Haydock Sprint Cup Meeting Preview
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Haydock Sprint Cup Meeting Preview

Haydock hosts its premier Flat race on Saturday afternoon, with the Group 1 Betfair Sprint Cup over six furlongs at 3.30pm taking centre stage as July Cup hero Starman goes after a top-level sprinting double.They have seven races on the card at Haydock Park, racing from 1.15pm-5.15pm and the Racing Post preview their selections and analysis for all the action on Merseyside.





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1.15 - Betfair Exchange Ascendant Stakes (Listed, 1m)

Four contenders all with winning form behind them for this opening Listed contest on the card at Haydock. Richard Hannon won this last year with Fancy Man and he's got Dukebox bidding for glory now. He won his first two before a wide-margin defeat in the Group 2 Railway Stakes in Ireland back in June when last out and has plenty to work on despite the class-drop.

Triple Time made all to justify cramped odds in impressive fashion over C&D in a novice heat last month for Kevin Ryan, though that bare form will require some improving on if he's to take out this prize.

Slade Power colt Power Of Beauty has figures of 2112 for Hugo Palmer and is top-rated here after a close second to Charlie Appleby's Albahr in this grade at Sandown recently. He took a few bumps off the winner close home in that race and he'll be streetwise now.

It's another Appleby contender that gets the call though, with HAFIT coming here after justifying favouritism in a Newmarket maiden (7f, good) on debut last month under William Buick. He was green enough in that race and should be much wiser now, while the second and third have gone in since to lend plenty substance to that form. The Godolphin inmate could be quite smart.

Selection: Hafit

Next Best: Power Of Beauty


1.45 - Betfair Double Daily Rewards Superior Mile Stakes (Group 3, 1m)

The admirable and durable Lord Glitters sets the standard in the Superior Mile for David O'Meara and Danny Tudhope. He enjoyed two Group-race wins in Dubai early in the year and has held his own in good races since returning to Britain. Most recently, he was second-best behind highly promising Godolphin inmate Real World at York's Ebor Meeting in the Group 2 Strensall Stakes and he's holding leading claims on that evidence.

On that York form, he holds the likes of Bell Rock (fourth) and My Oberon (fifth) - with the latter now sporting a pair of first-time blinkers as William Haggas seeks to get more from the early-season Newmarket Group 3 winner.

Artistic Rifles knows how to win races and has landed 3-5 this season but Ed Bethell's charge needs plenty more in this company.

MAYDANNY looked a group-horse in the making when he stormed home at Glorious Goodwood last summer but it hasn't panned out that way so far. He went backwards after, but returned to his best when scoring again over a mile this time at the Sussex venue in July.

He ran equally as well at York under a penalty and now gets his chance in this company. He's got a bit more to find on ratings but this isn't the strongest Group 3 and it could be a good opening for him if Lord Glitters doesn't bring his best stuff.

Selection: Maydanny

Next Best: Lord Glitters

2.20 - 'My Odds Boost' On Betfair Handicap (1m6f)

Andrew Balding's Valley Forge looks the one to beat on the back of his impressive Melrose success at York a fortnight ago. The Dansili colt travelled nicely into contention and no problems in seeing out this distance at the first time of asking on his handicap bow.

David Probert's mount also showed a good willingness to battle there and, now rated 7lb higher, looks sure to make further progress. On that evidence, he has a favourites' chance in this line-up.

The hat-trick seeking Vino Victrix is a lively player for Hughie Morrison after backing up his 1m6f July win at Sandown with a score on the all-weather at Kempton over two-miles last month. He's rising in class now - and up another 4lb - but that Sandown contest has thrown up a host of next-time-out winners and, with Tom Marquand taking over now, this Sir Percy colt isn't one to underestimate.

Oceanline (first) had PRAIANO behind in fourth when scoring over this trip at Sandown himself 13 days ago but it's not hard to suggest that Roger Varian's charge can get closer now.

The margin between the pair was just over a length and Andrea Atzeni's mount got much the tougher passage, having to sit and wait for a gap to appear between the two-furlong marker and the one. He was giving 3lb to Alan King's charge that afternoon and they meet off levels now.

Selection: Praiano

Next Best: Vino Victrix


2.55 - Betfair Exchange Old Borough Cup Handicap (1m6f)

The Old Borough Cup has attracted only a dozen runners this year, down from 17 last time, though that won't necessarily make it any less taxing for punters to solve

Top-weight Global Storm represents Charlie Appleby and William Buick and should bounce back from Ebor disappointment with a good run. He went into that York assignment firmly on the up and was a winner over this trip at Newmarket in May before excellent efforts in defeat at Ascot and HQ in high summer. He was as short as 12/1 for the Ebor but his hold-up style didn't really lend itself to how that race played out.

