Haydock Park stages the richest and most prestigious contest of its Flat season on Saturday, September 7, the G1 32Red Sprint Cup, for which 34 top-class entries were revealed on Wednesday.
The six-furlong contest, worth £300,000, was first run in 1966 and is the sixth race in the sprint category of the 2019 QIPCO British Champions Series.
Only one horse has won the 32Red Sprint Cup twice. Be Friendly, owned by legendary BBC racing commentator Sir Peter O'Sullevan, captured the first two runnings in 1966 and 1967.
The Tin Man (James Fanshawe) could attempt to become the second in 2019, having finished half a length ahead of Brando (Kevin Ryan) in the 2018 renewal. The seven-year-old is an 8/1 chance with sponsor 32Red, while Brando is priced at 12/1.
The Tin Man leads home Brando in 2018
32Red's 2/1 favourite is three-year-old Too Darn Hot (John Gosden). Owned by Lord Lloyd-Webber and bred by Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber's Watership Down Stud, the son of Dubawi was the champion two-year-old of 2018 and got back to winning ways last time out when dropped back in distance for the seven-furlong G1 Prix Jean Prat at Deauville on July 7, scoring by an easy three lengths under Frankie Dettori. He has never raced over as short a distance as six furlongs, but connections are obviously tempted to try it.
The 11/2 second favourite for the 32Red Sprint Cup is Dream Of Dreams (Sir Michael Stoute), the fast-finishing second when failing by a head to catch Blue Point in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes over the same distance at Royal Ascot on June 22.
The five-year-old Dream Ahead horse is set to start next in the six-furlong G1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket this coming Saturday, July 13. His Newmarket trainer would be attempting to bridge a 32-year gap in the 32Red Sprint Cup, having last been successful in the feature at Haydock Park in 1987 with Ajdal.
German handler Dominik Moser is hoping Waldpfad (25/1 with 32Red) can earn himself a tilt at the 32Red Sprint Cup.
The Shamardal horse, homebred by Gestut Brummerhof, won going away when dropped back to six furlongs for the G3 Holstein Cup at Hamburg on July 3 and the five-year-old is now pencilled in for the G3 Hackwood Stakes over the same distance at Newbury on July 20 as a next assignment.
Hanover-based Moser said: "Waldpfad won nicely at Hamburg last week and now the plan is to go for a G3 race at Newbury later this month.
"We would like to up the competition a bit to see if he is good enough to go to Haydock for the 32Red Sprint Cup.
"Before Waldpfad came to me, he had been running mainly over a mile. We train with modern equipment that monitors speed and heart rate, and once we realised how quick he is, we decided to come back to shorter distances.
"He is getting better and better and I think he could be a very good horse.
"I like Haydock Park as a track - it is flat and the straight course is very fair. A good filly of mine Gracia Directa was just beaten there in a Listed race a few years ago (runner-up in the 2013 Cecil Frail Stakes).
"I like coming to England if I feel the horse is good enough. It is great experience for our owners and there is a very good atmosphere."
Several of the entries for the 32Red Sprint Cup are set to meet on Saturday in the G1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket. In addition to Dream Of Dreams, others likely to run include Advertise (Martyn Meade, 6/1), successful at Royal Ascot in the G1 Commonwealth Cup on June 21, and Cape Byron (Roger Varian), who steps up in class having taken the Wokingham Handicap at the same meeting.
Last year's Cartier champion sprinter Mabs Cross (Michael Dobs, 8/1) was third in the five-furlong G2 Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock Park earlier this season, while also on the 8/1 mark with 32Red is Invincible Army (James Tate), successful in the G2 Duke of York Stakes in May.
The 32Red Sprint Cup is one of the few G1 prize to have eluded Ireland's 21-time champion Flat trainer Aidan O'Brien. There are six entries from Ballydoyle this year including Ten Sovereigns (10/1), winner of the G1 Middle Park Stakes as a two-year-old in 2018 and fourth behind Advertise last time out. He is also due to run at Newmarket on Saturday.
Three other entries come from Ireland - Forever In Dreams (Aidan Fogarty, 16/1), the runner-up to Advertise in the Commonwealth Cup, Woody Creek (Fozzy Stack) and Speak In Colours (Joseph O'Brien), fourth in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes before landing a Listed contest at the Curragh on June 29.
Other entries of note include Sands Of Mali (Richard Fahey, 16/1), who won the G2 Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes over the course and distance in May, 2018, before going on to success in the G1 QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot in October.
Sands Of Mali winning the Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes in 2018, pictures Haydock Park Racecourse
There is a scratchings deadline for the 32Red Sprint Cup on Tuesday, August 20, with the five-day confirmation and £15,600 supplementary entry stage following on Monday, September 2.
Sprint Cup Day is the third and final day of a three-day meeting, with afternoon racing also taking place on Thursday, September 5 and Friday, September 6.