A field of 13 goes to post in the highlight of Haydock Park’s Flat season – the £225,000 Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock Park on Saturday, 5 September. Staged over six furlongs, the Betfair Sprint Cup forms part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Heading the market at 3/1 with sponsor Betfair is Dream Of Dreams (Sir Michael Stoute/Oisin Murphy). The Saeed Suhail-owned six-year-old finished eighth in the 2019 Betfair Sprint Cup but has looked an improved performer since being gelded at the start of this season, finishing the head runner-up in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and winning the seven-furlong G2 Hungerford Stakes at Newbury.
Winner of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and also victorious in last year’s Betfair Sprint Cup was Hello Youmzain (Kevin Ryan/Kevin Stott). The four-year-old was second in the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest over an extended six furlongs at Deauville, France, on 9 August. If successful on Saturday, Hello Youmzain would become only the second dual winner of the Betfair Sprint Cup, following on from Be Friendly who won the first two runnings in 1966 and 1967.
Adam Ryan, assistant to his father, said today: “Hello Youmzain came out of France in great order. He takes his racing very well and is exactly where we want him at this point.
“I think you have to be confident about his chance. He has great form at Haydock - the only time he has been beaten there was on his second start as a two-year-old and that was by a horse [San Donato] who would go on to finish third in the French 2,000 Guineas.
“Haydock clearly plays to his strengths and he goes there as the defending champion. I think it is fair to say that he is arguably the one they all have to beat.
“It would be great achievement for the horse and the team if he could win the Sprint Cup again, as only one other horse has managed it. He has been a pleasure to train this year and has definitely proved himself as one of the best sprinters around.”
The Kevin Ryan team is also set to be represented by Brando (Tom Eaves), runner-up in 2018 and fourth last year, plus Queen Jo Jo (Danny Tudhope), who put up her best performance this year when winning the G3 Summer Stakes at York in July.
Adam Ryan continued: “You know what you are going to get from Brando.
“Unfortunately, he has missed a couple of engagements this year due to the ground and so we had to get a run into him before Haydock over a trip that was further than ideal [finished 6th in G2 City Of York Stakes over 7f].
“The drop back to six furlongs with a strong gallop is exactly what he wants. There is still life in the old boy yet and I would not be surprised to see him run another big race.
“Queen Jo Jo is in the form of her life, having won a G3 and been G2 placed this season. She is thriving at the minute and when these fillies get on a roll, you never quite know where they might end up. She deserves a crack at this.”
Also prominent in the market are the Golden Horde (Clive Cox/Adam Kirby) and Lope Y Fernandez (Aidan O’Brien IRE/Ryan Moore), who will both to continue the excellent recent record of three-year-olds in the Betfair Sprint Cup (five of the last six winners have come from the Classic generation). Golden Horde recorded his biggest career success in the G1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot while Lope Y Fernandez was third in the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest.
Another three-year-old is Art Power (Tim Easterby/Silvestre De Sousa), a G3 winner at Naas, Ireland in July. Trainer Tim Easterby is chasing a third Betfair Sprint Cup success following Pipalong (2000) and Somnus (2003).
Jockey Hollie Doyle is enjoying an outstanding season and has her first ride in a British G1 race on Glen Shiel (Archie Watson), a G3 winner at the Curragh, Ireland last time out. Others of interest include 2018 Sprint Cup winner The Tin Man (James Fanshawe/Andrea Atzeni) and Tabdeed (Owen Burrows/Jim Crowley), who defeated The Tin Man in the G3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury in July.
The Betfair Sprint Cup – Betfair odds: 3/1 Dream of Dreams, 7/2 Hello Youmzain, 5/1 Golden Horde, 6/1 Lope Y Fernandez, 8/1 Art Power, 10/1 Tabdeed, 16/1 Glen Shiel, 25/1 Queen Jo Jo, The Tin Man, Brando, Forever In Dreams, 33/1 Archer's Dream, Summerghand
*EW 1/5 Odds 3 places
Betfair Spokesman, Barry Orr, commented today: “Last year’s co-favourites, Dream of Dreams and Hello Youmzain, are once again fighting it out at the top of the market but preference is for the Sir Michael Stoute-trained runner as punters seem to be disregarding the fact he was beaten five lengths in the race by Hello Youmzain last year.
“There have been positive bulletins from the Art Power camp but he is 8/1 from 13/2, while Glen Shiel and Hollie Doyle are sure to prove popular at 16/1.
“It is a vintage renewal of the race.”
A superb seven-race programme at Haydock Park on Saturday kicks off with the Listed Betfair Exchange Ascendant Stakes (1.10pm, 1m 37y, 9 runners) for two-year-olds, which was won by subsequent dual G2 winner and leading St Leger contender Pyledriver in 2019. Among the declarations this year is recent Listed runner-up Fancy Man (Richard Hannon/Ryan Moore) as well as exciting debut scorer Alenquer (William Haggas/Tom Marquand).
Two Royal Ascot winners feature among the eight declared runners for the G3 Betfair Superior Mile (1.45pm, 1m 37) – Godolphin’s Royal Hunt Cup winner Dark Vision (Mark Johnston/William Buick) and Khaloosy (Roger Varian/Jim Crowley). Another exciting contender is My Oberon (William Haggas/Tom Marquand), who made a good impression when scoring by six lengths at York in July before taking the runner-up spot in the G3 Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood.
Valuable handicap action comes courtesy of two £80,000 handicaps over a mile and three quarters – the Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Handicap (2.15pm, 5 runners, for 3YO only) and the Betfair Exchange Old Borough Cup Handicap (2.50pm, 19 runners, for 4YO and upwards).
Haydock Park also races today, Thursday, 3 September and tomorrow, Friday, 4 September. The two seven-race cards are sponsored exclusively by Betfair.
The going at Haydock Park is currently Soft, Heavy in places
There was 63 millimetres of rain in the week up to Friday, 28 August. It was then dry until 16 millimetres of rain fell between Wednesday (2 September) afternoon and Thursday (3 September) morning. It is forecast to be dry from 9.00am today onwards.