A total of 16 horses will go to post in Saturday’s £300,000 Group One Betfred Sprint Cup, the highlight of the Flat season at Haydock Park.
Sakhee’s Secret, who created such a favourable impression when landing the Darley July Cup at Newmarket, is the 11/10 favourite with Betfred. Trained by Hughie Morrison, Sakhee’s Secret is unbeaten in four outings this season.
He is sure to face some stiff opposition in the six-furlong contest including from French challenger Marchand d’Or, who finished fourth behind Sakhee’s Secret at Newmarket before landing the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville for the second year in succession. Red Clubs, third at Newmarket, also takes his chance on Saturday.
Asset will be partnered by Frankie Dettori and will be fitted with blinkers for the first time on Saturday. He has run some good races in defeat this year, including when third behind Soldier’s Tale in the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The gamble in the ante-post market this week has been Hellvelyn, now a 10/1 chance with Betfred, and his trainer Bryan Smart is predicting a big run from the three-year-old at Haydock Park on Saturday.
The Hambleton House handler revealed this morning: “Hellvelyn is in great form and we go there hopefully with a big chance as he’s in good order with himself.”
Smart saddled Sheikh Rashid’s son of Ishiguru to a hat-trick of wins from five starts as a juvenile last term, including the Group Two Coventry Stakes over the distance at Royal Ascot, and believes the colt has major claims after two good efforts this season.
A short-head victory from Borderlescott in the five-furlong Listed totepool Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes at Beverley on August 25 showed that Smart’s charge is firing ahead of the Group One Betfred Sprint Cup.
Hellvelyn missed the first part of the season due to a bruised foot and pulled muscle and was pitched in at the deep end on his seasonal debut in the Group One Darley July Cup at Newmarket on July 13, when he performed with great credit in finishing just over four lengths eighth of 18 behind Sakhee’s Secret.
Smart continued: “I was delighted with Hellvelyn’s run in the Darley July Cup. The horse needed the race and he has come on and won since, so we’re hoping for a big run at Haydock on Saturday.
“The ground should be fine for him and Ted Ducan rides him as usual.”
Also declared for the Betfred Sprint Cup is Al Qasi, trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam and successful in a Group Three contest at the Curragh last time out. North Yorkshire-based Kevin Ryan is triple-handed with Advanced, last year’s third Amadeus Wolf and Wi Dud while Balthazaar’s Gift, a Group Three winner at Ascot this season when he defeated Al Qasi, represents Luca Cumani.
Somnus won the Betfred Sprint Cup in 2003 and also finished a short-head second in 2004 as well as finishing fourth for the past two years. His trainer Tim Easterby also runs Fayr Jag.
John Dunlop, successful four times before with Invincible Spirit in 2002 as well as Lavinia Fontana (1994), Habibti (1983) and Runnett in (1981) is double-handed with ex-Italian performer Per Incanto and Scarlet Runner, while Mick Channon’s stable is represented by Mutawaajid, a smart performer in Australia but not seen at his best in Britain so far. Completing the field is Sierra Vista, successful in the Group Two Temple Stakes at Sandown earlier this season.
The going at Haydock Park is currently good to firm, good in places.
LATEST BETFRED PRICES
Sakhee's Secret 11/10
Marchand D'Or 13/2
Red Clubs 11/1
Balthazaar's Gift 12/1
Per Incanto 14/1
Al Qasi 16/1
Amadeus Wolf 20/1
Wi Dud 40/1
Fayr Jag 66/1
Sierra Vista 66/1
Scarlet Runner 80/1