As we enter the dying embers of British summertime and the horse racing flat season punters look ahead to the Haydock Sprint Cup knowing time is running out to land that elusive big winner of the campaign.
Scheduled to go to post on Saturday 8th September, this group one flat race run over the snappy six-furlong trip has attracted a strong field with this year’s renewal promising a £260,000 prize pot, over £160,000 of that gifted to the winner.
First contested all the way back in 1966, this British racing spectacle open to three-year-olds and above was won by Harry Angel for jockey Adam Kirby and trainer Clive Cox last year and bookmakers expect more of the same as the champion returns to defend his crown.
Source: Racing.com via Twitter
Success around Haydock Park 12 months ago remains one of five wins from 10 starts for progressive four-year-old Harry Angel who has finished outside of the first two only twice in his career as a race horse to date. Starting with a silver medal at Ascot in a novices Stakes on debut, the bay colt was quick to learn and popped his head in front at the second time of asking, beating Perfect Angel over 6f in the group two Mill Reef Stakes when going off a 2/1 favourite.
The team got the taste of success that day and have certainly grown familiar with it since, winning the group two Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock, group one July Cup at Newmarket last summer, that Sprint Cup score and, most recently, victory in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes around York in May. Harry Angel again went off jolly on that occasion and lived up to the pre-race hype, holding runner-up Brando at arm’s length.
The only slight blot on the form runner’s copybook came last time out when finishing with only one behind in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Ascot in June. A race won by 4/1 shot Merchant Navy, Harry Angel carried the shortest price of the bunch but had problems throughout. Agitated in the stalls, he was slow to get off and, having given the rest a head-start, was in no mood to close the gap. Jockey Adam Kirby was quick to notice the danger, refusing to ask too much of his mount.
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Connections will travel to Haydock determined to prove that was a one-off but punters may be reluctant to give him another chance after having their fingers burnt on the big stage. The 10/3 available at William Hill makes him favourite in the racing betting. That quote may just scare a few off.
If Harry Angel doesn’t win the Sprint Cup bookmakers think it’ll be James Garfield with George Scott’s colt doing the rounds as a 7/1 second favourite. Others worth a mention in the current list are US Navy Flag at 7/1, Blue Point 7/1 and the 10/1 of Tasleet.