18 Horses remain in the mix for Saturday’s Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock but with a maximum field of 17 connections of Danzeno will have to wait until Friday morning to find out if they are able to carry out their role as first reserve in the event of a last minute withdrawal. King’s Stand Stakes and Nunthorpe hero Sole Power is clear favourite with all bookmakers to land his third Group 1 in a row but the mount of Richard Hughes faces no easy task as the son of Kyllachy has yet to win over the Haydock trip of six furlongs in what will be the seven-year-old’s eighth attempt.
At a best price 7-2 with Bet365, Stan James and Betfair Sportsbook the five furlong specialist is passed over on this occasion from a value perspective in a contest that is a lot more open than the betting would suggest. Second favourite at a top price 11-2 with Skybet is last year’s impressive winner Gordon Lord Byron who will need to improve on this season’s form if the mount of Wayne Lordan is to record back-to-back victories for trainer Tom Hogan and is another who makes little appeal at current odds.
July Cup runner-up Tropics is in fine form at the moment and should go well again although the six-year-old has yet to prove he is up to winning at the highest level, a remark which also applies to the well-supported G Force and Extortionist. With the ground drying out all of the time conditions may be too quick for the Qatar pair of Hot Streak and Pearl Secret making the two to concentrate on Music Master and Moviesta. The latter represents good each-way value at the 25-1 generally available after couple of solid recent efforts but the vote goes to the Henry Candy-trained Piccolo colt at the 8-1 on offer with William Hill.
Since dropping to six furlong the lightly-raced four-year-old has done little wrong and was particularly eye-catching when fourth behind Slade Power in Royal Ascot’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes, a run which was followed by a Newbury victory in which the 3-1 favourite showed a fine turn of foot to get up close home after failing to get a clear run. With the trip and the ground likely to prove ideal at the weekend the mount of Dane O’Neill is take to provide his shrewd trainer with a second victory in the race following Markab in 2010.