DUTCH ART AND AL QASI PRIMED FOR BETFRED SPRINT CUP
Trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam has given Dutch Art and Al Qasi the green light for what is shaping to be a fantastic renewal of the £300,000 Group One Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park on Saturday, September 8.
The Newmarket handler revealed today: “They’re both running on Saturday in the Betfred Sprint Cup and they’re both in good form.”
The St Gatien Stables duo are among 25 horses remaining at the five-day stage for Haydock Park’s eagerly-anticipated showcase Flat race, including the season’s sprinting sensation Sakhee’s Secret, who blitzed his rivals when taking the Group One Darley July Cup at Newmarket.
Dual Group One winner Dutch Art chased home Sakhee’s Secret in the Darley July Cup and will be bidding to turn around a half-length deficit and lay down his own claim to the sprinting crown.
The top-class Medicean colt ran another fine race on his most recent outing when runner-up to French ace Marchand D’Or (fourth in the Darley July Cup and another who is heading to Haydock Park on Saturday) in the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on August 5.
Chapple-Hyam continued: “I’m looking for a big run from Dutch Art. He’s been consistent his whole career and hasn’t ever run a bad race.
“We could do with a bit of rain because that’s all he needs, to just get his toe in. He’s been a bit unlucky on that score.”
The four-year-old Al Qasi progressed from handicap company to run sixth in the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and was successful on his latest outing in the Group Three Patrick P O’Leary Memorial Phoenix Sprint Stakes at the Curragh on August 12.
The trainer reported: “Al Qasi has been racing well and is improving, so I’m very hopeful of a big run from him too. The Group One is unknown territory really. We tried it once before but he seems to have improved since then and we’re looking for a nice run.
“He would want a bit of rain too but if we don’t get it then it is just bad luck.”
The Betfred Sprint Cup is always a treat of top-class sprinting and this year’s renewal is no different with the top four home in the Group One Darley July Cup and the winner of the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes, Soldier’s Tale, set for a showdown at Haydock Park.
Red Clubs, third in the Darley July Cup and winner of the Group Two John Guest Diadem Stakes at Ascot last season, has been in consistent form this term and the Barry Hills-trained four-year-old will be bidding to give his trainer a second victory in the Betfred Sprint Cup following Royal Applause 10 years ago.
Soldier’s Tale, trained by Jeremy Noseda, took the other British six-furlong Group One contest of the campaign, the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, by a head from Australian ace Takeover Target.
Mick Channon has two entries, with Australian Group Two winner Mutawaajid an intended runner, while the four-year-old filly Silver Touch, third in the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest before running fifth to Red Evie in the Group Two CGA Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on August 18, could take her chance if the ground is suitable.
Silver Touch landed the seven-furlong Group Three Cheveley Park Stud Criterion Stakes on soft going at Newmarket in June and connections are hoping for some juice in the ground.
Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Jaber Abdullah, who was victorious in the race as a jockey aboard Runnett (1981), Petong (1984) and Sheikh Albadou (1992), said: “Her third to Marchand D’Or was a very good run, but she wants the ground on the soft side. If she runs, then I think we will need to make plenty of use of her over that distance.
“Her last run was a bit disappointing. She was stuck out the back and never got much of a run. She travelled well and looked as though she was going to win a furlong out but didn’t find enough. She was closest at the finish and I think she may need to be ridden closer to the pace.”
The two remaining Irish entries are the Kevin Prendergast-trained Miss Beatrix and Haatef.
Miss Beatrix, winner of the seven-furlong Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes and the valuable Goffs Million last term, has not been seen since finishing down the field in the Stan James 1000 Guineas in May, but could yet line up at Haydock Park.
Prendergast revealed: “Miss Beatrix could head for the Betfred Sprint Cup. She’ll do a piece of work and then depending on how she goes, I’ll speak to the owners and we’ll make a decision on whether she heads to Haydock.
“She came back very flat and very sick after the 1000 Guineas and we had to start off again but she seems to have come back to herself now.
“She won her Group One at seven furlongs but she has speed and was third in the Group One Phoenix Stakes at the trip. When they win Group Ones it is very hard to place them unless you take on the best in Group Ones.
“Haatef most likely won’t go for the Betfred Sprint Cup.”
No Irish-trained horse has captured the lucrative prize since the Vincent O’Brien-trained Abergwaun in 1972.
The Richard Hannon-trained Asset, third in the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, represents a Highclere Thoroughbred Racing syndicate, which saw its colours carried to victory by Tamarisk in 1998.
Somnus took the Betfred Sprint Cup in 2003 before finishing runner-up in 2004 and then clinching fourth spot for the past two years. The Tim Easterby-trained seven-year-old could be joined by stablemate and Group One winner Fayr Jag.
North Yorkshire trainer Kevin Ryan has Amadeus Wolf, third in the race last season and winner of the Group Two Duke Of York Stakes over the distance at York in May, alongside fellow Group Two winner Wi Dud and Advanced.
LATEST BETFRED PRICES
Sakhee's Secret 15/8
Dutch Art 13/2
Marchand D'Or 15/2
Soldier's Tale 9/1
Balthazaar's Gift 12/1
Red Clubs 12/1
Al Qasi 16/1
Amadeus Wolf 20/1
Bygone Days 25/1
Per Incanto 25/1
Moss Vale 33/1
Silver Touch 33/1
Wi Dud 33/1
Miss Beatrix 40/1
Sierra Vista 40/1
Sonny Red 40/1
Rising Shadow 66/1
Fayr Jag 100/1
Scarlet Runner 100/1
EW: 1/5 1,2,3
BRITISH HORSERACING AUTHORITY TO ESTABLISH NEW DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PROMOTION ROLE
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the new unified governing and
regulatory body for the sport, is to establish a role of Director of
Communications and Promotion.
The new position will report to Chief Executive Nic Coward and include
responsibility for promoting racing; communications and media liaison;
public affairs; and community relations. Executive search consultants
Nolan Partners have been appointed to carry out the recruitment process for the role, which will also be advertised.
At the same time, the BHA has also announced that Alan Delmonte has
decided to leave the organisation at the end of February next year. In
the meantime, Delmonte will be the acting director. Delmonte, 34, joined the British Horseracing Board in 1996 and became Communications Manager in 2001 before being promoted to his current role as Public Affairs Director and Company Secretary in 2005.
Nic Coward said: "It is one of the BHA's core roles to promote the sport and attract new people. This is an important role, which Alan will take on until the new position is filled. He will assume immediate responsibility for overseeing our public relations and communications teams, in addition to his current public affairs responsibilities.
"I have enjoyed working with Alan over the last few months as we have
set up the new organisation. He is rightly held in high regard in the
sport, having made a substantial contribution throughout a period of
great change. The whole team will be sad to see him move on. After
nearly 11 years, I can well understand that he would now like to think
about other opportunities."
Delmonte commented: "I have spent over ten years at the heart of the
sport I love and to have contributed on so many major issues has been
deeply rewarding. The British Horseracing Authority is a ground-breaking development in sport, and I have really enjoyed playing a part in its formation and early initiatives. I know that I will leave on the best of terms and am looking forward to working with a committed team over the coming months to make further progress for racing. But I have decided that this is the time that I want to look for a different challenge."