The John Of Gaunt Stakes is centre stage on Haydock’s Saturday afternoon card as three days of racing at the Merseyside track comes to a close and Dutch Connection is the fancy to oblige.
Dutch Connection – To win @ 3/1
Charlie Hills’ charge ran a stormer last month in the Lockinge at Newbury, just failing to get in the frame at a massive price. He won’t be anything near as fancy this time, he is dropping class and – crucially – back over his beloved seven-furlongs.
That Newbury run once again served notice that amongst elite horses Dutch Connection just lacks something over the mile. He travelled stylishly through the race but wasn’t able to go on with it in the closing stages as Lancaster Bomber pipped him for place money behind Rhododendron.
He won’t be finding anything of her quality here, though, and the 7f trip is made for James Doyle’s mount. His win in the Supreme Stakes at Goodwood last summer should see him conceding a Group 3 winners penalty to his Haydock rivals but that win luckily fell outside the cut-off and so it is level weights today.
Mustajeer – To win @ 6/4
Mustajeer has scaled new heights in just three starts since arriving into Ger Lyons’ yard after departing Owen Burrows’ string.
He scored nicely on his debut over 1m2f at Naas last season and then went down bravely in Listed class next time out. It was his reappearance this term, however, that struck a chord when he came home just two lengths back on Cliffs Of Moher in the Group 2 Mooresbridge Stakes at Naas.
That was a career-best in defeat and a repeat under Colin Keane at the Curragh on Saturday should be enough to take the honours in this Listed Silver Stakes over a mile.
Eye Of The Storm – Each-way @ 14/1
Keith Dalgleish’s runner faces a tough task in attempting to take the measure of Reverend Jacobs but he might prove capable of grabbing some place money at least. The son of Galileo has won four times at pattern level in his career and wasn’t beaten far in his first two starts for these connections.
He hasn’t performed to his best level in a couple of recent runs but does find himself starting to look well-handicapped as a consequence.
His penultimate effort was on a Chester track that potentially wouldn’t have appealed to him, while he has since found himself with too much ground to make up at Hamilton and did well to run on into a close sixth.
Dalgleish and jockey Philip Makin have an excellent 20 per cent strike-rate together at Musselburgh and their charge is overpriced should he take a forward step now.
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