Betfair Sprint Cup Stakes Preview
The Betfair Sprint Cup, part of the British Champions Series, is the Group 1 feature race on Saturday. Run over the straight 6 furlongs at Haydock and due off at 4.10 pm. At the 48-hour declaration stage, there are 13 runners entered.
The ground conditions could be key in finding an angle to bet into this race.
As of Thursday morning, Haydock reports a going stick reading of 6.2, with a going description of soft, good to soft in places. With Haydock racing on both Thursday and Friday, we’ll have a very clear view of the actual underfoot conditions.
Looking at the 48-hour weather forecast there are some showers predicted to hit the Haydock area over the next few days. If the ground is riding soft, it’s a decent starting point for analysing the race.
The 2 horses who have proven in the past that their optimum underfoot conditions are soft ground are The Tin Man and Brando. Interestingly, they filled the first 2 spots in this race a year ago on soft ground.
There would be a question mark about The Tin Man’s current form and whether he is still capable of running to that level. He’s been below the form that won him this race last year in his 3 runs in this campaign. We know his best, and he’s unlikely to progress any further at the age of 7.
Brando would be a player here. His chance will be enhanced if there is a real deluge at Haydock and it comes up very soft. Another 7 year old, he seems to be holding his form well. Last time out he went down by a neck to the current favourite of this race Advertise and meets him on 2 lbs better terms on Saturday.
Advertise is untried on ground softer than good. It was good ground in France when he defeated Brando a neck last time. Should the ground ride soft on Saturday I believe Brando would have a solid chance of reversing the placings.
The best recent form coming into the race is Khaadem, who last time out won the Stewards Cup at Goodwood in taking style. There’s been a lot said about that only being a handicap, but the gulf between the top handicappers and these Group 1 runners is not as big as some portray.
Khaadem’s win at Goodwood was a big improvement in the form he had previously shown, backed up by a solid time performance. He fits the profile of an improving winner. Given he is relatively lightly raced, just 7 runs to date, and only a 3-year-old, there is potential for even better to come.
You could raise some concerns that the Goodwood win was on good ground, but it could be he’s equally good under softer conditions.
“The ground shouldn’t really matter and a bit of cut could help; it certainly wouldn’t be a problem. (…) Dark Angels seem to like a bit of juice in the ground, like Battaash, who is pretty versatile with the ground, as I think this horse will be.” Charlie Hills – Trainer.
Ten Sovereigns, the current 2nd favourite I’d have reservations about if the ground rides on the soft side.
Visually impressive over 6 furlongs when winning the July Cup, before disappointing at York when dropping back in trip. His best form was on good to firm ground and there would have to be a doubt about him being at his best on softer ground.
Likewise, Dream Of Dreams, he’s in decent form at present but the soft ground may not assist. I’m happy to overlook both at the current prices.
Of the others near the front of the market, Hello Youmzain’s form falls a little short of what’s required to win a Group 1. He is only a 3 year old and lightly raced so could improve but will need to to be involved.
Waldpfad beat Khaadem at Newbury recently on soft ground. His winning form prior in Germany had been on good ground, he is a bit of an unknown. With that said, Khaadem improved considerably to win at Goodwood and should be measured on that form. I’d expect him to reverse the Newbury form comfortably.
Invincible Army has winning form on soft ground but needs to improve to be involved here. The form of the remainder is there for all to see and they’d need to find significant improvement to factor on Saturday.
Betfair Sprint Cup Summary and current prices
In summing up, at this stage the improving Khaadem and Brando, should we see significant rain are the 2 I’m most interested in.
As I write, current best prices are Khaadem 5/1 and Brando 14/1. You can view the live odds on Oddschecker by clicking here.