The Haydock Sprint Cup (9th September) , also now known as the 32Red Sprint Cup Stakes, was first run in 1966 at Haydock Park. It was initially run around a bend, but became one of the course’s major attractions when moved to the straight course in 1979. Trainers approved of the race that much that it was then elevated to a Group 1 in 1988.
It has been won by some of the best sprinters of their generation, including Green Desert, Ajdal, Dayjur and Dream Ahead, all who won the race as 3-year-olds.
3-year-olds have actually won 19 of the 39 renewals of the Haydock Sprint Cup. A percentage that has continued into the last 10-year-trends with 5 of the last 10 winners coming from the classic generation, including the last three. This year’s classic generation could have up to 8 representatives, with Harry Angel, Blue Point, Intelligence Cross, Koropick, Spirit Of Valour, Queen Kindly, Spiritual Lady and Caravaggio, though the latter is likely to remain in Ireland for an alternative engagement. Of the other winners, one was aged 4 and one was aged 7, whilst three were aged 5, and Brando, Limato and The Tin Man are all quality 5-year-olds worth considering.
No winner has started shorter than 7/2 in the last 10 years, with both 2008 winner African Rose and 2016 winner Quiet Reflection both being returned at that price. Meanwhile, the biggest SP of any winner this decade was Regal Parade at 14/1 in 2009. The prices of the other winners were 9/1, 12/1, 4/1, 10/1, 9/1, 11/1 and 10/1 – so it’s not been a great race for favourites.
The first three home in the last 10-years have been drawn:
French raider African Rose didn’t have an official mark, but the other 9 winners were rated between 104 and 124. 2015 Twilight Son was the lowest-rated of those, but this improving type proved his win here was no fluke when winning more Group 1s the following season. Meanwhile, Dream Ahead was the top-rated rival. However, with 6 of the last 10 winners rated 113 or higher, the likes of Cougar Mountain, Gifted Master, Growl, Kimerella, Magical Memory, Mr Lupton, Tupi, Washington DC, Intelligence Cross, Koropick, Queen Kindly and Spiritual Lady are all likely to have to find plenty of improvement to win.
Trainers And Jockeys
No trainer or jockey has won this twice in the last 10 years, with Barry Hills and Michael Hills the only jockeys and trainers to win it twice in the last 20 years.
Harry Angel is a talented 3-year-old who could still be improving, and he bids to emulate Dream Ahead in winning the July Cup on route to winning this as a 3-year-old. However, as he would be the shortest-priced winner for some time, it may be worth opposing him with the 5-year-old Brando. Kevin Ryan’s charge ran Harry Angel close in the July Cup, and looked to have improved again when winning in France last time.