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Harry on the drift for Sprint Cup as layers factor rain into the market

Harry Angel (centre): the latest example of Clive Cox's keen eye for a bargain
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A forecast for significant rain at Haydock has caused bookmakers to start tempting punters with increasingly meaty odds about Godolphin speed machine Harry Angel, who can now be backed at 7-4 for the first major prize on a sensational weekend of racing.

Brando, triumphant last time in the Prix Maurice de Gheest, and Diamond Jubilee Stakes second Tasleet were among the 32Red Sprint Cup contenders who on Monday had their odds clipped.

However, while rain would not thwart their chances, market makers believe it may hinder July Cup hero Harry Angel, who was a big drifter having been 5-4 with a few firms on Monday morning.

The Clive Cox-trained three-year-old is one of 20 horses still in the Group 1 prize, for which his Royal Ascot conqueror Caravaggio is an unlikely starter.

With Irish Champions Weekend and a fantastic Sunday card at Chantilly also set to thrill racing fans, the Sprint Cup kickstarts the action in style, with top-level performers The Tin Man, Limato and Blue Point also engaged.

Explaining the Harry Angel drift, 32Red spokesman Tony Calvin said: "Market changes reflect the unsettled weather forecast at Haydock. There seems to be a fair bit of rain around in the area all week, so with that in mind we eased the favourite to 7-4 from 6-4.

"He may be the form horse going into the race, but only marginally, and could yet face four other Group 1 winners on ground softer than he's encountered before.

"If anything, 7-4 may not be the end of his drift if the forecast rain arrives during the week and the other big guns stand their ground."

Betfred's Andrew Griffiths added: “We’ve seen some serious money for Tasleet today – you could say it’s been 'Tas Mania' – as well as Brando, and as a result eased Harry Angel to a top price of 7-4."

Betfred made Brando 9-2 (from 5) while Ladbrokes cut Tasleet to 7-1 (from 10). 

Should the rain come to Haydock, as is forecast from Tuesday — the ground was good, good to firm on Monday night — Limato may wait for France.

"In an ideal world he'd run on Saturday and then go on to the Foret," said trainer Henry Candy, who has also entered him for a York Listed race on Sunday.

"His participation depends a bit on how he works tomorrow and a bit on the going, as it would need to be genuine top of the ground for him to run."

Last year's Haydock runner-up The Tin Man, who at Royal Ascot captured the Diamond Jubilee, and Tasleet — second in that race — disappointed behind Harry Angel at Newmarket but both are set to take him on again.

The Tin Man's trainer James Fanshawe said: "He's so difficult to judge at home, but whereas this time last year he went to Haydock after a setback, this time he's had a clear run.

"At Newmarket he didn't run so well but he's had a nice break since. He was second in the race last year on very soft ground and we're looking forward to taking him back."

Angus Gold, spokesman for Tasleet's owner Hamdan Al Maktoum said: "I've never thought he handles Newmarket, going right back to when he was a two-year-old. There also wasn't much pace in the July Cup, which was a muddling race.

"He's had a nice break since the July Cup and the intention is to run at Haydock, where some easy ground would do his chance no harm.

"He's very tough and admirable, and while I'm not going to say he's going to win a race like this, he's already finished second in a Group 1."

Caravaggio's trainer Aidan O'Brien said: "We've left him in at Haydock on Saturday but the plan is still to run in the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh the following day."

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He may be the form horse, but only marginally so, and he could yet face four other Group 1 winners on ground softer than he has encountered
E.W. Terms