The UK flat racing season is reaching its business end, and one of the standout renewals still left to come in this campaign is the classic Sprint Cup at Haydock Park on Saturday September 3 (4:30pm).
This Group 1 affair brings together the very best sprinters around aged three and over, with the six furlong mark presenting plenty of thrills and spills for spectators and punters alike.
The Sprint Cup is the pinnacle of the three-day festival bearing its name, and a decent field will gather despite the likely withdrawal of ante-post favourite Limato, who claimed the first Group 1 of his career with the July Cup last month.
The four-year-old has taken on a packed schedule this term, and trainer Henry Candy is of the opinion that he needs to rest up. “He came out of York very well, but the Haydock race will come too soon for him. He doesn’t operate when races come that close together,” he told the Racing Post.
Instead Candy will be represented by reigning Sprint Cup champion Twilight Son, who also claimed a hugely impressive victory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes earlier this year – a 6f CV that deserves respect.
Many of the other fancies in this field, such as The Tin Man and Magical Memory, were beaten into oblivion by the four-year-old that day, and it is only a horrendous showing in the July Cup (fourteenth) that is holding up his price at 5/1. But that was ran on firm ground, and his form on good/soft is eye-catching; including a runner-up spot in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes, where he chased the outstanding Muhaarar home hard.
If there is any yield in the surface next weekend, then this powerhouse must come under serious consideration.
Punters will be keeping a close eye on the movements of Lumiere in the run up to the festival. Mark Johnston’s steed enjoyed a brilliant early career over six furlongs, which included a heroic victory in the Cheveley Park Stakes over Besharah and Illuminate, but a step up to longer stretches has not proven to her liking, with finishes of ninth and sixteenth (last) the unfortunate outcome.
The suspicion is she will drop back down to the 6f mark pronto, although whether she will be supplemented in a field as high quality as this is anybody’s guess. The bookies have her pegged at 14/1 in the ante-post market, but for now she is perhaps one best to avoid.
Haydock Sprint Cup Each Way Tips
Towards the head of the market sit The Tin Man (7/1) and Magical Memory (8/1), although we’re happy to make a case against both of these.
The Tin Man has a propensity to ‘not turn up’, in a metaphorical sense, with notable absences including the Diamond Jubilee Stakes where he finished eighth of nine when well fancied. This Fred Archer gelding seems to need firm ground to pique his interest; with rain predicted in the next week or so, he might not get it.
Magical Memory is another that has been bested by a few in this field in the past, not least when finishing fourth in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes as favourite, and also in the July Cup when seventh behind the likes of Suedois, Quiet Reflection and Washington DC who are in this field. With just six wins in 17 starts, this is another we are happy to give the slip.
A strong claim can be made by Quiet Reflection, third at the July Cup after five straight wins (including a Group 1), but at 9/2 – and shortening – this filly is likely to be too short for each way punters.
Instead, give Signs of Blessing (10/1) a try. He was so impressive in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes when pressing well inside the final furlong to finish third by a short head to Gold-Fun, and he won comfortably enough last time out over 6f in Deauville, with Suedois and Donjuan Triumphant trailing in his wake.
The three-year-old may only have three recognised starts to his name, but this Francois Rohaut trained colt looks to have all the weapons to succeed here.