Contenders At The Haydock Sprint Cup
Fans of equestrian events and horse racing are used to the fact that the majority of high-profile events take place in the spring and early summer seasons. However, there are still contests well worth tuning into later in the year. This coming weekend, racing fans will be able to enjoy an early autumn treat in the form of the Sprint Cup.
An annual Group 1 race that takes place at the Haydock Park, the Sprint Cup actually has a place among the historic and beloved races of England, as 2014 will mark the event’s 46th running. The event brings some of the sport’s toughest competitors together for a spring-style three-day festival, culminating on Saturday in the race for which the weekend is named, a six-furlong affair that will see a champion crowned.
For those planning on tuning in this weekend, here’s a look at some of the contenders for the top prize.
Probably the most recognizable name in the Sprint Cup field, Sole Power leads the title winner odds at Betfair and is a relatively strong favourite to come out on top this Saturday. With three consecutive wins (including at Ascot in June and more recently at York), the champion is riding a good deal of momentum into the contest. However, in analyzing Sole Power’s status as the betting favourite, Betfair writer Joe Rendall preached caution as well. Sole Power is accustomed to shorter races and has had multiple long breaks between races this year, which can make form difficult to guess at. Rendall concludes that though Sole Power is clearly the best horse in the field, there are “doubts about his energy reserves,” and he’s far from a sure thing.
Gordon Lord Byron
Last year, Gordon Lord Byron (then a 5-year-old) improved on a 2012 runner-up finish by winning the Sprint Cup handily. It was a dominant performance that fans of this particular racing weekend will recall. It is certainly being taken into account in 2014 as well, with Gordon Lord Byron coming in as the second betting favourite to take the Cup. In fact, it wouldn’t be outlandish to call Gordon Lord Byron a co-favourite, though the oddsmakers appear to disagree. As Racing Post notes, Sole Power has yet to win a major race over a six-furlong distance, which could give Gordon Lord Byron an experience edge in Saturday’s race.
The truth is, there’s not a clear contender beyond the top two at the Sprint Cup, and the real thrill will be in seeing whether the defending champion or the most talented horse prevails. But G-Force is still a horse to watch. A look at this 3-year-old’s profile and past races will show that G-Force has a great deal of potential. Although he’d be a very unexpected winner this coming weekend, he’s likely a future champion, and he could place in the top three on Saturday.
Naturally, as with any major weekend horse racing event, there is plenty to enjoy besides the Sprint Cup championship race. There will be smaller races and a range of festivities throughout the weekend, beginning on Thursday. But for those looking to tune in to a quality Group 1 race in September, keeping an eye on these contenders on Saturday should be fun!