Horse Racing

Betfair Sprint Cup Stakes betting tips and predictions

The final day of the Sprint Cup Celebration meeting at Haydock Park is the best that British flat racing has to offer this Saturday, and the Betfair Sprint Cup Stakes, a hugely competitive Group 1 affair, is the feature race of the day.

Haydock Tips
Photo by Icon Sport.

Without question the race of the weekend, as well as being one of the absolute very best sprint races in racing, the Betfair Sprint Cup Stakes is a hugely valuable Group contest, one that carries an eye-watering prize figure of £242,106 for winning connections, run over a short and sharp six furlongs. A field of high-class equine talent is set to go to post, while nearly all of the top yards in Britain are represented here, so finding the winner may not be quite as simple as the early betting suggests.

Our betting tips and predictions for the Betfair Sprint Cup Stakes

As touched on above, unlike some of the races we’ve had this week, there’s no shortage of top-tier talent here, so there’s plenty to go over, even if one horse does dominate the early market. Let’s get into it.

Our best prediction: Sacred (each-way) @ 12/1 (13.00)

Shaquille is quite clearly the main character of this show, there’s no doubting that. The colt arrives at Haydock without a blemish on his record this season after winning first time out at Newmarket, and it’s probably fair to say that he hasn’t looked back since. He’s been beaten in just one of his eight races and is now unbeaten in six, so as early quotes of 10/11 suggest, is clearly the one to beat.

Right, so Shaquille is the top-rated runner in this contest having been awarded a rating of 120 for his Group 1 win at Newmarket last time out. Julie Camacho’s speedster did it pretty well on that occasion, but can he re-produce that in what is undoubtedly a stronger contest. We know he travels well and has a mean turn of foot, but if he’s slow away again, as he has been in each of his last two races, then this could finally be the day that he gets caught out. I certainly wouldn’t want to pay to find out at odds of 10/11, so I’ll be opposing and going down the each-way route instead.

A horse not to forget about this race, certainly as far as I’m concerned, is Sacred, who has run some cracking races at this level. Having returned with a Group 3 contest at Lingfield back in May, winning with plenty in hand, he stepped forward to run superbly in the hugely competitive Group 1 Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. He perhaps got to the front a bit early on that occasion and still only lost by a neck.

Conversely, he was left with too much to do over seven furlongs at York last time out, but back at six furlongs, if top jockey Tom Marquand can get a nice early position, then this horse can be a big player. At the end of the day, he’s a proven performer, has some excellent form in the book and can absolutely be there at the death. Thanks to Shaquille’s hugely short price, he’s bigger than I think a narrow Jubilee Stakes runner-up should be and is thus worthy of each-way support.

Our each-way prediction: Regional (each-way) @ 14/1 (15.00)

Now, another runner at far bigger odds than Shaquille is a horse who I think has barely put a foot wrong this season. Since returning to win a Class 2 handicap at York from a mark of 100, which takes some doing after a 225-day break, Regional took a step in the right direction to win a Listed contest over five furlongs at Haydock in fine style, setting the course record in the process. The lightly raced then stepped forward again, finishing fifth (of 16) in a Group 1 contest at York, and it’s that effort that stands out.

He finished ahead of some very good horses, and was not beaten far at all by some real top-class performers on that occasion, while he stayed on well, suggesting that this step back in trip should suit. I’d argue that this race has no more depth, so don’t be surprised to see Ed Bethell’s runner in the picture late on. At 14/1, I’ll be on each-way.

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