Dutch Connection shoots for Gaunt glory at Haydock

Charlie Hills’ runner drops back in trip for Group Three contest

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Dutch Connection bids to make the most of having his sights lowered in the Betway John of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock on Saturday.

The Godolphin-owned six-year-old has won four times at Group-race level, with each of those triumphs coming over seven furlongs.

He stepped up to a mile on his seasonal reappearance in last month’s Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and while the 50-1 shot was far from disgraced in finishing fourth, trainer Charlie Hills expects to see his charge in a better light back over his favoured distance on Merseyside.

Hills said: “He ran a blinder at Newbury and it’s been the plan to aim for this race since.

“I think coming back to seven furlongs will definitely suit him and he does want fast ground, so I hope they don’t get any more rain.

“It won’t be easy, that’s for sure, but he has some good form and hopefully he has a decent chance.”

Dutch Connection faces seven rivals, with Godolphin also fielding D’Bai from Charlie Appleby’s yard.

Emmaus is an interesting contender for Roger Varian, stepping up in class after winning for the third time at Leicester in a Listed event in April.

The Richard Hannon-trained Tabarrak opened his account for the campaign over this course and distance a month ago and is expected to make his presence felt again this weekend.

Angus Gold, racing manager for owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “Tabarrak is a lovely horse who always gives it his best. I’m sure he will again on Saturday.

“It’s the right sort of race for him. I think seven furlongs is pretty much his optimum distance and he’s obviously won at the track.”

The first Group race of the afternoon is the Betway Pinnacle Stakes, which has attracted nine fillies and mares

Luca Cumani’s God Given placed fourth in the Buckhounds Stakes at Ascot last month and is the likely favourite back against her own sex.

Crimson Rosette has won three of her last four starts for trainer Charlie Fellowes and owner-breeder Anthony Oppenheimer, but has far more on her plate than when bolting up in a Doncaster handicap three weeks ago.

Fellowes said: “It’s a big step up, but as far as Group Threes go, I didn’t think it looked the strongest race in the world.

“She’s won three out of her last four races, so she’s on a roll. I thought she was very impressive at Doncaster and the second has won since.

“She’ll like the ground and, on breeding, the step up in trip could even bring about a bit of improvement, so we’re hoping for a big run.”

Keith Dalgleish’s recent Ayr scorer Euro Nightmare and Markus Klug-trained German raider Fosun also feature.

Muthmir is the star name amongst 10 sprinters declared for the Listed Betway Achilles Stakes.

The eight-year-old was fifth behind fellow Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned runner Battaash in the Temple Stakes here a fortnight ago and runs outside Group company for the first time in over a year.

Gold added: “I thought he ran all right in the Temple Stakes.

“This looks the right race for him. We’re dropping him in grade a little bit and it looks like he should get his favoured fast ground.

“We think the ability is still there, so fingers crossed.”

Final Venture claimed this prize a year ago for Paul Midgley and returns to defend his crown on the back of finishing third at York.

“He did run well at York a couple of weeks ago. He just dwelt a bit on the stalls and missed the start, but he can do that from time to time,” said the Westow-based trainer.

“Muthmir is obviously the one to beat, but they say you should never be afraid of one horse and we’ll give it a shot.”

Bryan Smart expects Alpha Delphini to give another good account of himself after placing third in last month’s Palace House at Newmarket.

He said: “He’s in good form, I’m very happy with him and I’m hoping for a good run.

“He was doing his best work at the finish at Newmarket last time. He didn’t actually come down the dip very well.

“He’s run well at Haydock before and going back on a level track should be good for him.”

Dutch Connection shoots for Gaunt glory at Haydock
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