Wizz Kid In Betfred Cup Picture
A total of 18 contenders go forward for the £225,000 Group One Betfred Sprint Cup (3.25pm), run at Haydock Park over six furlongs on Saturday, September 8, after today's five-day confirmation stage.
The entries are headed by multiple Group One winner Ortensia, who came from near last to win the Group One Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes over five furlongs at York on August 24. She is the 11/4 favourite with Betfred.
The Australian raider, trained by Paul Messara, put in a disappointing effort at Royal Ascot in June but bounced back with a fourth placed finish in the Group One Darley July Cup before an easy success in the Group Two Gordon's King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on August 3.
Bated Breath started his season in scintillating form when breaking the five-furlong course record at Haydock Park in the betfred.com Temple Stakes on May 26, before running Hong Kong raider Little Bridge to a neck in the Group One King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
Roger Charlton's charge was beaten a nose by Dream Ahead in last year's renewal and is still chasing his first victory at the top level. Charlton may also saddle Genki, who finished fourth last year.
Also among the confirmations is Richard Fahey's Mayson, who stormed to a five-length victory in the Darley July Cup on July 14, giving his trainer and rider Paul Hanagan their first British Group One victory. Fahey could also be represented by Listed scorer Majestic Myles.
The sole French-trained entry is Wizz Kid, who chased home Moonlight Cloud in the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on August 5 after a disappointing performance in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Prior to that, she had recorded a comfortable one and three-quarter length success in the Prix du Gros-Chene over five furlongs at Chantilly in May. Betfred make the four-year-old filly a 14/1 chance.
John O'Connor, manager to owner Maeve Mahony, said: "At the moment, subject to confirmation from Robert Collet (trainer), the intention is to run Wizz Kid in the Betfred Sprint Cup.
"She is in good form. She has spent the month up in Deauville and ran very well when second to Moonlight Cloud in the Prix Maurice de Gheest. She is now back at her base in Chantilly.
"She was disappointing at Royal Ascot and that is the only time we have been disappointed with her because she is normally very consistent. We don't know why exactly, but she didn't run her race (in the King's Stand Stakes).
"Her run at Deauville was good and she was a comfortable second. I think Moonlight Cloud quickened four lengths clear and got first run on us and although Wizz Kid didn't make that much ground up on her, it was still a very good run.
"At her best, Moonlight Cloud is a very good filly.
"Wizz Kid was very impressive earlier in the season at Chantilly - it was her second success in the Prix du Gros-Chene. I'm not too sure why that race suits her so well but it's probably because they go quick up front and she gets her chance to come home well.
"She has form at six furlongs when she was second in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint at Ascot last year and that form would put her bang there on Saturday.
"We are hopeful she still has some more to come and Robert (Collet) feels she is still maturing and developing.
"Soft ground is not essential but she handles it."
Society Rock could bid for his first success since capturing the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last season, while David Barron could be represented by Hitchens, who won the Listed Hopeful Stakes at Newmarket on August 25.
Strong Suit could line up for trainer Richard Hannon after finishing second in the Group Two Betfred Hungerford Stakes on August 18, while dual Group One winner Kingsgate Native could have his first start for Robert Cowell.
Soul remains engaged for Godolphin and could look to bounce back from a disappointing performance in the Hungerford Stakes, while Gordon Lord Byron goes forward for Irish handler Tom Hogan after a Listed victory at York on August 25.
Ireland's champion trainer Aidan O'Brien could saddle Reply, who finished last in the Darley July Cup, while fellow Irish handler David Marnane could send over Dandy Boy, who landed the Wokingham Handicap in great fashion at Royal Ascot in June.
Jim Goldie has left in Hawkeyethenoo, who bagged another big handicap when taking the Stewards' Cup at Glorious Goodwood on August 4, while Mark Johnston could saddle progressive three-year-old Es Que Love.
The entries are completed by Brian Meehan's Elusivity and Confessional.
The Betfred Sprint Cup is part of the sprint division of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Betfred Sprint Cup betting: Ortensia 11/4, Bated Breath 4/1, Mayson 9/1, Society Rock 10/1, Strong Suit 10/1, Hitchens12/1, Soul 14/1, Wizz Kid 14/1, Dandy Boy 16/1, Hawkeyethenoo 16/1, Gordon Lord Byron 25/1, Reply 25/1, Elusivity 33/1, Es Que Love 33/1, Kingsgate Native 33/1, Genki 40/1, Majestic Myles 40/1, Confessional 50/1
A week of epic finishes at the Punchestown Festival continued with a brilliant battle for the Grade 1 €250,000 LADBROKES CHAMPION STAYERS HURDLE over three miles when Unowhatimeanharry (4/1) reversed Cheltenham form when prevailing in a photo-finish from Nichols Canyon (7/4 Fav).