outstanding win in The Everest last start. Two time winner down the Flemington straight and jockey Craig Williams will have options from the middle draw. Needs to put his best foot forward to make it six from six, but there’s no reason to say he can’t do so.

15. Lofty Strike (2) – $41
Jockey – Craig Newitt 53.5kg
Trainer – Julius Sandhu

Smart three year old who has raced well in two runs back from a long spell. He chased hard in last Saturday’s Coolmore Stud Stakes and gets blinkers on here. Will appreciate a weight drop but this looks his toughest test to date. Place looks best.

Final Word

This year’s Champions Sprint certainly lives up to its name. The world’s highest rated sprinter, Nature Strip, takes on last start Everest winner, Giga Kick, and low flying mare, Bella Nipotina. No matter the result of this race, it’s sure to be a mouth-watering contest.

With that said I’m going with some value in Levante. She is a star Kiwi mare with a brilliant winning record, and has had the benefit of a run down the Flemington straight, where she finished best of the disadvantaged outside brigade in the Newmarket. She will let the race unfold from the outside gate here and has an electric turn of foot on her day. She’s unbeaten in three goes fresh and looks well overs at the price on offer.

Nature Strip has to be considered the danger. He sat outside a hot tempo in The Everest last start and did well to finish as close as he did. He has a brilliant record down the straight and won this race with a leg in the air twelve months ago. McDonald will let him find his own rhythm and he looks hard to toss.

The Maher/Eustace stable is flying and so is Bella Nipotina. Her win in the Manikato last start had to be seen to be believed and she is G1 placed, in this race last year, at her only go this track/trip. She’ll enjoy a nice smother from gate four and will be thereabouts when the whips are cracking.

Couple at value worth including are September Run and Roch ‘N’ Horse. Both mares have good straight track form and are ready to peak. No knock Giga Kick but feel he has to go to another level yet again to keep his unbeaten record intact here in conditions that will suit others.

Champions Sprint TipLogo

12. Levante – Each-way ($31/$6.00)

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*Odds correct at time of writing, courtesy of Dabble.

Tom has had a passion for the racing industry from the time he could talk. Wether it was at school, on smoko or in his own spare time, he always had his head in the form guide.He has worked hands on in the industry for years for some of Australia’s most highly regarded trainers. As a track rider, he has put the polish on some of the best horse flesh to grace the turf in recent years including the grey flash, Chautauqua, Golden slipper winner, Mossfun and sprinter-turned-sire, Deep Field to name a few.Tom has recently hung up the boots to focus solely on his punting and tipping services. With the objective of finding plenty of winners and value in the marketplace, you’ll be sure to have a fat wallet following his feature race previews.