Minzaal claimed the first Group One victory of his career as he demolished his rivals in the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock.
Trained by Owen Burrows and ridden by Jim Crowley, the four-year-old had been placed at the highest level on multiple occasions but had yet to get his head in front. However, he corrected that statistic with an effortless performance, sitting in behind the early pacesetters before laying down his challenge entering the last of the six furlongs.
When Crowley gave the signal, the 7-2 shot hit top gear and he powered away to win by three and three-quarter lengths from last year’s winner Emaraaty Ana. Rohaan kept on for third but 3-1 favourite Naval Crown dropped away in the closing stages having held every chance.
Minzaal chased home subsequent Nunthorpe Stakes winner Highfield Princess on his most recent run in the Prix Maurice de Gheest and Burrows was thrilled to see the Mehmas colt get the verdict this time. The trainer, who was enjoying his second Group One success of the year following Hukum’s Coronation Cup win, said: “All credit to the team back home, they’ve been working hard and to get the job done is amazing.
“It’s been a big year for me, you are soon forgotten in this game and I’ve been trying to attract outside owners, we don’t have a lot of horses to run but a lot of two-year-olds. These big winners on a Saturday in Group Ones are hard to come by. This lad deserved one, he was knocking on the door at two, had an injury at three and was still Group One placed at Ascot and he ran a big race in France last time.” Minzaal is the 5-2 favourite with both Paddy Power and Coral for next month’s Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot and Burrows confirmed he will head there.
Earlier, Kevin Ryan could not hide his enthusiasm as Triple Time made a winning return to action following a year off the track in the Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Superior Mile Stakes at Haydock.
Viewed as a 2,000 Guineas prospect in the spring, he picked up a problem after a racecourse gallop which has kept him out of action until now. With the race reduced to just four runners due to the quickening ground, Triple Time was sent off the 13-8 favourite but he oozed class. Brought into contention smoothly by Andrea Atzeni, he only needed to be kept up to his work to win by a length and three-quarters to set himself up for a big autumn. “To quicken up and go through the line like that, I couldn’t be happier. He’s very special, he’s got a lot of talent,” said Ryan.
Due to a spate of non-runners, Frankie Dettori’s only ride on the card was Jessica Harrington’s Irish Lullaby in the Get Daily Rewards With Betfair Handicap and it briefly looked as if he was going to be successful only to just pull up short behind Inverness. The Charlie Hills-trained winner had run well in the Melrose at York behind Soulcombe and off just 1lb higher, he obliged at 6-1 by a neck.
Heather Main landed the £100,000 Betfair Exchange Old Borough Cup for the second successive year with Island Brave. Unfortunately, the lack of forecast rain reduced the scheduled 15-runner field to six but Island Brave was handy throughout under Gina Mangan. They looked a sitting duck as the challengers mounted up behind, but Mangan had saved plenty and the pair won going away by three-quarters of a length from Charging Thunder – whose rider Jason Watson was banned for three days for careless riding.