• Be Friendly won the inaugural running of the Sprint Cup in 1966

  • The race was awarded Group 1 status in 1988

  • John Dunlop is the most successful trainer in the history of the race

The first Saturday in September traditionally sees the Sprint Cup being run at Haydock Park, a race that features some of the fastest horses in Europe.

The race regularly attracts top sprinters with form in the July Cup, Commonwealth Cup and Diamond Jubilee Stakes, so it worth studying the results from those.

Be Friendly won the inaugural running of the race in 1966 and there is a statue in his memory right next to the paddock at the Lancashire track. Be Friendly registered back-to-back victories in 1966 and 1967 and is the only horse ever to do so thus far.

The Sprint Cup is steeped in history with Champions including classic sprinters such as the late Sir Peter O’Sullevan’s Be Friendly, Danehill and G-Force, and three times winning jockeys Lester Piggott, Pat Eddery and Willie Carson.

The fixture is usually covered by one of the terrestrial TV channels in the UK, so keep your eyes peeled for any ITV Racing tips that we post on this blog.

Sprint Cup History

The Sprint Cup has always had big names associated with it, starting with Robert Sangster who devised the race in 1966.

The Vernon Pools magnet later became a successful racehorse owner and breeder himself and many older punters still refer to the race as the Vernons Sprint.

A Group 1 contest since 1988, the race is run over Haydock Park’s six furlongs straight course. Horses must be three years old or older to enter the biggest flat race of the season at the North West venue.

As we eluded to in the introduction, other famous names are Lester Piggott, Pat Eddery and Willie Carson, all of whom have won the race three times, but let’s not forget the equine stars.

One such horse was Regal Parade. Bought by trainer Dandy Nicholls for £16,000 as a three-year-old after being classed as “temperamental”, he won the 2009 renewal of the Sprint Cup and, overall, earned more than £500,000 in prize money for his connections.

In 2013 Gordon Lord Byron, who cost just 2,000 Euros, won his second Group 1 by landing this Haydock races prize, the first Irish-trained winner for over 40 years.

When Harry Angel won in 2018, he became the fourth successive three-year-old to land the race in what was a hot spell for that age bracket.

  • Recent winners of the Sprint Cup have raced three or more times in the current season and are popular choices in the horse racing tips.

  • Previous successes in one or more races at Group 1 to 3 level have been essential to finding the winner here.

  • Three-year-olds won this race for four successive seasons from 2014 to 2017. Hello Youmzain (2019) was also from this age group.

  • Six-year-olds The Tin Man (2018) and Dream Of Dreams (2020) have broken up the recent dominance of the youngsters over the last decade.

  • An official rating of 114 or higher is the usual requirement for success in this race.

  • Most winners have won several times at six furlongs and course form is a key factor. Over half of recent winners had raced at Haydock before with a third of them winning at the track.

  • High numbers have a slight draw advantage at Haydock, particularly in large fields when the going is soft or heavy.

Key Sprint Cup Statistics

  • Starting Price: 5 of the last 10 winners were favourites/joint favourites, 7/10 winners came from the top three in the in play betting (pre-off).

  • Last Run: 3 of the last 10 winners won on their last run before arriving at Haydock. 10/10 winners had their last run within the last 56 days.

  • 3/10 winners ran in the July Cup (Newmarket) on their last run, 1 of the 3 won, 2 placed.

  • 2/10 winners ran in the Prix Maurice de Gheest (Deauville) last time out, 0 of the 2 won, 1 placed.

  • Previous Course Form: 8/10 winners had at least 1 previous run at Haydock, 4/10 winners had at least one previous victory at the venue.

  • Rating: 10/10 winners had a rating of 111 or higher.

  • Group Wins: 9/10 winners had at least 1 win in a Group race.

Haydock Sprint Cup Winners List

  • 2020: Dream of Dreams (IRE) Oisin Murphy/Sir Michael Stoute

  • 2019: Hello Youmzain (FR) James Doyle/Kevin Ryan

  • 2018: The Tin Man (GB) Oisin Murphy/James Fanshawe

  • 2017: Harry Angel (IRE) Adam Kirby/Clive Cox

  • 2016: Quiet Reflection (GB) Dougie Costello/Karl Burke

  • 2015: Twilight Son (GB) Fergus Sweeney/Henry Candy

  • 2014: G Force (IRE) Daniel Tudhope/David O’Meara

  • 2013: Gordon Lord Byron (IRE) Johnny Murtagh/Tom Hogan

  • 2012: Society Rock (IRE) Kieren Fallon/James Fanshawe

  • 2011: Dream Ahead (USA) William Buick/David Simcock

Most Successful Haydock Sprint Cup Jockeys

No jockey has won this race more than three times. That feat is shared by Lester Piggott, Pat Eddery, Willie Carson and Bruce Raymond.

Current jockey Oisin Murphy is hot on their tails with two victories, those being The Tin Man and Dream Of Dreams. Murphy is always a popular jockey in the horse racing betting wherever he rides.

Most Successful Trainer In Sprint Cup History

John Dunlop is the most successful trainer in the history of the race with four winners. He saddled Runnett (1981), Habibti (1983), Lavinia Fontana (1994) and Invincible Spirit (2002).

Newmarket Trainer James Fanshawe often targets this race. He has taken the race twice in the last decade with Society Rock (2012) and The Tin Man (2018).

Sheikh Mohammed recorded a record fourth win in the race when Goodricke took the 2005 race. His Godolphin operation has also claimed the prize with Diktat (1999) and Harry Angel (2017).

*Credit for the main photo belongs to Charlie Riedel / AP Photo*


FIRST PUBLISHED: 31st August 2021

Steven is a sports and horse racing enthusiast and is a member of the Horseracing Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) in the United Kingdom.

He is a regular visitor to Paris Longchamp for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and a lifelong fan of the Aintree Grand National, a subject he writes about 52 weeks of the year. Last year he reached the impressive milestone of attending the last 30 renewals of the Grand National.