Music Master can hit the right notes in Haydock’s Sprint Cup

Bill Esdaile
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Music Master looks a sprinter on the up for Henry Candy

THE DEFECTION of Europe’s best six-furlong sprinter Slade Power from tomorrow’s Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock (3.50pm) has taken some of the gloss off the famous Group One sprint, but it has opened the contest up and it will make for compelling viewing.

In the absence of Slade Power, connections have sent electric King’s Stand and Nunthorpe winner Sole Power to represent them. The four-timer seeking seven-year-old has been well supported in the last week and currently heads the market at 3/1 with Star Sports.

Sole Power has been something of a revelation this year. Always talented, Edward Lynam’s beast has added consistency this season, racking up the first successive wins of his career.

Richard Hughes in the saddle seems a match made in heaven for this hold-up speedball and if the ground is the firm side of good, and he gets a fast pace to aim at, expect him to be bang there.

However, Sole Power has never won over six furlongs and he may be vulnerable to a stronger finisher.

Last year’s winner Gordon Lord Byron deserves respect bidding to become only the second dual winner. He might want the ground softer, though, and while the 10/1 available 10 days ago was value, 5/1 isn’t.

Henry Candy is enjoying a fantastic season with a stable stocked full of two-year-old talent. But it might be MUSIC MASTER who gives him his biggest win of the campaign.

The drop back to sprinting has suited this strong traveller and the four-year-old has put up some good performances of late, including a close-up fourth in the Diamond Jubilee, before landing a Group Three at Newbury last time.

The son of Pivotal missed the Nunthorpe with a setback, but it’s all systems go according to his trainer and at 8/1 with Star Sports, the gelding looks a good bet to land the £147,446 first prize and follow in the footsteps of former stablemate Markab, who won this in 2010.

The action at Haydock kicks off with a five furlong handicap (2.05pm) and I fancy the chances of last year’s winner CONFESSIONAL landing back-to-back renewals.

Tim Easterby’s charge hasn’t won since that success, but he has been in top form recently, finishing an excellent third in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon last time and then second to Kimberella at Chester in July.

The seven-year-old is only 2lb lower than 12 months ago and has form on all types of ground so he really should take all the beating here. Barnet Fair, the likely favourite, is now rated 96 and he is yet to win off a market higher than 90.

Ocean Tempest has had a tremendous season for John Ryan and he will have plenty of supporters in the Superior Mile (2.40pm) after his gutsy win at Chester last weekend. He is the top-rated in the field and is the best treated at the weights so should run well, although the ground looks like drying out and his best form has been on a softer surface.

Short Squeeze produced a telling late burst to win at York last time and Pat Smullen takes the ride again, but I think CAPTAIN CAT is the one to be on here.

Roger Charlton’s progressive five-year-old was poorly positioned by James Doyle at Goodwood last time and he should gain compensation here under George Baker.

Over at Ascot, it is very interesting that William Buick is heading to Berkshire rather than Haydock where he would surely have had plenty of good rides.

The main reason for this could be CORNROW in the opening seven furlong handicap (1.55pm). He needs a penalty to guarantee himself a place in the Cambridgeshire at the end of the month.

This son of New Approach is clearly bred for better things and won really well on his seasonal reappearance at Haydock last time.

The fact Buick is here only adds to my confidence and, although he will probably go off favourite, he could be a league apart from this lot.

Finally, I’m going to give one last chance to SATELLITE in the £150,000 1m4f handicap (3.30pm), who I am convinced remains extremely well-handicapped.

Satellite won well on his debut at Ripon earlier this season and then produced an amazing effort to finish only three lengths behind Cannock Chase at Newbury, given that he pretty much ran away with Frankie Dettori that day.

As long as he learns to settle he is clearly a horse with plenty of talent and tomorrow’s big field should help him relax better. William Haggas is a master with this type of horse and this looks the ideal race for Satellite.

■ Pointers…
CORNROW 1.55pm Ascot (tomorrow)
CONFESSIONAL 2.05pm Haydock (tomorrow)
CAPTAIN CAT 2.40pm Haydock (tomorrow)
SATELLITE e/w 3.30pm Ascot (tomorrow)
MUSIC MASTER e/w 3.50pm Haydock (tomorrow)