Harry Angel and Brando heads 32 contenders going forward for the £260,000 G1 32Red Sprint Cup over six furlongs at Haydock Park on Saturday, September 9.
Godolphin’s Harry Angel (Clive Cox) is the 6/4 favourite with 32Red Sport as he bids to follow up his commanding success in a vintage renewal of the G1 Darley July Cup over the same trip at Newmarket on July 15.
The three-year-old is already a winner at Haydock Park, having smashed the six-furlong course record in the G2 Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes in May, with a time of 1m 8.56s.
Progressive five-year-old Brando(Kevin Ryan, 11/2 with 32Red), arguably unlucky when a fast-finishing third in the July Cup, bagged his first G1 last time out with a smooth display in the Prix Maurice de Gheest over six and a half furlongs at Deauville on August 6.
Caravaggio (10/1), one of six going forward for Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien, defeated Harry Angel decisively in the six-furlong G1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot but is on a retrieval mission following lesser efforts in the July Cup and Prix Maurice de Gheest.
Other star names among the confirmations include last year’s July Cup hero Limato(Henry Candy, 8/1) and G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes victor The Tin Man (James Fanshawe, 8/1), who was runner-up to Quiet Reflection (Karl Burke, 12/1) in this race last year.
Friday’s G1 Nunthorpe Stakes heroine Marsha (Sir Mark Prescott, 10/1) is also engaged, although her only success over six furlongs came in September, 2015.
G2 scorer Magical Memory (Charlie Hills, 11/1) came close to winning the 32Red Sprint Cup in 2015 when beaten narrowly by Twilight Son and Strath Burn.
The five-year-old has won two of his three starts since disappointing at Royal Ascot in June this year, notably the G3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury in July, and was last seen out finishing fourth behind Brando at Deauville.
Sam Hoskins, racing manager for owner Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds, said: “Magical Memory is going well and the plan is to head straight to Haydock for the 32Red Sprint Cup.
“Andrea Atzeni got off him at Deauville and said the six and a half furlongs stretched him a bit.
“He had beaten Tupi before over six furlongs, although I am not sure he would have beaten Brando given the way he won that day.
“Magical Memory has run well in the Sprint Cup before and deserves to take his chance again. It is going to be a really good race with Harry Angel, Brando and the likes, but you never really know with these sprints.
“It is interesting that the handicapper has dropped him a couple of pounds to 110 because he is also in the Ayr Gold Cup. If he ran well at Haydock, we could back him up two weeks later at Ayr.
“In the past, we always thought he wanted really fast ground. I don’t think he wants it as soft as it was when he won at Newbury, but I don’t think he wants it rattling quick either. Good or good to soft ground would be lovely.”
The acceptors also include Magical Memory’s stablemate Battaash (10/1), winner of the G2 King George Stakes at Goodwood, and Godolphin’s Blue Point (Charlie Appleby, 10/1) who has not raced since taking third behind Caravaggio and Harry Angel at Royal Ascot.