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Haydock best bet: Popmaster can excel in wide-open John Of Gaunt Stakes

Haydock has a card to savour on Saturday afternoon, and the John Of Gaunt Stakes should give race-goers plenty to get excited about in what promises to be a wide-open seven-furlong sprint.

15:35 Haydock: Betfred John Of Gaunt Stakes  (7 furlongs 36 yards)

The morning withdrawal of early favourite Noble Dynasty has left  Ramazan and Witch Hunter jointly heading the market on a tentative 9/2 mark, and it would be no surprise to see them both bang there at the business end of the race.

Ramazan has come runner-up on his last four outings, most recently by just a head in Ascot’s Victoria Cup a month ago, while Witch Hunter memorably landed the Buckingham Palace Handicap at Royal Ascot last year and came a decent third in last month’s Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

Planet Sport Bet Daily Special: Bet £20+ cash on any runner in the race and if Point Lynas finishes in the first 3 places, get a £5 Free Bet

It would be a major surprise if both of those two fail to make the frame, but at such relatively short odds and with four each-way places up for grabs, better value might be found further down the betting.

Quinault stands out after winning seven times over this distance last season, so the Stuart Williams-trained four-year-old clearly has the ability to bounce back from coming eighth of 15 on his reappearance from a seven-month break three weeks ago.

A similar case could be made for Ed Bethell’s Point Lynas, whose connections can expect another good run to follow up his successful season bow in the 17-runner Hambleton Handicap at York last month.

Our final nod, however, goes in the direction of experienced campaigner, Popmaster, who has finished in the first two in 14 of his 34 career outings, winning six of them, and is expected to go well again for Ed Walker under Saffie Osborne.

Suggested best bet: Popmaster each-way in the 15:35 at Haydock

Walker’s yard is in good nick this term and the last time he teamed up with Osborne produced the most recent winner for both trainer and jockey at Nottingham on Wednesday.

Popmaster finished last season in some style, with three runner-up spots in big-field handicaps interrupted only by an impressive win in a Listed race over this distance at Newbury in September.

The six-year-old grey has yet to hit those heights in two appearances so far this term, although it’s worth noting that his seventh-of-21 finish last time out in the Victoria Cup at Ascot belies the fact that he was less than two lengths behind the winner, and was never nearer than at the line.

That race was under handicap conditions, with popmaster carrying top weight, so his chances should be enhanced further by taking on his rivals on level terms here.


READ MORE: Saturday ITV racing tips: Best bets for Haydock and Beverley on June 8

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