Big shake up in Champions Sprint betting at Ascot as favourite Starman retired to stud through injury

Big shake up in Champions Sprint betting at Ascot as favourite Starman retired to stud through injury

THERE has been a huge shake-up in the betting for Saturday's British Champions Sprint Stakes.

July Cup hero Starman – who was the 3-1 favourite – suffered a minor injury during his preparation for the race and has been retired to stud.

The bookies have settled on Dragon Symbol, who was demoted to second in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot after a dramatic stewards' enquiry, as the new market leader.

Archie Watson's speedster is 7-2 with Paddy Power, with Wokingham Stakes winner Rohaan next best at 9-2 ahead of Art Power (5-1).

It is an anti-climactic end to the career of Starman, who has been one of the top sprinters around this year.

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He was an impressive winner of the Duke Of York Stakes at York in May and went on to land a huge win in the July Cup.

He has since finished third in the Prix Maurice de Gheest in France and was agonisngly beaten a short-head in the Sprint Cup at Haydock last month.

He will stand at Tally-Ho Stud in Ireland, and trainer Ed Walker said he was gutted that the horse didn't have the opportunity to end his career on a high at British Champions Day.

He said: "It's a huge shame as we were really looking forward to Saturday and confirming him to be the champion that he is.

"I've always thought he was the best around and he's certainly the best I've ever trained."

Regular jockey Tom Marquand took to Twitter to pay tribute to Starman, who earned just shy of £500,000 during his career.

Marquand said: "What an honour it was to partner Starman on his biggest day when winning the July Cup.

"A huge thanks to (owners) David and Sue Ward for being an absolute dream to ride for, and of course the whole team at Ed Walker's for managing his career so well."

There are four Group 1 races scheduled for Ascot's big Flat season finale this weekend, with £4m in prize-money across the six-race card.

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