Markab Puts Betfred Sprint Cup Rivals to the Sword
1 Markab 12/1
Markab's rags-to-riches story continued when he raced to a decisive success in record time to land the Group One Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock.
The 12-1 chance made all the running and stayed on well, despite drifting left, to hold the challenge of Lady Of The Desert, first home in the far-side group, by one and a quarter lengths. Genki was third and favourite Starspangledbanner only fifth after showing early speed.
Markab's first success was gained at Maisons-Laffitte in March 2006 when trained by Freddie Head and his first win in Britain came in a £4,200-to-the-winner handicap at Kempton two years later. This was his seventh victory in all in Britain.
Candy said: "He is a very happy horse now and he is turned out every day. He started off here in a seven-furlong handicap rated about 80 and he has now won a Group One. It is incredible how some horses improve - mind you 99.9% of them don't.
"I don't think he had quite got over his race at Ascot when he ran at Newbury last time. I thought he had, but he hadn't. I didn't know which would be the best side to be today but he was drawn this side so Pat made the most of getting the stands rails.
"If he is all right he will go for the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp, but if he proves to be a bit jointy after this he will have earned a break until next season."
Cosgrave was gaining his second Group One success, the first having come on Borderlescott, who finished eighth this time, in the Nunthorpe Stakes two years ago.
Genki's next target looks like being in Scotland and trainer Roger Charlton said: "It is a pity they have to split into two groups in a Group One event, but he has run a good trial for the Ayr Gold Cup."
Speaking from Ireland, Aidan O'Brien added of Starspangledbanner: "He is only flesh and blood and he had a season before he came to us. He had a tough race at York and looking at him today he was a bit tired. We will freshen him up and let him come back to his best."
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