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Sprint Cup Preview: Danzeno looks a solid option at Haydock
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Sprint Cup Preview: Danzeno looks a solid option at Haydock

Ben Fearnley looks ahead to Haydock's Sprint Cup, set to be run on Saturday, and picks out a bet.

There is a certain sense of déjà vu surrounding this year’s Sprint Cup, with the top six-furlong sprinter of the season bypassing the race. Last year it was Slade Power who, having put up dominant performances at Royal Ascot and in the July Cup, missed the race due to a foot infection, whilst this year it is Muhaarar’s turn to skip the Haydock Group 1, with connections opting to give him a short break between the Prix Maurice de Gheest and the Champions Sprint at Ascot in October.

With Muhaarar missing, the Sprint Cup feels extremely open for a Group 1, and looks like an attractive betting race as a result. With the similarities to last year’s race evident, there seems no better place to start than with the 2014 winner, G Force, who beat the potentially-reopposing trio of Gordon Lord Byron, Sole Power and Pearl Secret. A return to that sort of level would make G Force difficult to beat, but he has been well below his best on all four subsequent starts, so is hard to recommend him as a betting option here, for all it wouldn’t be a major surprise were he to bounce back under similar conditions to last season’s race.

Last year’s runner-up Gordon Lord Byron is a most likeable, consistent type and he has an especially good record in this race, boasting a win and two seconds from three appearances. His third behind Muhaarar in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest on his penultimate start shows that, at seven, the fire still burns bright and most of his ability remains, though he will of course be vulnerable to an improver.

That improver could come from the strong crop of three-year-olds in the race, of which Adaay is probably the pick for ante-post purposes given the insistence of Limato’s connections that their gelding requires a sound surface (has bypassed a number of targets on account of soft ground). Limato, along with Tiggy Wiggy, topped Timeform’s juvenile rankings in 2014, and he has posted a couple of very smart performances this term, proving that he has trained on well. If Limato runs to the level he achieved when winning decisively on return at Ascot, or when finishing runner-up in the Commonwealth Cup, he is likely to be on the premises, though an unsettled mid-week weather forecast means that there has to be some concern as to whether he’ll line up.

Adaay actually beat Limato over C&D in the Sandy Lane Stakes in May – ending Limato’s unbeaten record in the process - and the Sheikh Hamdan-owned sprinter arrives here on the back of a career-best effort in the Hungerford Stakes when he displayed a sharp turn of foot to prevail. That victory was achieved over seven furlongs, but Adaay is clearly effective at six furlongs and is a big player, along with the same owner’s Waady. Waady was a ready winner of the Group 3 Coral Charge at Sandown last time, quickening up smartly to win, and even though his best form has been achieved over five furlongs he would still be worthy of consideration here.

The bet in the race, however, may well be Danzeno as Mick Appleby’s stable star gives the impression that he’s capable of a big performance when everything drops right. Danzeno progressed sharply as a three-year-old and signed off for the campaign with a close-up second in the Group 3 Bengough Stakes at Ascot where he was beaten a head by Lightning Moon - giving 4lb to that rival - with the pair pulling clear of a useful field. A replication of that sort of performance would see Danzeno go very close in this race, and although he is yet to reach those heights so far this season, his three efforts have not been without promise. He stumbled two furlongs out in the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle and wasn’t beaten far in third, while he shaped better than the result in the July Cup last time, making plenty of late progress after a slow break.

With Frankie Dettori looking set to take the ride again, Danzeno is worth backing to put it all together on Saturday, and he is preferred as an ante-post selection to Limato, who will be a danger to all if taking his chance.


Back Danzeno 1pt win in the Haydock Sprint Cup

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