Date of Tips: 13/10/2020
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (17:23 13/10/2020) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
Ante-post betting in big field sprints can be fraught with danger, as more often than not the draw plays a hugely significant hand in proceedings. Saturday’s culmination of the Group 1 sprint program on these shores could be no different, as of the 19 horses entered, only four aren’t already jocked up as yet. Hinting that we could see a field of 15+, which will see racing room potentially at a premium.
Looking a little ahead at the weather forecast, and there a couple of showers in the upcoming days, ensuring that we will have soft ground. While an early prediction of the wind direction is that it will be from an easterly direction and of a medium strength, so actually partially helping them along down the famous stretch of the home straight.
All this makes me think that you potentially need a horse that can travel very smoothly more towards the front end of the race than is sometimes necessary at Ascot. Time will tell if this correct, but when you have found at 25/1 shot, it slightly offsets any worry about draw/conditions etc.
The horse in question is Sonaiyla in the Champions Sprint at 1.55, trained by the impressive Paddy Twomey, and on offer at 25/1 with William Hill, she is a big enough price to back each-way now.
Genuine top-notch sprinting fillies are rare, and if she hadn’t been sent to the sales by the H H Aga Khan, then Sonaiyla may well never have been tried at such trips. But picked up for a pretty sum and sent to Paddy Twomey, he instantly applied a tongue-tie and a visor and dropped her to 6f for her first start for the yard. The result? A Listed win, and then a smooth travelling win back over 7f in a valuable handicap.
Given how strongly she travelled in both those starts it was no surprise to see her dropped back to 6f again for the Group 3 Phoenix Sprint Stakes, where she did all but win. Going down by a neck to Glen Shiel, who is a general 10/1 for the race on Saturday, was a mighty effort, given she challenged on a different part of the track to the winner and the third and fourth that day.
Glen Shiel has since chased home hot favourite for the Champions Sprint, Dream Of Dreams, in the Haydock Sprint Cup. There wasn’t a huge amount between those two at Haydock, and for all that Dream Of Dreams has been sparked up by a gelding operation, the price differential between him at a general 6/4 and Sonaiyla at 25/1, is baffling and plain wrong.
Sonaiyla ran an even better race dropped to 5f for the Group 1 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh after that, when the fast ground at that trip wouldn’t have suited. She made ground from mid-division and wide of the field late on to finish on the heels of Glass Slippers and Keep Busy (both genuine Group 1 fillies), and ahead of another genuine Group 1 horse, in the shape of Make A Challenge.
Soft ground will be fine, and I can see her running a huge race for regular pilot Billy Lee, and 25/1 is a great each-way bet currently.