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Amadeus Wolf among 11 bidding for Betfred Sprint Cup glory

Amadeus Wolf will attempt to land his first victory of the season in Saturday's Group One £300,000 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock, England, for which 11 runners have been declared.

The Kevin Ryan-trained three-year-old has run with great credit all year in top sprint company and produced another cracking performance last time, when two lengths second to Reverence in the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York on August 24.

Ryan said this morning: 'He seems to have come out of the Nunthorpe in great from and is bouncing. Two days afterwards he was bucking and squealing. He's run consistently well all year and has got stronger as the year has gone on.

'It's hard for three-year-olds taking on the older horses earlier on in the season, but he's a very good horse and is improving.

'He's a typical top class horse and seems to handle any ground. He's tough and genuine and is very well going into the race.

'On the day we just hope that everything pans out well, and it would be great to get that first win on the board. They're all good horses in the Betfred Sprint Cup, but my fellow is well capable of winning it.'

Nunthorpe Stakes winner Reverence, owned by Haydock Park Director Gary Middlebrook and his wife Lesley, will be attempting to become the third horse to complete the Nunthorpe Stakes/Betfred Sprint Cup double in the same season following on from Habibti (1983), Ajdal (1987) and Dayjur (1990). In more recent years, both Oasis Dream (2003) and La Cucaracha (2005) finished second at Haydock Park following their York success.

The sponsors make Amadeus Wolf the 7/2 second favourite behind his York conqueror Reverence, priced at 11/4. They then bet 7/1 Quito, 8/1 Steenberg, 12/1 Somnus, Balthazaar's Gift and Red Clubs, 14/1 Excusez Moi, 20/1 Miss Sally, 25/1 Kodiac and 33/1 Philharmonic.

Kirkland Tellwright, Haydock Park's Clerk of the Course, reported the current going on the straight course to be SOFT, HEAVY IN PLACES.

He reported: 'We had a very wet night, with 20 millimetres of rain since yesterday evening, and the forecast is for further scattered showers. There is a possibility that the ground will turn heavy for Saturday.'

The Betfred Sprint Cup is the highlight of the Flat season at Haydock Park and the Group One sprint over six furlongs is run for the 40th time at the North-West track on Saturday, September 2.

The race regularly attracts the very best horses from across Europe and is usually a major factor in deciding each year's champion sprinter.

In its early days, the Sprint Cup was held on the final day of the Flat turf season in early November and was sponsored by the Sangster family's Vernons Pools company.

The inaugural running was held on November 5, 1966, and fell to Be Friendly, trained in Epsom by Cyril Mitchell and owned by the BBC's 'Voice of Racing' - Peter O'Sullevan. Be Friendly was victorious once again in 1967 and remains the only dual victor to date. He was cruelly denied a chance to score three times by fog in 1968.

David Robinson was one of the leading owners of the 1960s and he enjoyed two victories with Tudor Music (1969) and Green God (1971). Both horses were trained by Newmarket-based Michael Jarvis, who also triumphed with Petong in 1984.

Legendary Irish trainer Vincent O'Brien sent out the first overseas-trained winner in 1972 in the shape of Abergwaun, owned by Charles St George and ridden by Lester Piggott, while in 1975 the filly Lianga, trained in France by Argentinian Angel Penna, became the first Gallic scorer, coming home in the famous blue silks of Daniel Wildenstein. Indeed, Lianga was the first ever French-trained runner at Haydock Park.

The Sprint Cup was switched from the final day of the season to the first Saturday in September in 1979 when Double Form, trained by Fulke Johnson Houghton, was successful. Double Form became the first horse to win three of Europe's premier sprints - the King's Stand Stakes at Ascot, the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp, France, and the Sprint Cup - all in the same season.

Moorestyle in 1980 was another outstanding Sprint Cup winner - subsequently being crowned Horse of the Year - the first sprinter to achieve this accolade since the award was inaugurated in 1965.

Flying filly Habibti, trained by John Dunlop and ridden by Willie Carson, was another impressive winner in 1983 - also being named as Horse of the Year.

Carson was also successful on Boldboy (1977) and Dayjur (1990), making him one of the jockeys who have enjoyed three successes in the Sprint Cup - the others are Lester Piggott and Pat Eddery.

Orojoya in 1985 rewarded the late Robert Sangster, who also served as a Haydock Park steward, for his sponsorship of the contest when just prevailing under New Zealand-born Brent Thomson by a short-head from Primo Dominie.

A unique feature of the Sprint Cup in its formative years had been that it was held on a round course. However, a straight six-furlong course was opened at Haydock Park in 1986 and this has been used ever since.

Michael Stoute and Walter Swinburn teamed up for success in two consecutive runnings, first with Green Desert (1986) and then Ajdal (1987).

Dowsing, owned by Khalid Abdulla, trained by Jeremy Tree and ridden by Pat Eddery, became the first winner of the Sprint Cup when it was upgraded to Group One status in 1988. A year later the same owner, trainer and jockey teamed up for success again with Danehill, who went on to terrific success as a stallion both in Europe and Australasia.

Dayjur was another outstanding winner in 1990 and went on to be crowned European Champion Sprinter that season. After his Haydock success, he was unlucky to be narrowly defeated in the Breeders' Cup Sprint on dirt at Belmont Park, USA, after jumping a shadow in the closing stages.

Polar Falcon gave French trainer John Hammond the first of his three successes in 1991 - Hammond enjoyed further victories with Cherokee Rose in 1995 and Nuclear Debate in 2001.

Sheikh Albadou in 1992 improved on Dayjur's effort when he landed both the Sprint Cup and the Breeders' Cup Sprint, scoring at Churchill Downs.

One of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing's syndicates enjoyed a Group One win in 1998 in the Haydock race with Tamarisk, trained by Roger Charlton, with the Maktoum family's Godolphin operation succeeding with Diktat in 1999.

In addition to John Hammond, three other trainers have enjoyed multiple success in the Betfred Sprint Cup in recent years.

John Dunlop scored with Lavinia Fontana (1995) and Invincible Spirit (2002), Yorkshireman Tim Easterby triumphed with Pipalong (2000) and Somnus (2003), while Roger Charlton has also enjoyed a brace of victories with Tamarisk (1998) and Tante Rose (2004).

Dunlop has won a total of four Betfred Sprint Cups - the Arundel handler's other winners were Runnett (1981) and Habibti - and he is the race's most successful trainer.

Somnus came very close to becoming the first dual winner since Be Friendly, with the tough gelding only finding Tante Rose a short-head too strong in a thrilling finish in 2004.

Last year's race provided a fairytale success for David Loder in his final season as a trainer, with Goodricke landing the spoils by a length from La Cucaracha.

The 2006 Group One Betfred Sprint Cup, generously sponsored for the first time by the world's largest independent bookmaker, is the highlight of a superb seven-race card at Haydock Park on Saturday, September 2, worth over £480,000 in total prize money.


 

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