Breton ready to Rock at Haydock
There is a lot to like about Breton Rock in the Betway John of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock this afternoon.
David Simcock's chiselled seven-year-old has been a solid operator over the years, and this represents a really good opportunity for him.
The gelded son of Bahamian Bounty arrives on Merseyside in fine fettle after having finished third in the Lockinge at Newbury last month.
Breton Rock was never able to lay a glove on Ribchester, but Simcock must have been well chuffed with him as he had never really produced his best form over a mile up until then.
That claim is evidenced by the fact he has never won beyond seven furlongs, so this drop in trip for the John of Gaunt looks a shrewd bit of business.
Just as importantly, though, is Breton Rock's fondness for a ruck in the muck.
He has continually produced the goods when the ground is soft and even won a heavy-ground renewal of the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket a year ago.
Breton Rock must give away weight to the field, but he is a gutsy old warhorse who should have broad enough shoulders to handle that burden.
Ajman Princess is likely to make no mistake in the other Group Three on the card, the Betway Pinnacle Stakes.
Roger Varian's inmate is unbeaten this year and looked a cut above in a Listed race at Goodwood last month when she trounced a fair-looking field by upwards of five lengths.
The ground was fast that day, but she only succumbed to Even Song in a soft-ground Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last year.
Ajman Princess looks to be progressing quite beautifully and appears eminently capable of winning a very nice race this summer.
It is quite difficult to escape the advances of Jaameh in the John Sunley Memorial Handicap at Newmarket.
The Mark Johnston-trained four-year-old took charge of a strong staying handicap at Chester's May meeting and should not be knocked off his stride by a sizeable hike in the weights.
Versatile in terms of whatever the ground will be like on the July course, he is just the sort of horse his trainer does so well with.
Good racing at Beverley, with the Johnston-trained Cardsharp highly likely to be involved at the finish of the Brian Yeardley Continental Two-Year-Old Trophy.
The Lonhro colt was runner-up in the Woodcote at Epsom last week, with the winner that day now a leading fancy for the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Assuming he can handle dig in the ground, that form makes him the stand-out contender on the Westwood.
A strong case can be made for Maggies Angel in the Hilary Needler Trophy.
Whereas many of her rivals might struggle to get to grips with conditions, Richard Fahey's filly should be fine after she finished fourth in the Marygate at a drenched York last month.
Nap: Breton Rock
Double: Ajman Princess