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32Red Sprint Cup

Top class sprinting action from Haydock tomorrow with the running of the Sprint Cup. It's a deep field with the latest sprinting sensations up against some multiple Group 1 winners in the twilight of their career.

Picking up the reins is prolific writer Dave Stephens, @davestevos.

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32Red Group 1 Sprint Cup Stakes
16.30 Haydock
Group 1, £286,000, 6f.


Prices as at time of writing, Thursday 9pm. This weekend the big race of the day on Saturday is the Group 1 32Red Sprint Cup Stakes at Haydock. All the action will be broadcast live on Channel 4 at 16.30, and this is a race you won’t want to miss. Some of the fastest sprinters in the business will be doing battle over 6f, and Limato is a warm order to give Henry Candy a second successive victory in this race, and his third win since 2010.

However, with rain seemingly on the way the 2/1 about him looks rather skinny, and Candy is unlikely to run him if there is soft in the description. One horse that won’t mind a drop of rain is Karl Burke’s flying 3yo filly Quiet Reflection, and she looks to have an outstanding chance for the Ontoawinner Syndicate. No favourite has won since Dream Ahead back in 2011, and with 17 runners due to go to post this year’s renewal looks as competitive as ever.

MAIN CONTENDERS

LIMATO
Trainer: Henry Candy
Jockey: Harry Bentley
Age: 4yo
Odds: 2/1 Bet365


Limato confirmed himself as one of the quickest horses around with a superb win in the Darley Cup. He was 2L ahead of Suedois and Quiet Reflection in that Group 1 sprint at Newmarket (6f gd/fm), but he is no banker to confirm the form if the ground eases. He has never raced on anything worse than good, and if there has been soft in the description he has usually skipped his engagements.

If the weather gods rule in Limato’s favour and it stays dry, then his chance increases exponentially. He followed that Darley Cup win with a fine effort behind Mecca’s Angel at York in the Nunthorpe (5f good), so he comes into this race in fine fettle. However, the rain forecast for both tomorrow and Saturday has to be a massive concern, and it would be advisable to see what the weather does before lumping on Limato at 2/1 with Bet365 this Saturday.

QUIET REFLECTION
Trainer: Karl Burke
Jockey: Dougie Costello
Age: 3yo
Odds: 11/2 Coral


This 3yo daughter of Showcasing has taken her owners on a journey they could scarcely have imagined possible. She has won five of her last six, including races at Listed, Group 3, Group 2 and Group 1 level. She was spectacular when landing the Group 2 Sandy Lane over course and distance, and she followed that up with a superb win in the Commonwealth at Royal Ascot. She came unstuck in third behind Limato and Suedois last time, but underfoot conditions will be much more to her liking on Saturday, once the forecast rain arrives.

With 17 runners in the field they are almost certain to go lickety split early doors, and that will suit Quiet Reflection down to the ground. Dougie Costello knows her inside out, and he knows he has to sit tight and wait for the gaps to arrive. This is racing, so those gaps aren’t certain to come and she will need a bit of luck in running. However, there will be few travelling better a furlong out and, if she gets the breaks and shows the same turn of foot that she did on her last visit to Haydock, she could be hard to beat. If the rain comes, the 11/2 on offer from Coral won’t last long, and she has an outstanding chance of gaining her second Group 1 win on Saturday.

THE TIN MAN
Trainer: James Fanshawe
Jockey: Tom Queally
Age: 4yo
Odds: 15/2 Paddy Power

For a horse that started off in handicaps off a mark of just 79 after his 3yo maiden win, this 4yo son of Equiano has come an awfully long way in a short period of time. After a handicap win off 91 last October at Ascot (6f good) he was pitched into Group 1 company over the same course and distance. This time the ground was good to soft, and he ran a huge race to be third behind Muharrar and the winner of this race last year, Twilight Son.

He returned to action with a stylish Listed win at Windsor back in May (6f gd) but he followed that up with a poor effort in the Diamond Jubilee. He was dropped back down to Group 3 company at Newbury last time out, and he scrambled home by a head from Divine. There is no way a repeat of that form will suffice here, and he needs a few of these to have an off day. He doesn’t appeal at odds of 15/2 with Paddy Power, and he is probably best watched on this occasion.

DANCING STAR
Trainer: Andrew Balding
Jockey: Franny Norton
Age: 3yo
Odds: 9/1 Betway


This 3yo daughter of Aqlaam has been a revelation, and she has gone from strength to strength in the last few months. She has progressed at a rate of knots since her handicap win on her return to action in May off a mark of just 75. She only had a nose to spare on that occasion so more improvement looked unlikely, but she has shown that she deserves a crack at this level. She won three of her next four handicaps since that win in May, and she scaled new heights when taking the 27 runner Stewards Cup last time off a mark of 102 from Orions Bow (Goodwood 6f gd/fm).

Franny Norton takes the ride for the first time, and he doesn’t get too many chances at Group 1 level these days. He will be eager to grasp the opportunity with both hands, and he is on an in form filly. A repeat of her run at Goodwood would see her make the frame, but whether she is good enough to beat the best of these is another matter. The only worry would be genuine soft ground, as she has been more impressive on a quicker surface. She has each way claims at best at odds of 9/1 with Betway.

MAGICAL MEMORY
Trainer: Charles Hills
Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Age: 4yo
Odds: 9/1 BetVictor


This 4yo son of Zebedee has won six of his seventeen starts, including races at Group 3 and Group 2 level. Those wins came at Newmarket (6f gd/sft) and York (6f gd) respectively earlier this season, and he had Suedois behind in second on the latter occasion. He has produced a couple of cracking efforts in Group 1s, none more so than when running a stormer in this last year. That was his first run at this level, and he was less than a length behind the winner Twilight Son in third place.

He seemed to relish the bit of juice in the ground that day, and his best form has come with a slight ease. He was again a close fourth behind Twilight Son in the Diamond Jubilee on his penultimate start, before disappointing slightly last time out behind Limato, Suedois and Quiet Reflection in the Darley Cup. He won’t mind any of the forecast rain, and if it comes up good to soft he is capable of producing a big run at odds of 9/1 with BetVictor.

BEST OF THE REST

Suedois has form that ties in with the majority of the market leaders, and he undoubtedly has the raw ability to go close. He will appreciate any moisture in the ground, but as his record of 6/23 shows he is quite hard to win with. He is currently a 14/1 shot with Boylesports, and he has a realistic place chance.

Old timer Gordon Lord Byron is another that could sneak into the frame. The evergreen 8yo won this race three years ago, and he is still a more than useful performer on his day. He will be staying on late in the day when others have cried enough, and if enough rain falls he is capable of outrunning his odds of 28/1 with Coral.

CONCLUSION

This has the potential to be a cracking contest, but the deciding factor could be the underfoot conditions. Limato would be impossible to oppose on good to firm, but he is more than beatable if there is any juice in the ground. Dancing Star is another whose speed could be blunted by easy ground, and for that reason she is best watched on her first crack at Pattern level.

The ones to be interested in if the ground eases are Suedois, Magical Memory and Quiet Reflection. The Burke filly is the current 11/2 second favourite with Coral, and that price will disappear if the ground eases significantly. She has a spectacular turn of foot on her day, and with the race likely to be run to suit she is a confident selection to add a second Group 1 to her trophy cabinet. For those looking for an each way alternative at a big price, Gordon Lord Byron could sneak into a place if underfoot conditions deteriorate enough.

STEVOS’ SELECTIONS:
QUIET REFLECTION WIN @ 11/2 CORAL
GORDON LORD BYRON E/W @ 28/1 CORAL

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