Harry Angel, hugely impressive when beating Tasleet by four lengths in last year’s Group 1 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock, will bid for a repeat success in Saturday’s feature contest at the Lancashire track (4.15).
The Clive Cox-trained four-year-old handled testing ground with no problems in last year’s renewal, storming away to beat Tasleet and The Tin Man who both re-oppose on Saturday afternoon. Similar underfoot conditions are anticipated with the track having soaked up plenty of rain over the last week, and despite having faced his first major reversal when only 11th following a series of calamities when favourite for the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, trainer Clive Cox is optimistic he has the Godolphin-owned colt back to something close to his best. He will bid to become the first horse since Peter O’Sullevan’s Be Friendly in 1967 to win back-to-back renewal of this coveted six furlong sprint.
“I’m really pleased to say he’s pleased me very much at home over the last two or three weeks especially, and fingers crossed we can repeat last year, which was pretty special,” Cox told reporters.
“The ground hopefully isn’t an issue, I’m quite relaxed in that respect. My team at home have worked really hard with him and I couldn’t be more happy. He’s always been a bit fractious, but like a lot of sprinters he just wants to get on with the job.”
At Ascot in June, Harry Angel was sent off a solid 5/2 favouritedespite having been a little fractious prior to the race. He then managed to get a hind leg wedged over a board at the back of the starting stalls, losing many lengths at the start of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes won by Merchant Navy, and eventually finished 11th after Kirby eased him down inside the final furlong.
LeoVegas make Harry Angel the clear 5/4 favourite to defend his crown. Sir Dancealot and The Tin Man are both on offer at 8/1 with the same firm, ahead of James Garfield (10/1 with Coral) and Tasleet (11/1 with Betfair).
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.