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Safe sights set on further Gaunt glory

Safe Voyage aims to erase the memory of a disappointing run in the Lockinge Stakes and wrap up a fifth win at Haydock, in the Betway John of Gaunt Stakes.

His latest success at the Merseyside circuit came in this race when it was last run in 2019, since when Safe Voyage has won twice at Group Two level – at York and Leopardstown last season – as well as going close in the Group One Prix de la Foret on Arc day in October.

John Quinn’s talented eight-year-old failed to show his true form at Newbury when finishing last of 11 on his latest start in top company, but his trainer is confident of a much better display in Saturday’s Group Three contest back on his happy hunting ground.

“I’ve been pleased with him since the Lockinge. It didn’t really work for him – but he loves Haydock, and we’re hoping for a good run,” said the Malton handler.

“The ground will be fine for him, so it’s fingers crossed.”

Tom Dascombe is hoping Brad The Brief will prove adaptable when he tries seven furlongs for only the second time, having been hampered on his first attempt at the Curragh last month.

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“He’s generally been a six-furlong horse, (but) we think that seven will suit,” said Dascombe.

“Soft ground is an absolute must, and I think he’ll get the ground anyway.”

Toro Strike winning at Goodwood
Toro Strike winning at Goodwood (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Paul Hanagan is bullish about the chances of the Richard Fahey-trained Toro Strike, who impressed on his seasonal reappearance in a conditions event at Thirsk last month.

“I couldn’t be happier. He was just on his head early on round that sharp track at Thirsk. I think Haydock will probably suit him better,” the jockey told Sky Sports Racing.

“He’s come out of the race well, and we’re really happy with him. Even just to look at him, he’s a beautiful-looking horse and has a wonderful temperament.

“He’s got everything going for him. We’re really hopeful.”

Queen Jo Jo represents Kevin Ryan
Queen Jo Jo represents Kevin Ryan (Martin Lynch/PA)

Queen Jo Jo was third behind Safe Voyage in the City Of York Stakes in August when she last tackled seven furlongs.

Kevin Ryan knows conditions will be more testing, but has no qualms about running the five-year-old mare.

“It’s going to be very testing ground and over seven furlongs, but she’s in good form and we’re there to take our chance,” said the Thirsk-based trainer.

William Haggas saddles Group Three-winning filly With Thanks, and said: “I hope she’ll enjoy the ground, but she will need her first run.

“I’m trying to get her to Ascot for the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, so she’ll probably need this, but she’s done very well so far and I’m hopeful she’ll run a very good race

“She’s much better than last year, and much stronger, and she’s very genuine.”

Charlie Appleby’s Glorious Journey returns to British action after running well in Dubai and Saudi Arabia earlier in the year, with recent Victoria Cup winner River Nymph (Clive Cox), Kinross (Ralph Beckett) and Irish raider Njord (Jessica Harrington) completing the field.

Quinn content with performances from ParisLongcamp trio

John Quinn was proud of his three runners who put up admirable performances in defeat in two of the Group One races at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.

Liberty Beach and Keep Busy finished third and fifth respectively in the Prix de l’Abbaye, while Safe Voyage was third in the Prix de la Foret.

For a moment, the North Yorkshire trainer thought Liberty Beach might lift the big sprint prize in the hands of Frankie Dettori, only to go down by half a length behind Wooded, with Keep Busy sticking on well to be beaten two lengths in all.

“They ran very well. Liberty Beach ran great. It looked like maybe she was going to do it, she just got beat, but she ran really well,” said Quinn.

“Keep Busy was flat out, but finished well. She ran a good race and wasn’t beaten far.”

Safe Voyage put in good late work behind One Master and Earthlight, beaten half a length as the winner sealed a record hat-trick of victories in the Foret.

“It looked like they were going to get away from him, but he battled back and was nearly going to get up, but the winning post came too soon,” the trainer said.

Quinn is no rush to make plans for the trio, adding: “We’ll let the dust settle before deciding what we do with them.”

Breeders’ Cup date beckons for Safe Voyage

John Quinn has put the Breeders’ Cup Mile top of the agenda for Safe Voyage following his latest big-race success in Ireland on Saturday.

Following an impressive display in last month’s City of York Stakes, the seven-year-old doubled his Group Two tally and claimed his 12th career victory overall with the narrowest of triumphs over Sinawann in the Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown.

A step up to Group One level beckons for a horse clearly in the form of his life – and while both the Prix de la Foret at ParisLongchamp and the QEII at Ascot are under consideration, it is the two-turn mile at Keeneland in November which whets Quinn’s appetite the most.

Reflecting on Saturday’s win, he said: “We’re delighted it just went his way. I think he deserved it as he’s so tough and admirable – everything you want in a top-class racehorse.

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“It was his first win over a mile, which is great – it opens up other doors.

“We’ll see how he comes out of the race, but I’m going to work back from the Breeders’ Cup. We can look at the Foret and the QEII, but he’ll only run in one of those, if any.

“They’re all very good races, but the Breeders’ Cup Mile is the race that appeals the most.”

A fine weekend for the Malton-based trainer almost got even better at the Curragh on Sunday, with Keep Busy beaten just half a length in the Group One Flying Five Stakes by a fellow Yorkshire raider in Kevin Ryan’s Glass Slippers.

Keep Busy (right) pushed Glass Slippers all the way in the Flying Five
Keep Busy (right) pushed Glass Slippers all the way in the Flying Five (PA)

Quinn was unsurprisingly delighted with Keep Busy’s display – and far from disappointed by the performance of her better-fancied stablemate Liberty Beach in finishing seventh in the same race.

“It was a phenomenal run from Keep Busy – she doesn’t know how to run a bad race,” Quinn added.

“She got a bump from a horse going backwards and was beaten half a length, but that’s racing and full credit to Kevin and all the connections of the winner.

“Liberty Beach ran a good race as well. She just had no luck in running and was only beaten three lengths.

“They’re both entered in the Prix de l’Abbaye and if they’re both well, that’s where they’ll go.”