Red Clubs earned a long overdue group I win with a decisive victory in the Betfred Sprint Cup (Eng-I) at Haydock Park Sept. 8.
The Barry Hills trainee had always been competitive at the highest level, but until now had yet to score in a group I. In his most recent outing before the Sprint Cup, Red Clubs had finished a close fourth to longshot winner Kingsgate Native in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (Eng-I) at York.
Favoritism in the 14-horse field went to Sakhee’s Secret, who had captured the Darley July Cup (Eng-I) in his last start. The field was certainly not short on talent, as there were several other stakes winners in the cast, including group I winners Amadeus Wolf and two-time Prix Maurice de Gheest (Fr-I) winner Marchand D’Or.
Outsider Sierra Vista set a fast pace as he led the field through the first part of the six furlong sprint. Jockey Michael Hills held Red Clubs in mid-pack, and waited for the opportunity to let the 4-year-old son of Red Ransom loose. That time came with one furlong left, and the duo took command of the race and ran on strongly to the finish to win by three-quarters of a length.
Marchand D’Or ran on well to capture second, a half-length in front of Balthazaar’s Gift. Sakhee’s Secret finished fifth, only beaten by two-and-a-half lengths on ground he didn’t relish.
Final time for the six furlongs was 1:13.11 over turf rated good to firm.
Red Clubs, who is out of the First Trump mare, Two Clubs, was bred in Ireland by John Fike. He is owned by Ronald J. Arculli.