John of Gaunt Stakes Tips: Major to rule at Haydock on Saturday

A classy field line up for the John Of Gaunt Stakes.
A classy field line up for the John Of Gaunt Stakes.

A field of eight are set to go to post for the Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes, which is the feature race at Haydock Park at 15:30 on Saturday afternoon, and our man Steve Chambers previews the event here and picks out his best bet...

Ralph Beckett's Kinross stormed to an impressive one-and-a-quarter length victory in this race 12 months before going on to claim Group 2 glory in the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, and the five-year-old son of Kingman will attempt to replicate last year's display in what looks a hugely competitive renewal of the John Of Gaunt in 2022.

Challenging for favouritism around the 3/1 mark, at the time of writing, Kinross failed to fire in Group 1 company on his final three starts last season, with a brace of efforts in France seeing him struggle, while he was last seen finishing ninth in the Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on British Champions Day. This is much easier than that assignment, and he showed last season that he can produce the goods on his comeback run in Britain, but this looks a tougher task on paper and he could well come unstuck on his seasonal reappearance.

Sitting alongside him at the head of the betting is the John & Thady Gosden-trained SUNRAY MAJOR, who comes into the race on the back of a couple of runs, and if he can produce his best then looks the one to beat at 3/1. A progressive handicapper last season, Sunray Major could only finish fifth in the Group 2 bet365 Mile at Sandown on his first start this term, while he was outclassed when sixth of nine in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, where he bumped into the superstar Baaeed. Victorious on both his starts over seven furlongs, the son of Dubawi will relish the drop back in trip, and that could well be the making of him this season, and with more improvement to come now down in class he can prevail in fine style.

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A Group winner a couple of seasons ago, Happy Power appeared to lose his way in recent times, but the Andrew Balding-trained six-year-old stormed back to winning ways at Leicester in a Listed event in April, and the six-year-old will attempt to follow up here. Beating two rivals that day, he will need to show it wasn't a flash in the pan, but he did finish a place ahead of Kinross when they clashed at Ascot in the Champions Sprint last season, so he could well land a blow on that raider here. However, he could lack the class to deal with Sunray Major, so is best watched at 4/1.

Karl Burke's string have been in tremendous form of late and an ultra-consistent performer for him is Spycatcher, who hasn't been out of the first three in his last six races and was last seen finishing a fine second in the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes at York. The four-year-old will step up from six to seven furlongs here and that could be his downfall, as he's yet to get his head in front over that trip, so he could be outstayed by some of his rivals here.

Available at 8/1, Roger Varian's Laneqash is the most unexposed contender here, and could provide decent each-way value against the market leaders. Second in the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury over seven furlongs last August, he then put up decent efforts when finishing in the top four at Doncaster and Newmarket. He will have his first run of the season here, so is entitled to improve for it, but he has scope to improve this campaign, and the lightly-raced son of Cable Bay can certainly challenge for glory here.

Of the others, Pogo was last seen finishing way back in Meydan and needs to bounce back here, while Misty Grey and Catch Twentytwo will need to put in career bests, if they are to play any prominent role in a contest that can go the way of Sunray Major, who can use the race as a springboard to more success in Pattern company later in the year.

John Of Gaunt Stakes
Sunray Major silk

Sunray Major

lost
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