Trainer John Gosden has a good recent record in the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes and Highgarden looks decent value at 6/1 with BetVictor to further enhance it with victory in this year’s renewal of the extended 1m 3f contest at Haydock on Saturday (14:25).
The Newmarket handler has won two of the last four runnings, courtesy of Sultanina (2014) and Journey (2016). In Highgarden, he has a filly who improved throughout last season and has some solid form in the book.
She ran well when fourth in the Group 3 Musidora Stakes at York and, after then finding the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot too hot, posted a cracking effort when a 1 3/4 lengths runner-up to Worth Waiting in a Listed contest at Newmarket.
The winner is a smart sort who went on to finish fourth in a Group 1 in France, and looked like a horse to keep onside when making a winning return to action last month in the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket.
That gives the form a strong look and Highgarden went on to round off the campaign with a career best effort when staying on strongly from off the pace to get up close home and beat Mrs Sippy by a head in a Group 3 at Newmarket under Frankie Dettori.
This daughter of Nathaniel has to give 3lb away to all eight of her rivals as a result of that success, but it was a most taking performance and one which suggested there was better to come from Highgarden this season.
So, with the stable in fine form and Dettori once in the saddle, Highgarden is taken to make a winning reappearance en route to better things.
Irish raider True Self clear on ratings
True Self heads the betting at 5/4 with Paddy Power and on official ratings is the one to beat, so is feared most.
This six-year-old hails from the all-conquering yard of Willie Mullins and was a dual winner over hurdles who has a tremendous strike rate of 75 per cent on the level having won six of her eight starts.
After landing a maiden at Cotk last October by nine lengths, True Self ran out an impressive winner of a Listed contest at Bath by three lengths over Mistress Quickly.
The daughter of Oscar then had no difficulty following up in a similar grade affair at Newmarket, when leading on the bit two furlongs from home before being pushed clear to readily beat Air Pilot by 2 1/4 lengths.
That was a stronger race for the grade than the one at Bath and True Self looked as good as ever on seasonal reappearance at Gowran Park last month when cosily getting the better of Jaega by three-quarters of a length.
Her official rating of 110 is the highest in the line-up and puts True Self 6lb clear of Highgarden, from who she receives weight.
It suggests that she is going to be tough to beat and will be only the fifth ever runner at the Merseyside venue for Mullins.
Interestingly, however, none of his previous four raiders have even made the frame. It’s very hard to see True Self not doing at least that, but at the odds on offer she looks plenty short enough and worth opposing with the younger, upwardly mobile Highgarden.
Tarboosh the answer to Achilles puzzle
Tarboosh hasn’t been at his best in two starts this season but, on the pick of his form, looks worth a punt at 4/1 with Betfair to land a weak looking renewal of the Listed 5f Achilles Stakes (16:00)
This six-year-old has been transformed since joining trainer Paul Midgley in June 2017, winning eight times and rising in the ratings by a whopping 36lb.
He had a terrific campaign last season when winning four times and, in the last of those successes, defied top weight of 9st 10lb to land a competitive 22-runner class 2 handicap at Doncaster when running on strongly to score by a length.
It was a performance which suggested Tarboosh would be up to winning in pattern company and his two starts this season this season haven’t been totally devoid of promise.
After finishing a close up third to stable companion Tanasoq at Musselburgh, the son of Bahamian Bounty showed plenty of early dash and pressed the leaders two from home before weakening late on to finish a 6 3/4 lengths eighth of 11 to Mabs Cross in what was a hot renewal of the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket.
This represents a return to calmer waters and, with those two spins under his belt, Tarboosh should now be spot on to do himself justice at a venue where he has run well to finish in the frame on two previous visits.
Stake Acclaim is the 11/4 favourite with William Hill and highest rated in the nine-runner field.
He looked as good as ever when overcoming a lengthy absence to land a decent class 2 handicap at Newbury back in April by 2 3/4 lengths from Blue De Vega – so looks the main danger.
Side with Sir Dancealot in John Of Gaunt
Sir Dancealot shaped with plenty of promise on seasonal reappearance, so now dropped in class looks the one to be on at a best-price 7/2 with Betfred</b in the Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes run over 7f (15:35).
This David Elsworth trained five-year-old did terrifically well last season when winning four times, including twice at Group 2 level.
In the last of those in the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury, Sir Dancealot was held-up as usual by regular pilot Gerald Mosse, who has a 33 per cent strike rate on him, before bursting through and showing a smart turn of foot to beat Dream Of Dreams by 1 3/4 lengths.
He has since been campaigned at the highest level and posted a really solid effort when a 2 1/4 lengths fifth of 16 to One Master in in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret at Longchamp on Arc day back in October.
The son of Sir Prancelot was also far from disgraced at Newbury last month in the Group 1 Lockinge when sixth of 14 to Mustashry, where he pressed the leaders two from home before weakening to be beaten 6 1/4 lengths over a 1m trip which stretches his stamina to the limit.
Sir Dancealot is sure to strip much fitter for that and the drop back down to 7f over which he has a tremendous strike rate of 42 per cent is an obvious plus.
This is also a far more suitable assignment and ground conditions will hold no fears, so everything looks in place for him to bag a ninth career success.
Course specialist Safe Voyage a key player
Safe Voyage, who can be backed at 7/2 with William Hill, is unbeaten in three starts over course and distance and comes into the race on the back of a career best performance, so commands the utmost respect despite now tackling his toughest assignment to date.
That win came here in a Listed contest where the John Quinn trained six-year-old son of Fast Company was denied a clear run two from home when making a challenge from off the pace, before staying on strongly once seeing daylight to get up and beat Mankib by 1 1/4 lengths.
Safe Voyage won going away and was value for more than the winning margin, given how the race panned out.
It suggests that he should be able to confirm the form with the re-opposing runner-up and Suedois, who finished just over two lengths further back in fourth having held every chance a furlong from home.
Safe Voyage is clearly going the right way and a bold bid to land the hat-trick under Jason Hart, who has a 42 per cent strike rate on him, looks assured.