John Of Gaunt Stakes Tips: Classy Voyage looks a Safe bet at Haydock

John Of Gaunt Stakes Tips: Check out our best bet for the Group 3 contest.
John Of Gaunt Stakes Tips: Check out our best bet for the Group 3 contest.

Steve Chambers picks out his best bet for the John Of Gaunt Stakes, which takes place at Haydock Park on Saturday afternoon...

John Quinn's Safe Voyage will attempt to emulate the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Main Aim by winning back-to-back renewals of the John Of Gaunt Stakes, and the classy eight-year-old will head to Haydock Park this weekend as the one they all have to beat. It's been over a decade since Main Aim achieved the sparkling Group 3 double, but in Safe Voyage there's a major contender who can emulate the former Freemason Lodge inmate.

Sent off the 5/4 favourite in the 2019 event, Safe Voyage stormed to a one-and-three-quarter length success, but he will face a sterner test on Saturday, as he will have to give weight to all his rivals. With no running of this race last season, Safe Voyage had to look elsewhere for races, and he showed his class by notching victory in the Group 2 City Of York Stakes and Group 2 Boomerang Mile. 

Handed the unenviable task of trying to down Palace Pier in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in his seasonal reappearance, Safe Voyage was unable to land any sort of blow on the John Gosden-trained superstar. A drop back from a mile to the John Of Gaunt trip of seven furlongs should pose no issues, and he certainly won't have a rival in the class of Palace Pier to deal with, so if Quinn can bring him on for that recent Newbury run then he's the one to beat.

William Haggas last trained the winner of this race back in 2004 when Suggestive struck gold, but he will have a strong chance of claiming victory once again with the returning With Thanks, who sits second in the betting, at the time of writing.

The four-year-old has been a real class act during her career, as three wins and two second placed finishes have shown that she oozes class. A filly that has relished soft going during her career, she will hope that Haydock doesn't dry too much in the lead-up to Saturday's contest, as she would stand a mighty chance of toppling Safe Voyage in wet conditions, but making her first start of the campaign she may just lack the sharpness to down a race-fit Safe Voyage.

One fascinating contender lining up on the back of a fine win is the Clive Cox-trained River Nymph, who was last seen winning the ultra-competitive Victoria Cup at Ascot. A real 7f specialist (won last three races at distance), River Nymph is another that will be hoping that it's softish ground at the weekend, as he shone in the wet at Ascot last time out. But, more will be needed to land a significant blow, and while he could be the solid each-way play here, he may just lack the class to get his head in front.

A former Group 2 winner of the Hungerford Stakes, Glorious Journey is looking for another standout 7f success, and he adds depth to the race here. Charlie Appleby's raider was last seen finishing fourth in Riyadh, so a return to British shores could bring on improvement, as he has shown his best over seven furlongs, but he could be another that improves for the run, and this contest could be used as a springboard to bigger and better things.

Of the others, Richard Fahey's Toro Strike heads into Saturday's event on the back of a fine win at Thirsk, where he beat the classy Motakhayyel, and a repeat of that effort should put him on the vicinity here. That win came on good to firm, so he is one that would want the ground to dry significantly, and if it does then he has to be considered a major contender for glory.

Jessica Harrington's Njord was third in a Listed event at Naas last time out, so is an intriguing runner from Ireland here, while Kinross and Brad The Brief add yet more depth to an enthralling renewal.

John Of Gaunt Stakes
Safe Voyage silk

Safe Voyage

Royal Ascot Races
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