HARRY ANGEL (Best price 11-4) arguably faces the stiffest examination of his career in the Sprint Cup with conditions at Haydock likely to favour three-mile staying chasers rather than the fastest horses in training.
Understandably perhaps, the bookmakers have been keen to lay a horse who displayed significant improvement this year on a sound surface, while the mud-loving Brando and The Tin Man, runner-up in this race 12 months ago, have attracted support.
However, Harry Angel, scintillating winner of the July Cup when last seen, coped well with plenty of ease in the ground at Newbury as a juvenile when routing his six rivals in the Mill Reef Stakes and I’m not certain any horse is likely to truly enjoy the state of today’s track which must surely ride heavy by post time if the forecast is correct.
The likes of The Tin Man, Growl and Tasleet have all recorded excellent efforts on a soft surface however I would rather side with the proven class of Harry Angel and hope he skips through the ground for another Group One success.
With an unbeaten track record to defend, RAISING SAND (Best price 14-1) could be the one to side with in a typically ferocious handicap. Well thought of earlier in his career, the selection is beginning to justify the hype and won well on Shergar Cup day despite racing wide throughout. The drop back from a mile is a slight concern, but Raising Sand has now won both of his track starts and won’t mind if there is significant rain. His form took another boost yesterday when Leader Writer scored and the ground should be no issue.
SQUATS (Best price 6-1) always seems to come good in the autumn and he rates a major player now that he has bounced back to form with an impressive Newbury win last time. Granted this track and some cut in the ground, the selection is seemingly always on the scene in a race of this nature and is worth a play with some firms offering five places.