GB-Ireland Preview: Brad the Brief a possible Sprint Cup upsetter
Sprinters take center stage in Britain and Ireland this week with the Sprint Cup (G1) at Haydock Park, between Liverpool and Manchester. It’s one of four six-furlong Group 1 sprints in Britain, along with the Platinum Jubilee at Royal Ascot, July Cup at Newmarket, and the British Champions Sprint on Champions Day at Ascot in October.
TwinSpires is offering its Rest of the World Bet Back offer to all who opt in on all races at Haydock on Saturday, which along with the Sprint Cup includes a Group 3 contest, a listed stakes, and a number of valuable handicaps. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Race 1, 8:15 a.m. ET, Haydock: Ascendant S., one mile, two-year-olds
#1 Naval Power has to give away three pounds to his five opponents here, but the impression he made in his 6 1/2-length victory at this listed level at Ascot last start suggested another 10 pounds might not make a difference. Look maybe at exotics with #3 Dancing Magic, #5 Lion of War, and #6 Seeking Gold.
- $2 trifecta: 1 with 3, 5 with 3, 5, 6
NAVAL POWER shows his strength with another win, to maintain his unbeaten record for William Buick, Charlie Appleby and @godolphin... 💪@Flexjet pic.twitter.com/YsppOreu7O— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) July 23, 2022
Race 2, 8:45 a.m. ET, Haydock: Superior Mile (G3), one mile, three-year-olds and up
On ratings and performance, the Queen’s #6 Reach For The Moon should stroll in. After winning the Solario (G3) last year he looked a potential classic contender, but he’s since run three consecutive second-place finishes, the most recent in the Hampton Court (G3) at Royal Ascot when at 2-5 odds.
He’s likely to be at short odds again in this eight-horse field, and given his failure to win recently, the odds aren’t appealing. The horse that beat Reach For The Moon last year in the Champagne (G2), #5 Bayside Boy, opposes him again, but the one I’m supporting is #2 Dark Shift. Winner of the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, Dark Shift put in another great race for third in a heritage handicap back at Ascot July 23. This is his first go at black type company, but he looks good enough to cope with it.
The interesting horse is #8 Triple Time, who won his last two juvenile starts but hasn’t raced since. Keep an eye on the market to gauge his chances.
- $10 win/$20 place: #2 Dark Shift
- $1 trifecta: 2, 6 with 2, 5, 6, 8 with 2, 5, 6, 8
Race 3, 9:20 a.m. ET, Haydock: Handicap, 1 3/4 miles, three-year-olds
This £100,000 handicap has drawn a solid field. The one to beat may be #9 Tamilla, winner of his last two and from the in-form William Haggas stable. He looks like a decent stayer in the making.
However, the form race for this may be the Melrose H. at York Aug. 20. Third-place finisher #4 Adjuvant meets fourth-placegetter #5 Inverness, only this time they are at level weights after Inverness conceded six pounds at York.
The other interesting runner for me is the filly #16 Sophiesticate; she has won her last two and with just 114 pounds on her back she could trouble this field.
- $10 win/place: #5 Inverness
- $1 exacta: 5, 9 with 4, 5, 9, 16
Race 4, 9:55 a.m. ET, Haydock: Old Borough Cup, 1 3/4 miles, 3-year-olds and up
With pre-post favorite #15 Soulcombe withdrawn, this field for the day’s second £100,000 handicap looks to be more open. Interestingly, a number of the runners probably want a longer trip than the 1 3/4 miles being contested here, including #3 Rajinsky, fourth to Trueshan in the 2-mile Northumberland Plate at his last start.
In these open handicaps I always like inexperienced horses that look to be on the way up, and in this field it leads me to #13 Evaluation. He won four in a row at the start of the season, moving up from a rating of 68 to 89, and though he’s been beaten at his last two runs, he put up good efforts in both and was only a nose away from winning at Sandown last time out.
#9 Contact is the most obvious other contender that’s on the way up. He won twice earlier this year and didn’t get the best passage when fifth in a Heritage Handicap at Newmarket July 8, his most recent run. He should be primed for this race.
- $10 win/place: #13 Evaluation
- $1 trifecta: 9, 13 with 9, 13 with all
Race 5, 10:30 a.m. ET, Haydock: Sprint Cup (G1), six furlongs, three-year-olds and up
It’s not often a Group 1 contest in Britain attracts 17 runners, and the fact this has done so highlights the openness of Britain’s six-furlong division. Favoritism is being contested by #7 Minzaal, #8 Naval Crown, #3 Emaraaty Ana, and #6 Kinross, but there are many chances
Minzaal (second) finished ahead of Naval Crown (fifth) in the Prix Maurice de Gheest (G1) Aug. 7, but that was over 6 1/2 furlongs and the latter will almost certainly appreciate the drop back to an even six furlongs. At that trip, Naval Crown won the Platinum Jubilee (G1) and was second in the July Cup (G1) to Alcohol Free, who is absent from this field. He will be very hard to roll.
Emaraaty Ana can be hard to follow but ran an improved race for third in the five-furlong Nunthorpe (G1) Aug. 19 and could peak for this race. Kinross continues in good form, having won the City of York (G2) over seven furlongs Aug. 20, but he may find this too short.
There are plenty of chances below them, including Phoenix Sprint (G3) winner #13 Go Bears Go and Platinum Jubilee fourth #1 Art Power, but the one I fancy for a bit of an upset is #2 Brad the Brief. He’s raced twice this year, winning a conditions race at Haydock May 7 and then toppling the good sprinter Mooniesta in the Greenlands (G2) at the Curragh May 21. If there is any easing in the ground he will be an even better chance; if it stays good to firm, Naval Crown may be the one.
Brad The Brief survived a stewards' enquiry to land the Group 2 @weatherbysltd Ireland Greenlands Stakes at @curraghrace earlier, holding on well to score under William Buick for @hpalmerracing 👏 pic.twitter.com/bYqLnxSfga— Horse Racing Ireland (@HRIRacing) May 21, 2022
Sprint Cup wagers
If good or slower:
- $10 win/$20 place: #2 Brad the Brief
If good to firm or faster:
- $10 win/$20 place: #8 Naval Crown