Rhythmic Intent was fourth in this contest a year ago and is back rated 1lb lower now for Stuart Williams. Two of his last three runs have been pleasing and he's got a chance under Sean Levey.

Autumn War was second over C&D in July and has filled the same berth in subsequent starts at Newmarket and Goodwood - latterly at two-miles. He's another to consider, though he often does himself no favours in breaking slowly from the gates. His Ian Williams-trained stablemate Indianapolis often runs well in just this sort of race but is winless since the autumn of 2019.

Rajinsky and Nicholas T have the form to be in the mix, the former seemingly more reliable for Tom Dascombe but maybe Hollie Doyle can snare this on NOBLE MASQUERADE for the Eve Johnston-Houghton team.

The 4YO Sir Percy gelding was better than ever in winning around Windsor 19 days ago, continuing what has been a very consistent season to date. It's almost 12 months since he had his sole attempt at his 1m6f trip (here) and he's a much more mature and experienced performer now. Getting plenty weight from the field, he could have a major say under in-form Doyle.

Selection: Noble Masquerade

Next Best: Rhythmic Intent

3.30 - Betfair Sprint Cup Stakes (Group 1, 6f)

The main dish and a race that seemingly revolves around Starman, the July Cup scorer this week described by trainer Ed Walker as the 'equine version of Usain Bolt'. He looked just that when winning at Newmarket in July and he had a host of these rivals well behind in doing so.

His subsequent defat in the Prix Maurice de Gheest in France came on ground softer than ideal and his connections have been pleasantly surprised to find 'good to firm' ground in the offing for this race - so often run on testing ground in recent times.

He'll bid to emulate the likes of Dream Ahead and Harry Angel in adding Sprint Cup glory to their July Cups in the same season in the recent past and his claims are very strong indeed, as the betting reflects.

Starman is the most likely winner but there could be some each-way value in the race too.

Goodwood's Lennox Stakes runner-up Creative Force is a player for Godolphin, while Art Power (fourth in this last year on soft) was disappointing in 5f King George at Goodwood and seems destined to come up just shy as a Group 1 sprinter.

Nunthorpe runner-up Emaraaty Ana isn't crossed off easily back up in trip but, fifth in the same race, CHIL CHIL is an interesting contender. The mare was off her feet early in the York contest as they went a breakneck gallop, but she stayed on encouragingly and just failed to get up for fourth. Returning to 6f should be in her favour now and she may do well.

Glen Shiel and last week's Deauville scorer Garrus are solid, if this doesn't catch out the Charlie Hills inmate six days after that French score but so, too, could be Happy Romance for Richard Hannon and Sean Levey.

A four-time winner last season she ended the term a close fourth behind Alcohol Free in the Cheveley Park at Newmarket over this trip. It's been more hit and miss this season, though she was a Listed winner on the all-weather at Chelmsford in April and comes here having won a Newbury Group 3 in July on her most recent start.

Quick ground will suit and with five of the last seven Sprint Cup winners being 3YOs, she's one to note getting all the allowances.

Selection: Chil Chil

Next Best: Happy Romance


4.05 - Betfair Be Friendly Handicap (5f)

It's been a good summer for Marco Ghiani and he'll have leading hopes that TONE THE BARONE can provide him with another Saturday afternoon scorer. He's won 3-4 previous starts on the Stuart Williams-trained gelding and they have good claims here.

Last month's Shergar Cup run at Ascot was none too shabby considering it was Tone The Barone's first start since April and his maiden turf run of this calendar year. The ground was also a notch softer than ideal and, sharper for the run, he's rated 1lb lower here and should outrun his forecast double-figure price under this promising young jockey.

Last-time-out York winner Copper Knight is a player again, though maybe on the revised terms Jawwaal can shut down the gap now. Atalis Bay found it tough in a Group 3 at Sandown when last out but returns from a short break now and cannot be factored out.

Selection: Tone The Barone

Next Best: Jawwaal

5.15 - Better Odds On Betfair Exchange Handicap (1m)

The finale has that undoubted wide open look about it. Eve Johnson Houghton's GIN PALACE is without a win since June 2020 but he's had some decent efforts this summer without necessarily looking set to end that barren spell.

He has been running in better quality races than this one and is now equipped with a first-time set of cheekpieces that might perk him up. His mark has dipped to the tune of 10lb since this season began and he's starting to lurk as one that could strike when things click.

Tim Easterby's Perfect Swiss is another that has been given some slack by the assessor and he was runner-up at Beverley last weekend, he's likely to be in the mix with a repeat.

Typical Man was in good tune this summer before seemingly failing to fire when a hood/cheekpieces were added at Sandown in early July. The headgear is left off now and Ian Williams' charge could get back on track after a short absence.

Selection: Gin Palace

Next Best: Typical Man


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