Angel proves a sprint star in Haydock's Group 1 speed test

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Harry Angel –  6-4 with Ladbrokes and Coral for Qipco Champions Sprint

Winter – 8-1 with Betfred for Qipco Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes

High-class Flat action was the order of the day on Saturday with Leopardstown hosting two Group 1 contests, the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes and the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes, while Haydock staged one of the season’s leading speed tests courtesy of the 32Red Sprint Cup.

With heavy rain forecast for the Lancashire venue officials decided to bring the race forward by over an hour in an effort to obtain the best possible ground, a wise move considering the going was changed to heavy by the time the eleven runners were sent to post for the six furlong sprint.

Long time ante-post favourite Harry Angel, impressive winner of Newmarket’s July Cup on his his most recent start, proved a big drifter in early betting exchanges but confidence in the Clive Cox-trained three-year-old returned as the race approached with the son of Dark Angel going off the 2-1 market leader.

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Any doubts about Adam Kirby’s mount failing to handle the testing conditions soon proved to be unfounded as the colt made most of the running to spreadeagle his rivals for an impressive four length victory over second favourite Tasleet and Diamond Jubilee hero The Tin Man, giving the form a rock-solid look.

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With all ground now appearing to make no difference to the Godolphin-owned speed star many bookmakers are as short as evens about Harry Angel repeating the feat in Ascot’s Qipco Champions Sprint on the 21st October, although 6-4 is still currently available with both Ladbrokes and Coral.

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Trainer Aidan O’Brien made no secret of the fact that his multiple Group 1-winning filly Winter would improve for the run in the Matron Stakes after an interrupted preparation yet was still allowed to go off the even money favourite, such has proved her superiority this season, but the grey daughter of Galileo failed to withstand the sustained challenge of stablemate Hydrangea, going down by a head to Wayne Lordan’s mount.

Just where Winter heads next is open to question but she is likely to be a different proposition with that run under her belt and should connections decide to keep her to a mile the 8-1 on offer with Betfred for the Qipco Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes is likely to prove a massive price come the day.

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