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Sands of Mali lands 28/1 shock in British Champions Sprint

ASCOT, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20: Paul Hanagan riding Sands Of Mali (C, purple cap) win The Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot Racecourse on October 20, 2018 in Ascot, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Paul Hanagan;Sands Of Mali
Image: Sands Of Mali (C) storms clear to win the Champion Sprint

Sands Of Mali sprung a 28/1 surprise in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot for trainer Richard Fahey.

The three-year-old speedster had been disappointing since looking unlucky when beaten in the Commonwealth Cup, but bounced back in style to add to his victory in last year's Gimcrack.

Sands Of Mali got a great start and his jockey Paul Hanagan was soon setting the pace he wanted.

Harry Angel - again rather reluctant to load at the start - came out of the pack to challenge, but Hanagan had left a bit in the tank and Sands Of Mali kept up the gallop to score by a length.

Donjuan Triumphant was a length and a quarter away in third place.

Fahey said of the winner: "I've always felt he is a Group One horse - but as you can see a couple of his runs have been very disappointing, and we don't know why.

"Today he got the soft lead he needed, and from half way I was happy.

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"We just got nailed at the Royal meeting, and he has gone pear-shaped from there.

"At home he has always worked like a Group One horse, but he has now proven he is. He has had a couple of other goes and come up short, but today was great.

"I don't whether he just hurt himself a bit running on the quick ground at the Royal meeting. I thought he ran okay at Haydock, but today was where we thought he should be.

"It's a good result for a small trainer up the north!"

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