Harry Angel (Clive Cox/Adam Kirby) heads 12 declared runners for the richest race of the season at Haydock Park, the £260,000 G1 32Red Sprint Cup which is staged over six furlongs on Saturday, September 9, 32Red Sprint Cup Day.
Owned by Godolphin, Harry Angel was last seen out when taking the G1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket on July 15 in impressive fashion. The three-year-old son of Dark Angel will be bidding to become the first horse since Dream Ahead in 2011 to win both the Darley July Cup and 32Red Sprint Cup in the same season. He is the 9/4 favourite with 32Red.
Also set to represent Godolphin is Blue Point (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle, 10/1). Blue Point got the better of Harry Angel by a length and a half in the G3 Pavilion Stakes at Ascot in May but has not been seen out since coming home third, one place behind Harry Angel, in the G1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in June.
Brando (Kevin Ryan/Tom Eaves) is the 3/1 second favourite with 32Red. The five-year-old Pivotal gelding was a close third to Harry Angel at Newmarket before gaining a first success at G1 level when taking the Prix Maurice de Gheest over an extended six furlongs at Deauville, France, on August 6.
The Tin Man (James Fanshawe/Tom Queally) and Tasleet (William Haggas/Jim Crowley, 5/1) disappointed when eighth and 10th respectively behind Harry Angel in the July Cup. However, the duo were separated by a neck on their previous outing, with The Tin Man coming out on top in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Magical Memory (Charlie Hills/Silvestre De Sousa, 12/1) was a close third in the 2015 renewal of the 32Red Sprint Cup. After disappointing in the early part of this season, he has shown a return to form when scoring in a six-furlong conditions race at Haydock Park in July and taking the G3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury later the same month. He was last seen out when fourth to Brando at Deauville.
Another horse coming back to form is Queen Kindly (Richard Fahey/Paul Hanagan, 25/1). The three-year-old Frankel filly won the G2 Lowther Stakes at York in 2016. After finishing ninth to Winter in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, she has put up improved performances since reverting to sprinting, most recently taking the Listed Flying Fillies' Stakes over six furlongs at Pontefract on August 20.
Bruce Raymond, Racing Manager to owner Jaber Abdullah, said today: “Richard has told me that Queen Kindly is in great form and any cut in the ground on Saturday will suit her.
“Obviously, she is up against it with the leading contenders in this race but we are hoping she can run a nice race.
“She is a Listed winner this year and Jaber Abdullah wanted to have a go at a G1 with her. If she can make the frame, it will be great for when goes to stud.
“She started off the year by running over further, but has been suited by going back to sprint distances. Six furlongs with cut in the ground is ideal for her. She led under sufferance last time and is better coming off the pace. If she had been able to come off the pace at Pontefract, she would have won a bit easier.”
Queen Kindly’s trainer Richard Fahey is also set to run Growl (Graham Lee, 25/1), runner-up to The Tin Man in the G1 QIPCO Champions Sprint at Ascot in 2016, Chester Listed scorer Kimberella (Paul Mulrennan, 25/1) and Mr Lupton (Richard Kingscote, 50/1), a staying-on fifth in this race 12 months ago.
The 32Red Sprint Cup is one of the few G1 prizes to have eluded Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien. O’Brien is set to saddle Sprit Of Valor (Jimmy Quinn, 33/1), winner of the seven-furlong G2 Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh in July and Cougar Mountain (Ben Curtis, 50/1), last successful in the mile G2 Joel Stakes in 2016 at Newmarket.
Jason Fildes, General Manager at Haydock Park Racecourse, said: “We are all set for an outstanding renewal of the 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock Park on Saturday.
“Harry Angel sets the standard following his impressive July Cup success last time out while it will also be fascinating to see how fellow three-year-old Blue Point gets on as he makes his first appearance since Royal Ascot.
“The leading contenders from the older generation – Brando, The Tin Man and Tasleet – all have proven ability at G1 level and are sure to provide strong opposition to the favourite.”
Tony Calvin of 32Red commented: "All the expected big guns have stood their ground, so it looks like a very strong renewal in terms of depth, with three G1 winners in the line-up and a whole host of Pattern race scorers, too. In fact, it's the best recent field I have seen.
"We pushed Harry Angel out from 6/4 to 9/4 earlier in the week and the amount of rain that falls between now and Saturday will dictate where his price ends up. He remains the 9/4 market leader.
"I imagine the more rain, the keener people will be to take the July Cup winner on. Mind you, the likes of Blue Point are also unproven on soft ground, too."
32Red Sprint Cup, 32Red Sport odds: 9/4 Harry Angel; 3/1 Brando; 5/1 Tasleet; 7/1 The Tin Man; 10/1 Blue Point; 12/1 Magical Memory; 25/1 Growl, Queen Kindly, Kimberella; 33/1 Spirit Of Valour; 50/1 Cougar Mountain, Mr Lupton
The racecourse executive announced yesterday the decision to move the six-furlong 32Red Sprint Cup to 2.25pm, rather than stage the feature contest as the sixth race at 4.10pm. This is to ensure that the 32Red Sprint Cup takes place on the freshest possible ground.
The going at Haydock Park is currently Good to Soft, with a GoingStick reading of 7.8 at 6.30am today.
There was a total of 19 millimetres of rain on Monday and Tuesday this week. Yesterday, Wednesday, was dry. Further rain is forecast to arrive later today.
The order of running at Haydock Park on Saturday, September 9, 32Red Sprint Cup Day, is as follows:
1.20pm £30,000 EBF Breeders' Series 32Red Fillies' Handicap 1m 2f 100y
1.50pm £25,500 32Red Casino Ascendant Stakes (Listed Race) 1m 37y
2.25pm £260,000 32Red Sprint Cup (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 6f
3.00pm £30,000 32Red Be Friendly Handicap 5f
3.35pm £63,000 32Red Mile (Group 3) 1m 37y
4.10pm £60,000 32Red Casino Handicap 1m 6f
4:45pm £100,000 32Red.com Handicap 1m 6f
The three-day 32Red Sprint Cup Festival gets underway at Haydock Park today, Thursday, September 7 and runs through to Saturday, September 9, 32Red Sprint Cup Day.