It’s a relatively quiet weekend of horse racing, at least on these shores, as eyes already begin to stray towards Royal Ascot from Tuesday 19th June.
There is a pretty big race across the pond with Justify going for the American Triple Crown. I am of course already on Hofburg at 5-1 (see post on Wednesday) to take the 150th running of Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park, New York and deny Justify he’s place in racing history. They are due off at 11.46pm our time so remember to pace yourself and leave the boozer a little earlier than usual.
Back here in good old Blighty Haydock does host a couple of Group Three races and a Listed sprint this weekend. At first glance, God Given looks the one to be on for the Group Three Betway Pinnacle Stakes at 2.50 over 1m4f. She is the best filly in the heat and she has won over C&D but my big concern is her three wins have been on soft going. I can’t back her at the odds with the ground riding good-firm.
At 3.25 they line-up for the Listed Betway Achilles Stakes over five furlongs. Muthmir has been going well without winning for a while, last win a G.2 out in Chantilly 12 months ago, but he has lost little in defeat going up against the likes of Lady Aurelia and Battaash. He should prove a class above the opposition here with all due respect to them. The eight-year-old has plenty of form on fast going and I honestly thought he would be shorter than the 3-1 that has been about during the week – Paddy Power knew they were 15-8. Judicial and Alpha Delphini are the most likely to follow him home.
G.3 Betway John Of Gaunt Stakes over seven furlongs at 4.00. The ideal conditions for Dutch Connection are a combination of seven furlongs and fast ground and I read with interest how trainer Charlie Hills has been checking the weather app regularly all week with this race in mind and it looks as though the weather Gods have given the six-year-old a chance. He went well for a long way in the G.1 Lockinge at Newbury over a mile last month before the class of the opposition and that extra 220 yards proved a little too much – Rhododendron is a class act and third-placed Lancaster Bomber did the form no harm winning the G.1 Tattersalls Gold Cup last weekend. I have 9-4; Power were shortest again at 2’s they must be regular readers of Triple G! Godolphin's D’bai is feared as is Tabarrak both looking for their first Group race win; Emmaus is the possible improver in the field but connections surely would prefer the word soft in the going description.
Newmarket has some decent if not spectacular races and one filly there has caught my eye. Aim Of Artemis has been going well on the Al Bahathri gallop at HQ I am told and is due to line-up for John Gosden in the Porsche Centre Cambridge "Confined" Fillies' Novice Stakes over seven furlongs at 4.15. Purchased by his trainer for Godolphin for one million guineas last December at Tattersalls as part of the dispersal of the Ballymacoll bloodstock big things were hoped for – she has an entry for the G.1 Coronation Stakes. She broke her maiden at the second time of asking winning at Leicester when last seen in September for Sir Michael Stoute. A couple have come out of that race and won since and the runner-up was subsequently second again in a Listed heat at Newbury giving the form a decent look. I don’t think she will be lining up in the Coronation Stakes but she certainly should win this and looks a black-type horse in Novice company to my eyes. She’s likely to be short but if not crazy odds-on when the satchel swingers chalk-up she’s worth an investment.