New man on The Tin Man: Oisin Murphy replaces Tom Queally in Sprint Cup
Jockey-of-the-moment Oisin Murphy will be in the saddle when The Tin Man tackles hot favourite Harry Angel in Saturday's 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock, replacing the six-year-old's longstanding partner Tom Queally.
The switch is sure to disappoint Frankel's jockey Queally, who has ridden the James Fanshawe-trained gelding on all but one of his 20 starts, but for Murphy, 22, it represents another significant landmark as he attempts to land his sixth Group 1 of the year.
“I don’t want to dwell on it but Oisin is available on Saturday and he is riding,” Fanshawe said on Tuesday. “It’s just a change of hands, and Oisin is on fire. He's ridden some big winners this year, his confidence is up, and when we saw he was available we decided to go with him.”
Queally has posted some notable victories aboard The Tin Man. The combination landed the 2017 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot but encountered traffic problems when bidding for a repeat victory in June.
The Queally-Fanshawe axis has since faltered, with the jockey taking no rides for the trainer over the last two weeks. The Newmarket trainer has principally deployed Daniel Muscutt and George Wood.
Fanshawe is keeping an anxious eye on the weather before the Haydock showpiece. He said: “If the ground turns very soft I don’t know what will happen, but I’m keen to run if we can.”
Harry ready for return
The heavens opened before last year’s Sprint Cup renewal, in which The Tin Man finished third behind Harry Angel, who returns to action for the first time since sustaining an injury in the stalls at Royal Ascot in June.
The Godolphin colt has missed ten weeks of the season as he recovered from the serious incident at the start of the Diamond Jubileewhen he got a hind leg trapped on the running board just before the gates opened.
Harry Angel is still carrying a small mark on his left hind leg as a reminder of what Cox described as "the calamity in the stalls", but all other visible signs are positive according to the trainer.
He has undergone additional stalls work designed to rebuild his confidence before his return for the Group 1 contest, which he captured in such devastating fashion last year.
"Relief was the initial emotion after Ascot because it could have been a lot worse," Cox said at his Lambourn yard on Tuesday.
"At first what we saw was a small wound and then muscularly there was a bit of soreness, so it took a bit longer and we missed the July Cup, which was a huge disappointment.
"After the July Cup the Haydock sprint is the next logical six-furlong target. I'm delighted he's back in good form. He's given me a really positive feel. From a couple of weeks after the July Cup things have improved markedly and continued in a very positive direction. His work has been impeccable."
He added: "One upside is he's a fresh horse. He holds the course record on very fast ground at Haydock. It was concerning last year when the ground looked very soft. Although there is rain forecast, I don't think we've had quite the amounts we had prior to last year.”
Rain on its way
Conditions for the big race were forecast on Tuesday to be on the soft side this weekend, although not as soft as 12 months ago.
The going is reported to be good, good to soft in places, but conditions are likely to ease further with rain predicted on Friday and Saturday.
Haydock clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright said: "It's good, good to soft in places, and I think we'll be there on Thursday, but then there is rain coming in and we're rather in the lap of the gods after that. I can't see us being quicker than good to soft if we get what's forecast.
"We are expecting 6mm of rain on Friday and the same on Saturday. It was heavy last year so we were in a worse place. I'm hoping we're not going to get to that and the forecast suggests we won't."
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