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Emaraaty Ana is Sprint Cup hero

Emaraaty Ana held the late thrust of hot favourite Starman to win a thrilling race for the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock.

The five-year-old gelding, trained by Kevin Ryan, showed his 40-1 second to Winter Power in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York last month was no fluke as he took the Group One showpiece over six furlongs.

Art Power burst out of the stalls and soon set up a decent lead, with Supremacy leading the pack and Emaraaty Ana close to the pace.

Emaraaty Ana (11-1) picked off Art Power over a furlong out and set sail for home.

Starman, who was under pressure some way out, stayed on strongly – but Emaraaty Ana held on by a short head. Chil Chil was three-quarters of a length back in third, with Happy Romance fourth.

Ryan said: “He deserves it, we’ve started riding him patiently and the horse has come alive for doing that.

“I’ve had huge faith in the horse and I’m delighted he’s done it. He’s as good a horse as I’ve trained – his work in a morning is brilliant.

“All my team at home have done a great job, we’re delighted.”

The winner was introduced at 16-1 for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, and Ryan signalled Del Mar as the target – for a race he won last year with Glass Slippers.

He added: “I think that’s where you have to go now.”

The prestigious victory brought up a treble for Andrea Atzeni after his earlier wins on Triple Time and Artistic Rifles.

The rider said: “He’s a horse that everyone kept faith in.

“I can’t tell you what it means to me to win another Group One, it’s been a couple of years since I won one.

“Things can go a bit quiet, but it’s all about the horses and I had a good one underneath me.”

A dejected Ed Walker said of Starman: “There’s no excuses, it’s disappointing.”

Starman to face 10 rivals in Sprint Cup

Starman is set to face 10 rivals in his bid to add Haydock’s Betfair Sprint Cup to his July Cup success.

Ed Walker’s four-year-old will try to become the third horse this century to win both races in the same season, after Dream Ahead (2011) and Harry Angel (2017).

The Archie Watson-trained Glen Shiel, runner-up to Dream Of Dreams last year, is also in the line-up – along with Tim Easterby’s Art Power, who was back in fourth in 2020.

Garrus, winner of Deauville’s Prix de Meautry on Sunday, makes a quick reappearance – as does David O’Meara’s Summerghand, who took the Hopeful Stakes at Newmarket last weekend.

Godolphin hopes rest with the Charlie Appleby-trained Creative Force, who was fifth to Starman in the July Cup.

Clive Cox is two-handed with Supremacy and Nando Parrado, while Richard Hannon’s filly Happy Romance is the sole three-year-old in the field.

Kevin Ryan’s Emaraaty Ana and Chil Chil, from Andrew Balding’s yard, complete the 11 contenders.

Last year's Sprint Cup runner-up Glen Shiel will be back to try again this weekend
Last year’s Sprint Cup runner-up Glen Shiel will be back to try again this weekend (Dan Abraham/PA)

The three withdrawals at the 48-hour final declaration stage were Brando, sole Irish-trained entry Gustavus Weston and Vadream.

Starman’s regular ride Tom Marquand believes his mount holds all the aces.

He said: “Starman showed the best sprinting form in Europe this year when he won the July Cup, and if he can reproduce that he’s going to be hard to beat. I thought he did particularly well there too – he was up against more experienced rivals, and it was only really his second proper race, because he barely had to do anything to win his races last year.

“Gaps closed on him that day, and he’s not the most nimble, so you have to give him credit for that too. Once he hit the front he was very good, and on that rising ground at Newmarket a horse who is going as well as he was can really put in a late shift. Starman flew, and to hit the line as well as he did was impressive.”

Starman was only third in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville last month, but Marquand puts that squarely down to the soft ground.

Tom Marquand is hoping to be celebrating again after the Betfair Sprint Cup
Tom Marquand hopes to be celebrating again after the Betfair Sprint Cup (David Davies/Jockey Club)

“It will be nice getting back on better ground, because in France it just felt as if he got stuck a bit on that tacky ground,” he said.

“It was an extra half-furlong as well, which may have been a factor too, because three-quarters of a furlong out I thought he was going to win – but when I got into him he struggled to extend in the way he had done at Newmarket.

“That July Cup form is about as rock solid as it gets, and if the conditions are suitable and the race is run to suit again we ought to be in exactly the same spot. We just want a genuinely run sprint – and having a horse like Glen Shiel (the mount of Marquand’s partner Hollie Doyle) in there again is quite handy, because that’s his gig as well.

“You have to respect Glen Shiel, because he’s been so tough and reliable at this level and he’s a former Qipco British Champions Sprint winner. He’s danced pretty much every dance – and once a sprinter has shown he’s got the ability to do it, you have to be prepared for him to do it again.”

Starman on course for big sprint double at Haydock

July Cup hero Starman heads 14 confirmations for the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock on Saturday.

Ed Walker’s four-year-old is on course to attempt to become the third horse this century to win both races in the same season, after Dream Ahead (2011) and Harry Angel (2017).

The Archie Watson-trained Glen Shiel, runner-up to Dream Of Dreams last year, has stood his ground, as has Art Power, from Tim Easterby’s stable, who was back in fourth in 2020.

Garrus won at Deauville at the weekend
Garrus won at Deauville at the weekend (PA)

Charlie Hills’ Garrus and David O’Meara Summerghand, who won Deauville’s Prix de Meautry and Newmarket’s Hopeful Stakes respectively at the weekend, have the option of making a quick return to action, while Godolphin hopes rest with the Charlie Appleby-trained Creative Force.

Clive Cox has left in his two entries, Supremacy and Nando Parrado.

“The drier autumn has given us a chance to include Supremacy, while Nando Parrado ran a blinder at Newbury in the Hungerford and this is an opportunity to run back over six,” he said.

Supremacy had outstanding form as a two-year-old
Supremacy had outstanding form as a two-year-old (Mark Cranham/PA)

“Supremacy is showing me the right signs and with the dry forecast we’re keen to have a look.

“We’ll assess the situation as the week goes by.”

The sole Irish-trained possible is Joseph Murphy’s Gustavus Weston, winner of the Group Three Phoenix Sprint at the Curragh. Dragon Symbol was the most notable absentee at the five-day stage.