The £300,000 Haydock Park Sprint Cup is the most valuable contest of the Flat season at Haydock Park and 14 high-class contenders remain on course for the G1 contest following today’s five-day confirmation stage. The Sprint Cup is due off at 4.10pm on Saturday, September 7, Sprint Cup Day.
Staged over six furlongs and part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, the Haydock Park Sprint Cup was first run in 1966 when it was won by Be Friendly, owned by legendary commentator Sir Peter O’Sullevan. Be Friendly won again in 1967 while other outstanding sprinters on the roll of honour include Moorestyle, Habibti, Green Desert, Ajdal, Danehill, Dayjur, Sheikh Albadou and Dream Ahead.
No horse since Be Friendly has won the Haydock Park Sprint Cup twice. The Tin Man (James Fanshawe) could bid to become the second dual winner this year following his success 12 months ago when he beat Brando (Kevin Ryan) by half a length. The Tin Man was last seen when seventh behind German-trained Waldpfad (Dominik Moser) in the G3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury on July 20.
Advertise (Martyn Meade) has already bagged two G1 sprints in 2019. The three-year-old son of Showcasing saw off the best sprinters of his own generation when landing the six-furlong Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot on June 21. On that occasion he had Forever In Dreams (Aidan Fogarty IRE) in second with Hello Youmzain (Kevin Ryan) taking third. Hello Youmzain has winning form over the course and distance, having landed the G2 Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes on May 25.
Following his Royal Ascot victory, Advertise went on to defeat all-aged opposition in the Prix Maurice de Gheest over six and a half furlongs at Deauville on August 4, when he prevailed by a neck from Brando. Sandwiched between his two G1 victories, Advertise was runner-up to Ten Sovereigns (Aidan O’Brien) in the G1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket.
Trainer Martyn Meade, who is based at the historic Manton Estate in Wiltshire, reported: “We are very pleased with Advertise who is in great form.
“The plan remains the Sprint Cup at Haydock and we are looking forward to running.
“We were delighted with his performance at Deauville and it highlighted what a classy performer he is.
“He didn’t break very well in the July Cup and the fact that he wasn’t able to be prominent meant that the race got away from him and he had a lot of ground to make up.
“We will see how the race unfolds, but it is going to be an exciting race and we are looking forward to it.”
The Haydock Park Sprint Cup is one of the few G1 prizes to have eluded Ireland’s champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien. In addition to Ten Sovereigns, who was last seen out when sixth in the G1 Nunthorpe Stakes over five furlongs at York on August 23, O’Brien has also left in Darley July Cup third Fairyland, the unexposed Never No More and So Perfect, who was a staying-on third in the Nunthorpe Stakes.
Invincible Army (James Tate) disappointed last time out when 13th behind Advertise at Deauville. However, the four-year-old son of 2002 Sprint Cup hero Invincible Spirit has previously won three times this season, headed by a success in the G2 Duke Of York Stakes at York in May, when he was the impressive two and a quarter length winner from Major Jumbo (Kevin Ryan).
Newmarket-based Tate is expecting a bold show and reported: “The Sprint Cup at Haydock is the plan for Invincible Army.
“Things didn’t work out for him in France. The ground was quite quick and things just didn’t go our way.
“He was travelling abroad for the first time and he also got interference during the race which didn’t help.
“Haydock has been the focus since and hopefully the race will suit him.
“A bit of rain would help, but he is in good form and we are hopeful of a good run.”
Also going forward today is Khaadem (Charlie Hills). The three-year-old was seventh in the Commonwealth Cup but put up an outstanding handicap performance last time out when landing the ultra-competitive 27-runner Stewards’ Cup under 9st 3lb at Glorious Goodwood on August 3. Another interesting contender is Dream Of Dreams (Sir Michael Stoute), who went down by just a head to Blue Point in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot before disappointing in the Darley July Cup.
Sprint Cup Day is the third and final day of a three-day meeting at Haydock Park, with afternoon racing also taking place on Thursday, September 5 and Friday, September 6.
Tickets for Sprint Cup Day and all other fixtures at Haydock Park are available to purchase online.
Haydock Park’s excellent seven-race card on Saturday also features the £63,000 G3 Superior Mile (2.25pm), in which last year’s winner Here Comes When (Andrew Balding) could bid for back-to-back victories. The 17 entries also include the unbeaten Miss O Connor (William Haggas), who landed a Listed contest in taking fashion at the course on August 10, and G2 Sandown Mile runner-up Sharja Bridge (Roger Varian).
Stars of the future could be on show in the £25,500 Listed Ascendant Stakes (3.00pm, 16 entries) over a mile for two-year-olds. Sir Michael Stoute has engaged promising Frankel filly Melnikova, who was an eye-catching scorer on debut at Kempton Park last month. Among the more experienced entries are Oh Purple Reign (Richard Hannon), Subjectivist (Mark Johnston) and Shared Belief (Archie Watson), who all made the frame in Listed events last time out, plus Sandown Park novice race scorer Tammani (William Haggas).
The handicap action is headlined by the Old Borough Cup (3.35pm, 29 entries) over a mile and six furlongs, one of two £100,000 staying contests on the card. Reshoun won the 2018 edition emphatically and is one of three entries for trainer Ian Williams. Godolphin runner Bin Battuta (Saeed bin Suroor) and Alright Sunshine (Keith Dalgliesh), who is on a three-timer following wins at Ripon and Musselburgh, are other entries to note.
Racing starts at 1.50pm with the £100,000 Garswood Handicap (28 entries), staged over a mile and six furlongs for three-year-olds. Her Majesty The Queen could be represented by progressive duo Calculation (Sir Michael Stoute), a son of 2013 Gold Cup heroine Estimate who scored over the course and distance on his penultimate start, and Space Walk (William Haggas). Ralph Beckett’s two contenders include the prolific Moon King, successful on all five of his starts in 2019, while the pick of John Gosden’s entries is Melrose Handicap second First In Line.
The class two handicap action is completed by the £35,000 Be Friendly Handicap (4.45pm, 20 entries) over five furlongs, won last year by Intense Romance (Michael Dods).
The going at Haydock Park is currently Good to Soft. There was 10 millimetres of rain on Saturday (August 30) and seven millimetres on Sunday (September 1). Today is forecast to be dry, while breezy showers are expected from Tuesday to Thursday. A further seven millimetres of rain is forecast on Friday while Saturday is predicted to be dry, with temperatures of 19 degrees Celsius.