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Maarek leads charge for Champions Sprint

IRISH trainers hold a strong hand for the Group 2 Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes this afternoon, with last year's winner Maarek leading the charge for the raiders.

Favourite at 11-4 for Barry Lalor, the six-year-old revels in slower conditions, with his last two wins achieved on soft ground, including the Abbaye at Longchamp, but Lalor believes the home contingent should not be underestimated.

He said: "On form, we are confident of a good run, but it is Champions Day and I would be particularly wary of Jack Dexter as he is coming into the race with a very similar profile to that which Maarek came into the race last year before winning."

Jack Dexter's trainer Jim Goldie believes the four-year-old has "a decent chance," and he also saddles last year's runner-up Hawkeyethenoo.

Champions Day takes centre stage at Ascot, but there is also competitive jumps action at Cheltenham and Kelso, while Catterick, Cork and Wolverhampton all stage meetings.

Ascot: soft
Catterick: soft
Cheltenham: good
Cork: yielding to soft, soft in places
Kelso: good to soft, soft in places
Wolverhampton: standard

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