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Sweet sixteen set for Sprint Cup battle

1 Sep 2011

Sixteen horses have been declared for Saturday's Betfred Sprint Cup on Haydock Park's biggest raceday of the year, including a quartet of six furlong stars from whom the winner is highly likely to come.

Hoof It won the Stewards’ Cup in a canter in July, but he can he prove himself at Group 1 level on Saturday after a disappointment at York last month?  Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

A top class field of 16 sprinters will go to post for Saturday’s Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park, the final sprint race in the Series prior to the big finale, the QIPCO British Champions Sprint on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 15 October.

Only the sick Deacon Blues is absent from the 17 horses left in the race on Monday.

Hoof It, who had to be supplemented for the race at a cost to golfer Lee Westwood and his co-owners of £13,000, and Dream Ahead top the latest, wide-open betting markets at around the 9-2 mark, closely followed by Society Rock and Bated Breath.

After looking so impressive in his Darley July Cup victory, where he defeated Bated Breath far more easily than the half length winning margin would imply, Dream Ahead has to atone for a lacklustre display in the Prix Maurice De Gheest at Deauville on his subsequent outing.

Surely that can’t have been his true running and hopes will be high that he can turn around the form with the runner-up in France, Society Rock, who had previously run out a clear cut winner of the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Golden Jubilee and Darley July Cup are usually the best guides to the year’s top sprinters, but Hoof It, who made such a deep impression when sluicing up in the Stewards’ Cup despite carrying the welter burden of 10 stone his back, has to be taken very seriously.

It all happened too quickly for him in the five furlong Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York last month, his first run at Group 1 level, but six furlongs on quick ground, which he will get on Saturday, has always looked ideal for the fast improving four-year-old.

Of the rest, Frankie Dettori’s mount, Delegator, cannot be discounted and nor can Wootton Bassett, who has yet to live up to his unbeaten exploits last season.

However, it would be a surprise if the winner did come from the four market principals, but deciding which one might emerge triumphant is very tough to call.

On the ratings, it has to be Dream Ahead, but Hoof It may yet prove to be a champion and both Society Rock and Bated Breath have the capabilities to win.

It promises to be a fascinating contest – if you can’t make it to Haydock Park for their biggest Flat raceday of the year, make sure you watch the big race on Channel 4 at 3.35pm.

For the full race page, CLICK HERE.