Sprint Cup Stakes Betting Tips & Predictions – Haydock, Saturday 7th September 2019

Early September each year sees Haydock racecourse play host to its biggest flat race of the season, as the speedballs go to post for this pedal to the metal sprint event. Established in that fine footballing year of 1966, and a Group 1 since that not so fine football year (for England at any rate) 1988, it remains one of the best events of its type of the British Flat season.

Always a big draw for the British and Irish sprinters, this year’s edition has attracted a runner from a little further afield, and we fancy he could go very close to landing the prize.

Top Tips

Waldpfad each way @ 14/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

Six furlongs is the trip for this Group 1 contest set to be run on soft ground this year and it is offering £300,000 in total prize money.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Soft 6f Group 1 £300,000 13 Runners 1/5 1-3

Recent Winners

With four wins in the past eight years, and a level stakes profit of 4.5pts, the favourites have fared pretty well here of late. Not that this is always an easy one to call. We have also had three winners at double figure odds over this period.

Youth has also been favoured here, with four of the past five editions having fallen to a three year old.

2018 The Tin Man 7/1 James Fanshawe Oisin Murphy
2017 Harry Angel 2/1 Clive Cox Adam Kirby
2016 Quiet Reflection 7/2 Karl Burke Dougie Costello
2015 Twilight Son 10/1 Henry Candy Fergus Sweeney
2014 G Force 11/1 David O’Meara Daniel Tudhope

Back Goddess For Gold

An excellent renewal is in store this year, with top class challengers from Britain – including the defending champion The Tin Man – Ireland and Germany. The current soft ground at the track does make things a little more difficult however, with most of the main protagonists having shown their best form on a quicker surface.

Aidan Top Reign For First Time?

There aren’t too many Group 1 prizes which Aidan O’Brien doesn’t have in the Ballydoyle trophy cabinet, but the multiple Irish Champion is (a little surprisingly) yet to win this prize. Aidan will be hoping that all changes in 2019 as he sends a trio of talented three year olds into battle. The fillies, Fairyland, and in particular, So Perfect, do make some each way appeal. But, on the formbook at least, O’Brien’s best chance is July Cup winner, Ten Sovereigns.

Sitting on a mark of 122, this son of No Nay Never is three pounds clear of the field, and also benefits from the two pound weight allowance received by the three year olds. Boasting overall form figures of 11141 at this six furlong trip – including two wins in Group 1 company – he looks well worth his prominent place in the market. Scintillating when mastering Advertise in the July Cup on good to firm, he was behind that rival in a good to soft Commonwealth Cup, and as such the ease in the ground here has to be of some concern.

Advertise An Easy Sell

Next best in on the ratings is the aforementioned Advertise from the yard of Martyn Meade. In common with Ten Sovereigns, this son of Showcasing has attempted trips of up to one mile, but with overall form figures of 2211111 at six furlongs, it seems that this is very much his ideal distance.

A triple Group 1 winner, with the latest of those wins coming when holding off the re-opposing Brando at Deauville last time out, he is undoubtedly one of the class acts in the field. The ground would be something of an unknown should it come up really soft, but he has won on good to soft, and the fact that he finished a good staying on second to Too Darn Hot over seven furlongs last season augurs well for his chances should this turn into a real test at the distance.

Wald To Show The Way For Germany

Of the outsiders in the field, one who may just be a little underestimated in the market is the German raider, Waldpfad. This son of Shamardal has never finished outside of the first two in four starts for his current trainer and is a perfect one from one in this country. That win came when defying a penalty in impressive style to land a Group 3 at Newbury in July, with the likes of The Tin Man, Donjuan Triumphant and Khaadem well beaten off in behind. This five year old looked to really thrive on the good to soft going that day and should not be underestimated.

Final Verdict: Waldpfad each way

We can’t really argue with Advertise’s place at the head of the market, and he ought to go well for Frankie Dettori. Alternatively, if Ten Sovereigns can bounce back to his July Cup best, then he may be the one to lead them home. Overall though we just prefer an each way play in the race.

Waldpfad seems to be discovering his career best form as a five year old, and really impressed us at Newbury. He dismissed Khaadem with the minimum of fuss that day, and yet can be backed at more than three times the price of the Charles Hills runner here.


Haydock Park Raceourse
gerald murphy, flickr

Haydock Park hosts top quality meetings during both the National Hunt and flat racing seasons. Jumps highlights at the Merseyside course include the Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle, the Betfair Chase and trials for big races such as the Champion Hurdle and Grand National. Haydock’s flat course hosts well regarded contests ranging from the 5 furlong Temple Stakes to the 1 mile 3 furlong 200 yard Lancashire Oaks but it’s the Sprint Cup that really stands out.

Run over just 6 furlongs, the Sprint Cup is the sole Group 1 race held at Haydock during the flat racing season, having been promoted to that level in 1988. By that stage the race was already over 20 years old (it was first run in 1966) and was held in very high regard by fans and those in racing but it has been held in even higher regard since that promotion to the top level and has subsequently been won by some very high class sprinters.

Autumnal Ground Can Give Outsiders a Chance

Rain on Grass

The Haydock Sprint Cup saw an even bigger boost to its prestige when it was included in the inaugural British Champion Series in 2011. As with the other five races in the Sprint Division before the British Champions Sprint Stakes, the Sprint Cup is a very important race but it is a little different compared to the others.

The reason for that is that the Sprint Cup is run in early September. Whereas the going is almost always good or firm in the big races run during the summer, underfoot conditions can often be rather softer at Haydock as the flat racing season approaches its closing stages. That demands a certain amount of stamina on behalf of the leading contenders, especially when the rain falls in the days leading up to the Sprint Cup.

The Sprint Cup has become a much more straightforward race since 1986 when Haydock increased their home straight to 6 furlongs and therefore got rid of the early bend that the field had to contend with. However, the slower ground means that it sometimes struggles to attract the stars that turn out for the other British Champion Series sprints. Whilst that poses some problems for the event organisers it does mean that punters have the chance to win big as winning favourites are relatively rare in the Sprint Cup.

Younger Horses Should Not be Written Off

The Haydock Sprint Cup was originally open to two-year-olds. Be Friendly (the first ever Sprint Cup winner) and The Blues were the only two-year-olds to win before the minimum age of competitors was raised to three in 1994. Since then, the youngest horses have had a very good record whilst those over five have struggled, as we can see below.

Chart Showing the Ages of Sprint Cup Winners Between 1998 and 2018

It is important not to take that stat in isolation. The three and four-year-olds who have won the Sprint Cup since 1994 all arrived at Haydock with their fair share of experience. Horses without at least two wins over 6 furlongs historically struggle to win the Sprint Cup. Moreover, those with previous experience at Haydock have a real edge, especially if they’ve dealt with the ground conditions found on the day of the race before.

With the caveat that many high quality horses get pulled from the Sprint Cup when the ground gets to the softer side of good, the trends show that it’s worth siding with horses who have already won at Group level. It always takes a high class performance to win this race so it’s little surprise that horses who have shown they can compete with some of the best sprinters around have a strong record.

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