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'That was a big performance' - Mehmas colt Minzaal wins G1 Betfair Sprint Cup

Minzaal turned in a brilliant performance on Saturday to land a deserved Group 1 in the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock Park.

Ridden confidently by regular partner Jim Crowley, the son of Mehmas cut through the field with ease and once given the office, put the race to bed quickly to win ears pricked by a widening three-and-three-quarters of a length from last year's winner Emaraaty Ana.

"He deserved that," Jim Crowley told ITV Racing. "He's a remarkable horse because he's so laid back and the bell goes and he's like a boxer - he just wakes up.

"Everything went smoothly. We jumped nicely, went a nice pace, I always travelling very comfortably and as soon as he got the split, he was away and gone. I hope he can dominate this division. He's equally effective on good to soft as he is on good to firm, so we could bag another big one. It's lovely to make him a Group 1 winner."

Minzaal has been handled throughout his career by Lambourn trainer Owen Burrows, who was naturally thrilled with the result.

"That was a big performance, wasn't it?" he told ITV Racing. "All credit to the team back home, they've been working hard.

"He was knocking on the door at two and then he had an interrupted preparation last year through no fault of his own - he injured himself in the box and still managed to get a Group 1 placing at Ascot at the back end of the year. And he ran a big race in France last time [when second to subsequent Nunthorpe Stakes winner Highfield Princess in the Prix Maurice de Gheest].

"He's a pleasure to have anything to do with - he eats, sleeps and works, and he loves it."

Minzaal was bred by Ringfort Stud out of Pardoven, a Clodovil half-sister to the Group-placed pair Firebet and Dancing Prize. Always a stand-out as a physical, Minzaal commanded 85,000gns as a Tattersalls December foal by Peter and Ross Doyle before reselling for 140,000gns to Shadwell Estate Company as a Tattersalls October Book 2 yearling.

Minzaal came to hand quickly for Owen Burrows, winning his second start at Salisbury before cruising to victory in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at York. He signed off that year with a creditable third to Supremacy - also by Mehmas - in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Unfortunately, Minzaal missed most of last year but once back in action, ran an excellent race to finish third against older horses in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot.

Fast forward to this year and he has rarely been far away from the action , with a victory in the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes and a narrow second in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest preceding Saturday's deserved Group 1 victory.

"He's thrown up a whole mass of triple digit runners"

He joins Supremacy and Going Global - the Californian filly sensation whose seven Graded stakes victories include the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks - as first crop Group or Grade 1 winners for Mehmas.

The champion first and second-crop sire of his generation, Mehmas is the sire of 18 stakes winners overall; others include the Group 2 winners Persian Force, Caturra, Malavath and Lusail.

Jason Weaver of ITV Racing was quick to pay tribute to Mehmas as he viewed the Betfair Sprint Cup, saying: "I've got to give a shout out to Mehmas. He was a rocket performer as a juvenile. He actually dipped down to €7,500 [stud fee] at one stage but because he's had such brilliant results for Tally-Ho Stud, that he's now up to €50,000. He's thrown up a whole mass of triple digit runners - massive well done to Tally-Ho."

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