Racing pundit Tony McCormick from www.irishbigracetrends.com and new racing radio station racingfm.com looks forward to this weekend’s big sprint handicap at Haydock.
Saturday will see the 46th running of the Sprint Cup at Haydock, a race with a rich and varied history whose winners include some of the outstanding racehorses of the past four decades.
Fog put paid to what would have been the third Sprint Cup in 1968, the only year it has been lost, when the first of the race’s champions Be Friendly would have bid for a hat-trick. Robert Sangster had bought a share in Be Friendly from the renowned BBC TV commentator, Sir Peter O’Sullevan, after his two victories, the first of them as a two-year-old.
The 1985 race, won by Orojova, was the last to be run on the round course with the bend into the home straight and was switched to a new six-furlong straight course and moved back to early September from its traditional November slot.
This earlier position in the calendar gave the Sprint Cup more chance of being run on truer going and the new straight course answered those who had criticised the race as being unfair.
It still took until 1988, however, for the Sprint Cup to gain its Group One status. It’s overdue promotion being assisted by a fine collection of winners including Tudor Music, the French filly Lianga, Double Form and Habibti and more recently Diktat, Goodricke, Royal Applause, Reverence and Dream Ahead.
Looking at the trends for the last eight renewals for the race run at Haydock – the 2008 contest took place at Doncaster – we should be looking for a runner, with an official rating of 109 or more, running within 60 days of their last run and ran in a Group race last time out.
2013 winner Lord Gordon Byron takes his chance again, but has not won since last year’s win, while York’s Nunthorpe and Royal Ascot’s King Stand hero Sole Power attempts to make it four in a row on turf this season and a hat trick of Group One wins.
The Eddie Lynam seven-year-old will only run if the ground is quick enough.
Henry Candy’s Diamond Jubilee fourth Music Master has been heavily backed this week, as has Bryan Smart’s Nunthorpe fourth and 1L behind Sole Power last time out, Moviesta.
“Moviesta is flying,” said jockey Paul Mulrennan, who was pleased to learn dry weather and temperatures up to 21C are forecast for Haydock this week.
The going was described as good to soft, soft in places on Sunday, and the rider added: “I haven’t sat on him since the Nunthorpe but I’ve seen him and he looks great. He’s come out of York really well.
“He won over six furlongs last year - I know it was in lesser company - but I was also second on him in a big handicap at Newmarket. “His last two runs have shown he’s coming to himself and he deserves to win a big race. It’s wide open if Sole Power doesn’t turn up.”
Jockey Jason Maguire has hailed Peddlers Cross as a ‘fantastic’ horse after Donald McCain’s 2011 Champion Hurdle runner-up was retired.
Peddlers Cross had been unbeaten until his defeat by Hurricane Fly and was expected to transfer his excellence over the smaller obstacles when sent novice chasing the following season.
Grand National-winning jockey Maguire said: “I’m sad to see him retired but on the other hand it’s pleasing to know that’s he’s fit and healthy.”