Cucaracha team has grounds for concern

La Cucaracha could miss Saturday’s William Hill Sprint Cup at Haydock if the ground is too soft for the Nunthorpe Stakes winner.

La Cucaracha could miss Saturday’s William Hill Sprint Cup at Haydock if the ground is too soft for the Nunthorpe Stakes winner.

Barry Hills’ charge was one of 17 declared for the Group One race following the final 48-four declaration stage but could she be withdrawn if connections are not satisfied by the ground at the Merseyside venue.

“I keep ringing them up and I am still not entirely sure what the going is but with the weather forecast as it is, I am not that worried,” said Hills.

“If the ground was soft we might consider pulling La Cucaracha out but we certainly won’t be making a decision until Saturday itself.”

Officials at Haydock report the ground as good to soft on the home straight and good to soft, soft in places on the back straight.

Clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright said: “We have had 5mm of rain before 11am this morning but the rest of the week is forecast to be dry.

“I would expect the ground to be on the easy side of good by the weekend with possibly the only mention of soft in the going description being in the back straight.”

La Cucaracha – winner of four of her six starts this term – will be joined in the race by stablemate and July Cup third Etlaala.

They face a tough opponent in Sussex Stakes winner Proclamation, however.

Jeremy Noseda’s three-year-old beat star mare Soviet Song by half a length last time out and is the clear market leader after being supplemented for the £225,000 (€330,000) contest at the five-day stage.

The King’s Best colt will be ridden by Frankie Dettori.

Tim Easterby is double-handed with 2003 winner and last year’s runner-up Somnus, together with Fayr Jag, while Stewards’ Cup hero Gift Horse bids for more big-race glory for trainer David Nicholls.

Golden Jubilee Stakes runner-up Galeota also makes the line-up and will be partnered by Ryan Moore with Maurice de Gheest runner-up Goodricke another declared for the six-furlong event.

Notable absentees include the injured Resplendent Glory and Wokingham winner Iffraaj, who now seems likely to go for the GNER Park Stakes at Doncaster next week.

Trainer Chris Wall has declared Ashdown Express but he will only run if connections are happy with the conditions at the track.

Gift Horse came in for significant support following the booking of Kieren Fallon and the five-year-old has continued to be popular, with the sponsors cutting him to 3-1 from 4s.

Coral have also seen strong support after the gelding was put up on an influential tipping line.

The Barking-based firm report a £150,000 liability and are 9-2 from 5s, having been as big as 8-1 on Wednesday.

“This has turned into one of the biggest ante-post gambles of the year and if the money keeps coming he could even challenge Proclamation’s position at the head of the market,” said spokesman Simon Clare.

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