John of Gaunt Stakes Preview – Saturday 29th May
Last updated: May 28, 2021 by Leon Marshal
The 3.30 at Haydock Park on Saturday is the £60,000 Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes over seven furlongs. There have been two dual winners of this race in Warningford (1999, 2002) and Main Aim (2009, 2010). Safe Voyage will be aiming to add his name to that list after winning the last renewal in 2019 for John Quinn and Jason Hart.
Safe Voyage Favourite For Repeat Win At Haydock
Bookmakers have installed Safe Voyage as the ante-post favourite, despite the horse trailing in a remote last in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes. The normally consistent gelding had also finished last at the Breeders’ Cup in November when the firm ground was against him. He won at Group 2 at Leopardstown in heavy ground on his previous start, so carries a 5lbs penalty on Saturday. He already has four-course victories under his belt.
With Thanks is second favourite, a four-year-old filly trained by William Haggas. She finished a close second to Onassis at Goodwood last October before bolting up in a Group 3 at Naas. The style of her victory suggested that she could step up to the highest level this season, and she has a Group 2 entry at Royal Ascot. The only concern is that she has not raced this season, so her fitness must be taken on trust.
Toro Strike posted a career-best for Richard Fahey at Thirsk in April when defeating Motakhayyel by two and a quarter lengths. Soft ground may not be ideal for the son of Toronado, who was beaten in testing conditions at Ascot and Longchamp last season. He was only narrowly beaten by Happy Power in good to soft ground at Goodwood in August, but that was probably as soft as he would like it.
Glorious Journey Returns From Dubai For Appleby
Glorious Journey has put in a couple of solid efforts for Charlie Appleby in Dubai this year. His latest effort in February resulted in a close fourth behind Space Blues. It is difficult to compare Dubai form, and he will be racing on a much softer surface at Haydock. He won on soft ground at Newbury in 2019, and only Safe Voyage is officially rated higher in this race.
River Nymph bounced back to form with victory in the valuable Victoria Cup at Ascot. He had lost his way at the end of last season and made no show in the Lincoln on her seasonal debut. River Nymph was racing off a mark of 100 last time so needs to find further improvement to win here.
Jessica Harrington trained Njord to win a valuable Ascot handicap over a mile in soft ground in October. He was well beaten at Naas first time out but ran a lot better at the same track when third to Snapraeterea two weeks’ ago.
Brad The Brief was well beaten at the Curragh in April but will like the conditions, having won a Group 3 in France last season in heavy ground. That was over six furlongs, and he is yet to show whether he stays the extra furlong. Queen Jo Jo completes the line-up, a five-year-old daughter of Gregorian trained by Kevin Ryan. She was over four lengths behind Safe Voyage at York last August and is only 2lbs better off at the weights.
With Thanks @4-1 William Hill
Toro Strike @7-1
Each-way 1/5 odds, 1,2,3
The John Of Gaunt Stakes is due off at 3.30 at Haydock Park on Saturday 29th May and will be televised live on ITV.