The three day Betfred Sprint Cup meeting got off to a thrilling start as Romantic Settings got up to beat Elhaame in a tight photo to the Betfred Bonus King Bingo Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Maiden Stakes. The official distance was a nose but the runner-up led deep inside the final furlong and was only headed at the post. He was improving vastly on his previous two racecourse appearances. Romantic Settings, however, did deserve to get her head in front after very creditable efforts in defeat just recently.  Another Cocktail, who was extremely edgy in the paddock, stayed on strongly to take third in the dying strides.

Set The Trend repelled the sustained challenge of Yaa Wayl in the feature race of the day, the Betfred ‘4X The Odds On Lucky 31’s’ Conditions Stakes. The six year-old has been running in some high class races and today’s event was a marked step down in grade. With stamina confirmed, Danny Tudhope always had the winner at the head of affairs and won by a neck. Mac’s Power took third having been forced to switch right in the closing stages.

Despite his SP of 50/1, Bapak Sayang made Philip Makin’s journey to Haydock worthwhile. He fairly ran away with the Betfred Mobile Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Maiden Stakes, battling on bravely when headed by the well supported favourite Huntsmans Cross. Indeed the latter appeared to be travelling by far the strongest entering the final furlong, but the winner found more and was on top by almost three lengths. This was another big priced Kevin Ryan winner at Haydock this season, following Hamza who won at 33/1 in May, and Inetrobil who landed the Cecil Frail Stakes in June at 20/1.

Whilst Calaf held off the late surge of Humungosaur and therefore justified favouritism in the Betfred ‘Still Treble Odds On Lucky 15’s’ Selling Stakes, Brockwell made it three course wins in the Betfred King’s Regiment Cup Handicap. Richard Kingscote had his mount in the lead from an early stage and they quickened clear inside the final furlong. Ustura was second for Godolphin and ran on best of the rest, in spite of being shuffled back and looking one paced throughout the contest.

A Little Bit Dusty was the easiest winner of the afternoon in taking the final race of the day, the Betfred ‘5X The Odds On Lucky 63’s’ Handicap for Gentleman Amateur Riders. He was another to make all and scored for Freddie Mitchell.

Racing returns to Haydock tomorrow, with the first race scheduled for 2pm. Saturday sees the Betfred Sprint Cup take centre stage and a high-class field of 15 was declared for Haydock’s premier flat race earlier today.

James Muir