16:00 Haydock – John Of Gaunt Stakes
Today’s feature race, the John Of Gaunt Stakes, named after the first Duke Of Lancaster takes place at Haydock annually over seven furlongs. Upgraded to Group 3 status in 2008 and a race open to horses aged four and above, it is perhaps no surprise that eight of the last ten winners have been four or five year olds. The majority of winners have won at odds of 6/1 or below though 2014 winner Penitent caused quite an upset when returning at odds of 33/1.
The highest rated horse in today’s eight strong field is six year old Dutch Connection, a dual Group 3 winner who has competed with credit at the highest level. Five times a winner in total and all five times over this trip, he appears to hold an obvious chance and interestingly, all of his career victories have been registered on ground described as good or firmer. Perhaps the only real concern would be the jockey booking of James Doyle, given the leg up on four occasions there has to be slight concern that the best finish the duo have managed is sixth.
In contrast, William Buick has built up quite an excellent record when riding D’Bai, guiding the four year old to three of his four career wins. Successful when winning over this trip in Meydan earlier in the year, he returned with a solid looking second at Windsor, over a trip arguably shorter than his optimum. Sent back up in trip today he looks a key player and a bold show is expected.
Emmaus is unbeaten in three runs over seven furlongs and has shown his versatility by winning on Good, Soft and Heavy ground. Impressive when landing a Listed race on his seasonal debut at Leicester and hailing from the in form Roger Varian yard, this progressive four year old should be capable of going very close today and is selected to land the spoils before scaling new heights over the summer months.
Richard Hannon’s yard has been quiet in terms of winners lately although their Tabarrak looks to hold a good chance of changing that here. Good enough to get within a neck of the talented Ballet Concerto in last seasons Group 3 Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury and a five time winner in his own right surely has a Group race in him and rates as the biggest threat to our selection.
EMMAUS (WIN) – NAP
13:55 Musselburgh – Reverend Jacobs (WIN)
14:15 Haydock – Sea Youmzain (WIN)
14:30 Musselburgh – Copper Knight (E/W)
14:50 Haydock – God Given (WIN)
15:05 Newmarket – Maksab (E/W)
15:25 Haydock – Final Venture (WIN)
15:40 Newmarket – Fire Jet (E/W)
written by Dean Kilbryde