The domestic football season is over and the World Cup has not begun so Haydock should be packed to the rafters on Saturday. The course is ideally placed for the football mad cities of Liverpool and Manchester so with no meaningful fixtures at the weekend the crowd should be boosted at the track which has excellent transport links to those two major conurbations. Tabarrak is the horse to back in the John Of Gaunt Stakes which is the feature race on the Haydock card.
The race is run over seven furlongs and is one of the two Group 3 contests at the fixture. The other main race is the Pinnacle Stakes for fillies and mares and the distance is 12 furlongs which is almost one lap at Haydock. God Given is the best horse in the race based on form and Racing Post Ratings and is a worthy favourite. Tabarrak is the favourite with some bookmakers for the John Of Gaunt Stakes and the double on the two market leaders prevailing pays over 10/1.
Haydock attracts plenty of runners from the south and is one of the best dual purpose tracks in the country. It is one of the few courses that stages a Group 1 race on the Flat and a Grade 1 race over jumps. It is easy to get from the motorway network and that enhances the overall quality of the runners. Tabarrak is trained by Richard Hannon and God Given is trained by Luca Cumani and they are both based in the south. Derby winning trainer Charlie Appleby has potential runners and his base is in Newmarket.
Tabarrak is the favourite for a decent race and several horses have strong claims. Emmaus will have plenty of backers after impressive wins at Listed level. The horse won three races at Leicester over seven furlongs when coming off the pace. Emmaus is progressive but unproven at Group level and the horse could get found out in better company. Tabarrak can handle the quality of the opposition and is preferred. The selection’s win on the track stacks up well and is the best form on offer.
Tabarrak is owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum and he has several potential good things on Saturday. Muthmir is the horse to back in the Achilles Stakes at Haydock because he has been given a good opportunity on the basis of past form. The horse has won three races at Group 2 level but has struggled recently in Group races. The drop in class will take Muthmir back into his comfort zone and a win is predicted. The horse has a few near misses in better races so it could all come right at Haydock this weekend in one of three Listed races. There are also five handicaps at the meeting.
At the time of writing Mark Johnston has fiver entries in the one mile and four furlongs handicap that is the first race. Silvestre de Sousa’s name appears alongside the five horses so presumably only one will run or other jockeys are required. On ratings Baghdad is the best of the Johnston runners but Sharja Silk for Roger Varian is a much bigger price having shown a similar level of form and offers the value. Istanbul Sultan has something to find but could be the most progressive runner.
The Sprint Handicap at 5.10 could have a maximum field of 17 runners which means each-way bets will be settled at one quarter the odds for four places. Royal Residence was second over the course and distance in his first handicap last month. The horse was unlucky in running but finished well ahead of the rest of the field so can go one better at Haydock on Saturday.