Haydock’s William Hill Sprint Cup is one of the richest races for speedsters in Europe, yet such is the dearth of sprinting talent that the hot favourite to claim the prize on Saturday is Proclamation, who last ran over a mile in the Sussex Stakes. That the bookies are running scared of this horse is no surprise, his last to first finishing bolt at Goodwood advertised his class.
Drizzle up north will have helped his chances but the odds look cramped. Three-year old hot pots have a habit of disappointing in this race (One Cool Cat was 6/4 and seventh last year and 8/11 Oasis Dream was runner up in 2003). Proclamation is a fine horse but if he dwells in his stall as he did at Goodwood, he will be beaten by the specialist sprinters. From a betting perspective he is no value.
The beauty of this race is that despite 17-runners competing most can be ruled out. The majority are handicappers competent in their own sphere but surely destined to be outclassed here. Patavellian, Ashdown Express, Orientor (apologies to connections) are included in this category.
Proclamation should be taken on with an equally unexposed horse. There has been a huge gamble on Gift Horse, backed from 8/1 into 3/1. Dandy Nicholls has his team in rare form but the horse would need to find about 20lbs of improvement on official ratings. At 12/1 Etlaala fits the bill. His third in the Darley July Cup was his best form to date and though he often flatters to deceive, racing promisingly before fading, as a three-year old he may just be warming to his task. A low draw should also help.
At the other end of his racing career, six-year old Mamool is strongly fancied to gain compensation for an unlucky run last time in the group three 32Red.com September Stakes at Newmarket. Kerrin McEvoy has been Frankie Detorri’s more than able super-sub for most of the season but the ride he gave this horse in the Geoffrey Freer was a horror show. Mamool was the moral victor that day and can be the actual winner today.
2:15 Haydock Etlaala (each-way)
4:05 Newmarket Mamool (win)