Pastoral Player Aims For Repeat Win in Haydock Feature
Haydock’s feature race on Saturday is the Group 3 Timeform Jury Stakes, formerly known as The John Of Gaunt Stakes. It is a seven furlong race for four-year-olds and upwards and recent winners include Sir Michael Stoute’s Main Aim who won it in 2009 and 2010.
Pastoral Player will be seeking to emulate Main Aim with back-to-back victories when he lines up this weekend. Graham Lee takes the ride on Hughie Morrison’s six-year-old who shaped promisingly over the course and distance last month in The Pertemps Network Spring Trophy.
Roger Varian’s Eton Forever won on that occasion, beating subsequent Epsom winner Gregorian by a head. Red Jazz ran his customary game race in third and Pastoral Player was just behind in fourth after meeting trouble in running.
The form of that race looks decent with the fifth and sixth horses also running well subsequently. The going was good to soft on that occasion but will ride faster on Saturday after the recent dry spell.
The faster ground could be a concern for supporters of Eton Forever who has shown his best form on good or good to soft ground. His victories include a valuable handicap at Royal Ascot last summer and the Doncaster Spring Mile in 2011. Red Jazz ran a little disappointingly here last season when only fourth but ran well here last time, his first outing since returning from a spell in Dubai.
Amarillo is the unknown quantity of the race. He was fourth in a Group 3 race over a mile at Baden Baden last month but finished second to Caspar Netscher in the German 2000 Guineas last season so certainly warrants respect.
Richard Hannon is represented by Libranno who ran too freely in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury last time. He has lost his way a little since beating Pastoral Player at Doncaster in September. Premio Loco is a regular in this type of race but may be past his best at the age of nine whilst Monsieur Chevalier has not shown the same level of form at seven furlongs as he did at sprint distances.