Softened ground may blunt Lethal edge

Top sprinter could make heavy weather of Haydock event after stablemate is ruled out

Clive Cox began yesterday with two live hopes for the Group One Sprint Cup at Haydock today, the season’s top speedster Lethal Force and the smart three-year-old Reckless Abandon, filling the first two places in the betting.

By the end of the afternoon Reckless Abandon had been ruled out of the race lame while Lethal Force’s chances had been seriously dampened by heavy rain which turned the Haydock going from good to firm into soft.

Cox revealed that Reckless Abandon, twice a Group One winner last season and fifth in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on his most recent start, had been found to have a hamstring problem. “It’s a big shame, but he’s not 100 per cent and he can’t be there,” the trainer said. “Lethal Force is in excellent form and I really hope conditions are suitable for him. He came back very well indeed from his run in France. He’s very full of himself. [Jockey] Adam [Kirby] knows our horse really well and his impression on the day was he probably wasn’t quite as sharp as he was for the July Cup.”

On an easy surface Lethal Force has yet to impose himself with the same dominance he exhibited when winning the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and, in particular, Newmarket’s July Cup. He had no answer to the challenge of Moonlight Cloud on good to soft ground in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville last month and the going at Haydock is likely to be more testing.

Gordon Lord Byron, three-quarters of a length behind Lethal Force in third at Deauville, was second in the Sprint Cup 12 months ago. “He’s in very good form,” said his trainer, Tom Hogan. “The rain is fine, but a drop was needed. We were catching Lethal Force in Deauville the last day we met, so hopefully there will be a good pace and we might get by him one of these days. He improved last backend, so hopefully he will improve at the same time of year again.”

Richard Fahey’s three-year-old Garswood is another the rain will favour. “The more rain the better to slow the others down a bit because we’re dropping him back in trip. Slowing down the race a bit would help us. He’s in great form.”

The dominant pair at 10 furlongs, Al Kazeem and Declaration Of War, are set to renew rivalry in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in a contest also prey to the elements, with rain again threatening. Roger Charlton has sent Al Kazeem to Ireland with the proviso the horse will be  withdrawn if conditions fail to ease. “The weather forecast seems to change by the hour and there is a wide range of opinions as to how much [rain]  they will get,” the trainer said. “The gun is loaded, so fingers crossed  yet again.”

Trainer Aidan O’Brien said of Declaration Of War: “He is a horse with an incredible constitution as he showed at York when winning the Juddmonte International. He has won on soft but he loves fast ground.”

O’Brien, who also saddles the one-time leading Derby hope Kingsbarns, sidelined since he won the Racing Post Trophy last autumn, added. “We’ve been happy with the way Kingsbarns has been progressing since he went back into work. He’s been a long time off and is just ready to start back.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Sport
sportComment: Win or lose Hamilton represents the best of Britain
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Arsene Wenger reacts during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Swansea
footballMan United and Arsenal meet on Saturday with both clubs this time languishing outside the top four
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Sport
Tony Bellew holds two inflatable plastic sheep at the weigh-in for his rematch with Nathan Cleverly
boxingGrudge match takes place on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson at PS1
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Female Support Workers / Carers - From £8.00 per hour

£8 - £12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To assist a young family with the care ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

£55000 - £70000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world lead...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world leading services pr...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines