It may be late in the flat racing season, with most of the biggest meetings a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean that this exciting campaign is getting ready to just fizzle out and make way for the National Hunt racing season. In fact, the recent Sprint Cup Day at Haydock Park, which took place earlier this month, is one of the most thrilling meetings of the season.
Traditionally held over the course of three days in early September, the highlight is the final racecard on Sprint Cup Day. Eight fantastic races take place on day three, with the six-furlong Sprint Cup gaining most of the attraction from the bettors in the Smarkets horse racing betting. So, with the tone set, read on as we take a look back at this year’s renewal of Sprint Cup Day.
1:15: Ascendant Stakes (Listed Race) 1m
The day kicked off with the Ascendant Stakes, and Triple Time came out on top of the four-horse field. The 3/1 shot, ridden by Andrea Atzeni, didn’t have the best of starts, but was soon making headway. Three furlongs out, Atzeni upped the tempo, and despite facing challenges from the rest of the field, Triple Time kept on strongly inside the final furlong to beat Hafit, the odds-on favourite, by a length and a half.
1:45: Superior Mile Stake (Group 3) 1m
The first Group race of the day was up next, and Atzeni was back in the Haydock Park winners’ enclosure after guiding Artistic Rifles to victory. At 15/2, the Edward Bethell-trained horse wasn’t as fancied as some of its rivals in the five-horse field. However, the Italian jockey made all the running in the one-mile race and opened up a gap of around four furlongs. Artistic Rifle’s lead was closed in the final furlong, but he held on to beat Bell Rock by a length and a quarter.
2:20: Handicap Stakes 1m6f
9/1 outsider Golden Flame was the surprise winner of the Handicap Stakes. Jockey Joe Fanning set the pace in the saddle of the Mark Johnston-trained horse for the best part of the race. Golden Flame started to be challenged two furlongs out, but he kept on well inside the final furlong to hold off Praiano by a length and deny Atzeni his third victory of the day. After finishing 14th last time at York, even Johnston must have been surprised to see his horse romp over the line in first.
2:55: Old Borough Cup Handicap 1m6f
There was another big winner in the next race, as the Heather Main-trained Island Brave won the one-mile, six-furlong Old Borough Handicap from 10/1. It was an extremely tight race, with just a length and quarter separating first from fourth at the end. Island Brave led going into the final furlong and held on to win by half a length clear of Alright Sunshine.
3:30: Sprint Cup Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series)
The winners’ odds just kept getting bigger, with 11/1 shot Emaraaty Ana scooping the Sprint Cup Stakes crown. Given Atzeni’s form on the day, the victory for the Kevin Ryan-trained horse shouldn’t have been that surprising, but still, few expected him to get the better of the heavy favourite, Starman. Chasing the leaders two furlongs out, Emaraaty Ana gained the lead with a furlong to go, and despite Starman closing the gap, the 11/1 chance held on to win by a shorthead. It was a first Sprint Cup triumph for Atzeni.
Mondammej won the five-furlong Handicap Stakes, Bayan Athbah was victorious in the Mubarak Cup, and Sucellus rounded the card off with a triumph from 15/2 in another Handicap Stakes.