TRAINER KEVIN Ryan is due to be triple-handed as he bids to win Haydock’s Group One Sprint Cup for a first time.
The six-furlong showpiece has a rich history – its first two renewals were won by legendary commentator Sir Peter O’Sullevan’s Be Friendly in 1966 and’67.
And with ante-post favourite Advertise a late absentee – he was withdrawn yesterday by Martyn Meade following a dirty scope – the task facing Ryan’s trio is slightly simpler.
With Aidan O’Brien’s July Cup winner Ten Sovereigns another high-profile absentee because of soft ground, the stage could be set for Ryan’s stalwart Brando – owned by Barnsley’s Angie Bailey and Peter Tingey – to go one better than last year when he chased home The Tin Man in rain-sodden conditions.
Brando showed he retains all his ability when a close second to the aforementioned Advertise in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville last month.
Hello Youmzain, four years his junior, finished third to the Frankie Dettori-ridden Advertise in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot on his latest start.
And Major Jumbo will go to post on the back of an easy Listed success at Chester.
“All three are in good form and the ground will suit each of them. It’s great to have three horses good enough to run in the race and we are really happy with all of them,” said Hambleton-based Ryan ahead of this race which forms part of the Qipco British Champions Series.
“Brando ran a fantastic race in France last time when the ground was just quick enough for him. He’s as good as ever and has won a Group One plus been runner-up in three more.
“Hello Youmzain ran a great race when third in the Commonwealth Cup after missing the break. That can happen, especially in sprints, and was a one-off. Saturday’s a different day and a different race. He’s got good course form and we’ve waited for Haydock, plus he’s only a young horse and we didn’t want to over-race him.”
Asked if Hello Youmzain had improved since the Royal Meeting, Ryan replied: “He doesn’t have to, he’s a good horse who was born with ability. Some horses develop it, but from day one he’s always been high-class.”
Of Major Jumbo, who has won or been placed in 22 of his 30 races, he added: “He has to take a step forward again but he’s very game and genuine.”
Thirsk jockey Danny Tudhope partners Dream Of Dreams – he was a fast finishing second on Sir Michael Stoute’s star sprinter to the now retired Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot – while Invincible Army represents Harrogate-born trainer James Tate and in-form jockey PJ McDonald.
Meanwhile connections of the James Fanshawe-trained The Tin Man do not rule out a repeat win, even though the seven-year-old hold-up horse has not prevailed since last year’s triumph.
Jockey Oisin Murphy, who was 24 yesterday, said: “He’s such an awesome ride to have. He’s such a cool dude. He’s been around Haydock and done it, he’s won a Group One for the last three seasons which shows how classy and consistent he is.
“He’s yet to win one this year, but I’m hoping it will all fall right once again this year and we can do it again. I personally feel that he gets through heavier ground very easily so the forecast rain will only aid his cause.”
Meanwhile Dakota Gold will bid to extend his big race winning sequence in tomorrow’s feature Garrowby Stakes at York.
Trained by Michael Dods and the mount of Connor Beasley, the horse won Ripon’s Great St Wilfrid before following up four days later in the opening race of York’s Ebor festival. However Dakota Gold will have to carry top weight in a six furlong race won by Limato 12 months ago.
Champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa will be on the sidelines for longer than originally expected.
De Sousa was injured in a fall at Chelmsford on August 23 and hoped to be back for next week’s St Leger meeting at Doncaster.
However, the Brazilian is now targeting Champions Day at Ascot next month as a more likely comeback.