FORTUNE favours the brave, so they say, but sometimes it pays to play it Safe.
And, in the John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock (3.35), the play is definitely SAFE VOYAGE.
The relatively lightly-raced six-year-old made it three from three over this course and distance when taking a Listed race last month, despite not getting the clearest of runs.
He still beat Mankib comfortably in the end and, although the runner-up is now 3lb better off, the form should be confirmed.
The recent rain is a plus for Safe Voyage as he loves cut in the ground and has more improvement in him.
But this may not be plain sailing. Sir Dancealot is well treated by race conditions, despite being a Group 2 winner. He ran a blinder in the Lockinge at Newbury last time until the petrol ran out in the final furlong of that Group 1 mile event.
Back to his best trip he commands respect but very testing ground is a concern – as is the poor form of trainer David Elsworth.
The softer it gets the better for seven-furlong specialist Breton Rock, who should run well although he is fully exposed and may be on the downgrade.
Tip Two Win‘s second in last year’s 2,000 Guineas was a brilliant effort but he has not matched it since and, after a lay-off, cannot be tipped to win!
In the 1.45 PREJUDICE can reverse last month’s Newbury form with Alhaazm (second) and Gantier (third).
Betting Spy's top tips for Saturday
- 1.45 Haydock – Prejudice (Latest odds)
- 2.10 Newmarket – Blown By Wind (Latest odds)
- 3.35 Haydock – Safe Voyage (Latest odds)
- 3.40 Chelmsford – War Glory (Latest odds)
- 5.05 Newmarket – Gravistas (Latest odds)
David Simcock’s colt came with what looked like a race-winning run inside the final two furlongs but faded into a close fourth. He was not beaten far by two race-fit rivals and is better off at the weights.
Prejudice, a full-brother to Group 1 winner Postponed, promises to be much better than his mark of 86 in time and should have no problems with the ground.
Anything Mark Johnston runs in middle-distance handicaps must be respected but Mind The Crack has yet to race against this level of opposition.
Whatever happens at Haydock, Johnston has a great chance of a winner 25 minutes later at Newmarket with BLOWN BY WIND in the 2.10.
He ran a blinder on his return at Leicester, staying on for second having looked beaten in a decent six-furlong race. That was his first run since July so plenty of improvement can be expected.
He was in front just after the line and the step up to seven looks sure to suit. He was a classy juvenile, who ran well at Royal Ascot, and top weight will not be a problem, nor will the weather as he is proven on soft.
However, Blown By Wind will not find this a breeze. Flashcard, Awe and Gabrial The Wire are just three of the dangers in a race that will probably prove strong form.
The day could get even better for Braveheart as his GRAVISTAS looks to have a great chance in the 5.05. He has finished runner-up on his last four starts but there is nothing wrong with his attitude.
He was the only one capable of giving Just Benjamin, definitely a name to note, a race at Musselburgh last Saturday and pulled well clear of the third.
I spy an eyecatcher…
At Epsom on Derby day there were the usual quota of hard-luck stories in the Dash and HAROME‘s was typical.
The five-year-old was slowly away which is fatal over the fastest five furlongs in the country. He was still last entering the final quarter mile but stayed on strongly to finish sixth of 20, beaten less than two lengths.
He has been dropped to a mark of 86, just 1lb above the mark he raced off when winning easily at York last summer. He needs a sharp five on fast ground and trainer Roger Fell will surely find him a winning opportunity soon.
The handicapper has been kind and left Gravistas’s mark unchanged. Great Bear and Top Top have potential but may not yet be up to this although consistent Holy Kingdom is not without a prayer!
There is a good card on the all-weather at Chelmsford where, in the week of the D-day anniversary celebrations, WAR GLORY would be an appropriate winner of the 3.40.
He was third in a stronger renewal of this £40,000 mile handicap a year ago and has an excellent record at the Essex track.
He comes here in even better form than 12 months ago having put up a terrific effort at Epsom on Oaks day when he was the only one of the chasing pack to get close to the winner, Corazan Espinado, despite being blocked in his run late on. War Glory is well handicapped, has the best draw and will go close.