The Mick Appleby-trained Danzeno looks ready to fulfil his abundant potential and land a top sprint success.
One of the biggest domestic sprints takes place at Haydock this weekend with the running of the six-furlong Betfred Sprint Cup (due off 3.45pm).
This year’s renewal looks wide open with no standout performer and bookmakers are going 6/1 the field. Shock winners are rare, though, and the biggest priced winner in the last runnings was sent off at 14/1 (twice), with a couple of market leaders obliging in that time. So, I’m not going to look too far down the betting for this year’s winner and I’m stopping at the Mick Appleby-trained DANZENO, who looks to have been laid out for the race.
He was quietly fancied to win last year’s renewal after a couple of wins, including a Group 3 contest at Newcastle, only to be balloted out. Instead, he went on to finish second in all-aged handicap at Doncaster followed by another second in Ascot’s Group 3 Bengough Stakes.
But he was always going to be even better this season and, while he’s yet to get his head in front in three starts, he has has show more than enough to suggest he’s got what it takes to land this. Fourth in the Group 2 Temple Stakes over 5f here on his reappearance, he was narrowly beaten into third when attempting to double-up in the Newcastle race, which he may well have won but for a bad stumble after two furlongs.
Sent off at 12/1 for the Group 1 July Cup on his next start, he again wasn’t beaten by far into fifth behind champion sprinter elect Muhaarar, when possibly given too much to do. Frankie Dettori, who rode him for the first time that day, has got off Stewards’ Cup winner Magical Memory (a 10/1 chance here) to renew the partnership and this race has likely been his prime target all season long. He seems pretty versatile when it comes to the ground and his up-and-coming trainer has been amongst the winners of late, so everything is in place for a big run.
Only Adaay is ahead of him in the betting and that horse is very much respected. William Haggas’ charge is on a roll having won three of his last four starts, including a game defeat of the reopposing Limato over course and distance on rain-softened ground, and he again showed he handled cut when landing the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes last time. That was his first try over 7f and he saw it well, which possibly suggests the drop back to 6f and the drying ground might not be ideal.
Last year’s winner G Force has not looked the same horse in three starts this season (plus he’d be the first back-to-back winner) and I’d be more concerned about the runner-up Gordon Lord Byron, who has been running perfectly respectably this summer, though he seems to struggle to get his head in front – just two victories to show from his last 16 races.
Tim Easterby has won this race twice this century with Pipalong in 2000 and the three-year-old Somnus in 2003. His Mattmu is therefore entitled to plenty of respect and especially as he arrives here on the back of a career-best effort, a third in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes behind Mecca’s Angel. He may do best of the classic generation, which has provided four of the last ten runners, but I’m sticking with the selection.
Recommendation: Danzeno 2pts @ 8/1 Coral