A gallant Markab smashed the course record on his way to posting an upset victory in the Betfred Sprint Cup (Eng-I) at Haydock Sept. 4.
Dismissed at odds of 12-1, the 7-year-old gelding broke sharply under Pat Cosgrave and led a group of six runners on the stands’ side rail. Heavily-favored Starspangledbanner also was quickly out of the gate, and led a group of seven on the far side, as the field split into two separate flights.
Markab continued to make all the running as Starspangledbanner tried in vain to catch him. Despite drifting to the left during the closing stages, Markab proved to be much too tough, eventually crossing the wire 1 1/4 lengths in front.
Lady Of The Desert made a late rally to take second, finishing a length in front of Genki. Starspangledbanner, who could find nothing left in the final yards, finished fifth, about four lengths behind the winner.
Final time for the six furlongs was 1:09.40, bettering the previous mark of 1:09.82 set by Iktamal in 1996.
Trained by Henry Candy for owner Tight Lines Partnership, Markab improved his record to eight wins from 30 starts. A gelded son of Green Desert, Markab is out of the Nashwan mare Hawafiz. He was bred in England by Shadwell Estate Company.