Haydock Park stages feature Saturday meeting

Haydock Park racecourse stages the headline meeting on Saturday afternoon with four races live on ITV Racing.

Haydock Park racecourse stages the headline meeting on Saturday afternoon
Haydock Park racecourse stages the headline meeting on Saturday afternoon

The card features two Group Three events and a Listed contest with the seven-race programme getting underway at 1.15pm. The finale is at 4.40pm. We have previewed the pick of the action.

The highlight of the afternoon is the £60,000 G3 John Of Gaunt Stakes over seven furlongs at 3.30pm. Nine runners go to post for the event, which is headlined by 11/4 favourite Safe Voyage. The John Quinn-trained eight-year-old is a three-time winner at Haydock and the pick of his form last year saw him take out two G2 events at York and Leopardstown respectively.

The son of Fast Company was outclassed in G1 company on his last two runs when last at the Breeders’ Cup and at Newbury on his reappearance in the Lockinge Stakes. However, he should be seen to better effect with this drop in class and makes plenty of appeal.

The danger according to the market is With Thanks (7/2) who makes her seasonal debut having impressed when scoring by five lengths at Naas in November. The four-year-old has only run five times in her career and is open to stacks of improvement.

Others to note include Toro Strike (11/2) who returned to action with a very smooth win at Thirsk last time out, whilst River Nymph (6/1) also comes into the race off the back of a narrow success at Ascot earlier this month. Glorious Journey (13/2) shaped with promise in Saudi Arabia last time out and also looks a potential winner.

Irish raider Njord (8/1) is another to note, having landed the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot on Champions Day in October and is respected for Shane Foley and Jessica Harrington, whilst Kinross (10/1) benefits from having Frankie Dettori in the saddle. Queen Jo Jo (20/1) and Brad The Brief (16/1) complete the nine runners.

The other Group race of the evening is the £60,000 G3 Pinnacle Stakes over 12 furlongs at 2.55pm. The market leader at 13/8 is Cabaletta for Roger Varian. The four-year-old was a well-beaten third on her reappearance in the Middleton Stakes at York having run a number of good races last season, which featured a Listed win at Newbury.

Her six rivals are headed by La Lune (11/4) who posted a career best when scoring in Listed company at Nottingham in April and Oriental Mystique (11/4) who filled third at Goodwood in a Listed event at Goodwood last month.

Salsada (13/2) was only sixth in a Listed event at Doncaster in November and this demands more, whilst Wait For The Lord (16/1) and National Treasure (40/1) will need career bests to feature.

Also worth mentioning on the card is the £37,000 Listed Achilles Stakes at 2.20pm where 12 horses go to post including the popular eight-year-old El Astronaute who heads the betting at 7/2 following a comeback win at Chester. He is a leading player along with Moss Gill (5/1) who was second in Listed company earlier this term. Her Majesty The Queen’s King’s Lynn (6/1), Tarboosh (6/1), Motagally (6/1) and Aljady (7/1) are others to note.

Haydock Selections

1.15pm Mark Of Gold

1.45pm Bielsa

2.20pm El Astronaute

2.55pm Oriental Mystique

3.30pm Safe Voyage

4.05pm Twilight Heir

4.40pm Il Bandito

Tips from OLBG