UK: 18+ USA: 21+ | Begambleaware.org | T&Cs apply | Play Responsibly
A fortnight on from the York Ebor meeting, festival flat racing is back, and once again, the action comes our way from up north, where the Sprint Cup Celebration takes place at Haydock Park Racecourse in Merseyside. Starting on Thursday and ending on Saturday, we have three high-quality days of racing to get excited about.
The Sprint Cup Celebration is not just Haydock Park’s premier flat meeting, but is one of the best meetings post Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood. We won’t necessarily see the same level of top-class horses, certainly not in abundance, but what we will see is plenty of interesting handicap races, while there will also be some hugely competitive betting events for punters to get stuck into.
Ahead of the meeting getting underway on Thursday afternoon, it’s time to delve into the form book and see if we can sniff out any selections that offer value for money. Let’s get into it.
Sprint Cup Day 1 Tips
On the opening day of the meeting, there’s one horse who catches the eye in the early betting. That horse is as follows:
16:40 – British EBF Reprocolor Premier Fillies’ Handicap: Sapphire Seas @ 10/3 (4.33)
The standout race on day one will be the British EBF Reprocolor Premier Fillies’ Handicap, which is an interesting little Class 3 handicap run over one mile and two furlongs.
We have what can only be described as a William Haggas hotpot here in the form of Royal Mila, who is likely to go off as a strong favourite. The three-year-old is the most lightly raced horse in the race having run just two times before, though she comes here unbeaten having scored at both Goodwood on debut and Windsor last time out. With further improvement likely, she rates as a major player for her top yard, that’s for sure. However, we have seen a few such fancied horses overturned in races of this nature this season, so we shouldn’t be too surprised if something else gets the job done here.
For my money, Sapphire Seas could be the one to overturn the likely strong favourite. The mount of William Buick also arrives at the Merseyside venue off the back of consecutive wins. She hasn’t raced for 155 days, so will need to prove her race readiness, though she won with plenty in hand at Kempton last time out, winning off the back of a near 70-day break, while trainer Charlie Appleby has his string in fine fettle right now, operating at a 40% strike rate over the last fortnight.
Moreover, the Godolphin runner proved more than Royal Mila last time out, beating a very smart performer in the form of Crack Of Light, who has since gone on to win a Listed contest in France and is now rated 102. That form is hard to ignore and at odds of 10/3, she’ll do for me.
Sprint Cup Day 2 Tips
On the second day of the meeting, the 15:45 race might just be worth attacking, and it’s once again the mount of William Buick that appeals most.
15:45 – Arete Foundation Handicap: Canoodled (each-way) @ 13/2 (7.50)
The early favourite for this Class 3 contest is Persuasion, who comes here off the back of pleasing win at Thirsk last time out. The gelding did it well on that occasion, beating what was a decent little Class 2 field. On that strength of that run, he must be respected, though a 5 lb penalty makes life tougher here, as does the fact that he’ll have to give away weight all round.
At bigger odds, Canoodled rates as a nice play. The Ed Walker five-year-old has been on an upward curve since the back end of last season and has continued to move forward this time around. She thrived when stepped down to this trip at Newmarket last time out, winning with plenty in hand from a mark of 78. That run suggests that a rise in the weights and a step up in grade may not be enough to stop the mare from once again going well for a trainer who has a good record at Haydock. The fact that Willaim Buick retains the ride could be telling.
Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!