Betfair Sprint Cup
Group 1, Haydock Park 15:35
£350,000 guaranteed,
3yo plus,
6f, Class 1
Saturday 9th September 2023

Trainers Quotes

1 Regional 10/1
2 Shouldvebeenaring 50/1
3 Believing 66/1
16 ran NR: Spycatcher
Distances: nk, ½l, ¾l Time: 1m 10.60s (slow by 0.20s)

Regional provided trainer Ed Bethell and jockey Callum Rodriguez with the first Group One success of their careers as hot favourite Shaquille finished last.

Shaquille had missed the break in both the Commonwealth Cup and July Cup before storming home to win, did not look happy before the race.

He had tried to unship James Doyle on the way to the start and then did not want to go in the stalls until Doyle jumped off.

He did break on terms on this occasion and soon found himself in front, at which point connections would have been delighted, but with two furlongs to run Shaquille had no more to give and Doyle looked after him.

Regional, who had been making his name over five furlongs and needed to prove he could beat the best over six, faced a strong challenge from 50-1 outsider Shouldvebeenaring but held on by a neck, with the supplemented Believing back in third.

“I’m just over the moon. I’m in an incredibly fortunate position, to take over from my father, and my parents have been big supporters of mine,” said a clearly emotional Bethell.

“I never thought it would happen (winning a Group One). A huge ‘thank you’ has to go to Barbara Jones, who rides this horse every day – she doesn’t go on holiday because she wants to make sure he’s in tip-top form. She’s the important one here, along with the rest of my team at home. I’m just the lucky one to have my name on the ticket.

“We bought this horse just to win a race and he’s taken these guys (owners) on a tremendous ride. This meteoric rise is down to the team at home and we’ve just been incredibly fortunate.”

Bethell felt the step up in trip was key to Regional’s performance, adding: “He was able to travel in his comfort zone, which he wasn’t in the Nunthorpe. The whole complexion of the race changed at York with Live In The Dream going so quick and fair play to him, but we were rushed off our feet.

“Today we were so much more comfortable at this trip at this level. I thought maybe he’d gone too quick and he’d get swallowed up, but he was one of the last to come off the bridle. I can’t believe it really.”


The trainer is keen to let the dust settle before firming up plans for his stable star.

He said: “I’ll enjoy today and tonight and get back to it tomorrow morning.

“I don’t know where we’ll go next, the owners might want to go to America, but I’ll just see how the horse is first and make a decision.

“Genuinely, I don’t think words can describe how I’m feeling. I told myself if we finish in the first five we’ve done well.

“When we won a handicap over six furlongs here two years ago I couldn’t believe it. I thought ‘I’ve done my job now, he’s won a race, maybe the owners will stick with me’.

“Did I ever think he could go and do this? No. These sort of days I hope will go a long way to helping the yard achieve what I want it to.”

Rodriguez – also winning his first Group One – said: “It was an amazing performance by the horse and what a story it’s been with him this year, being picked up for 3,500 guineas. The journey he has taken his syndicate on is just amazing. It was very smooth as he hit the gates very well and was in a good rhythm all the way and every time I asked him he responded.

“It was a great feeling. It is very fitting this has happened here as this is my local track from where I grew up 40 minutes down the road. It is just an amazing day.” 

Rodriguez has worked his way back to the top after serving a six-month suspension in 2019, having tested positive for cocaine. He added: “I really hit the ground running as an apprentice and landed the Ebor and some other nice races along the way. 

“It has been a little bit stop-start and you kind of ask yourself if you are going to find the one. I’ve been so lucky to find Regional this year. It is an amazing story and I’m thankful it has come off. 

“I’ve a lot to thank Ed for. I stepped into the yard in January to ride out and get to know the horses. 

“There is a real strong team of horses there and he is a real loyal man, and we work really well together and I’m happy with the way things are going.”

Trainers Quotes

Betfair Sprint Cup
(British Champions Series) (Group 1)
16 ran
Going: Good

1 (13)    Regional 5 9-5 Edward Bethell Callum Rodriguez 10/1
2 (10)
nk Shouldvebeenaring 3 9-3 Richard Hannon Sean Levey 50/1
3 (17)
½ Believing 3 9-0 George Boughey Jason Hart 66/1
4 (18)
¾ Swingalong 3 9-0 K R Burke Clifford Lee 14/1
5 (8)
Khaadem 7 9-5 Charles Hills Jamie Spencer 18/1
6 (9)
½ Mill Stream 3 9-3 Jane Chapple-Hyam Marco Ghiani 8/1
7 (6) hd Annaf 4 9-5 Michael Appleby Alistair Rawlinson 66/1
8 (12)
Garrus 7 9-5 Charles Hills Ben Curtis 80/1
9 (14)
shd Saint Lawrence 5 9-5 Archie Watson Luke Morris 40/1
10 (2)
Rohaan 5 9-5 David Evans Neil Callan 33/1
11 (15)
¾ Run To Freedom 5 9-5 Henry Candy Trevor Whelan 18/1
12 (1)
Lezoo 3 9-0 Ralph Beckett Rossa Ryan 14/1
13 (3)
Rumstar 3 9-3 Jonathan Portman Rob Hornby 50/1
14 (16)
1 The Antarctic 3 9-3 A P O'Brien Cieren Fallon 50/1
15 (7)
Sacred 5 9-2 William Haggas Tom Marquand 9/2
16 (5)
Shaquille 3 9-3 Julie Camacho James Doyle 11/10F
NR 8 (4) Spycatcher 5 9-5 K R Burke NON RUNNER