The Northumberland Plate is Saturday’s feature card from Newcastle and the racecourse executive will be hopeful of a couple of heavy showers on Friday which should enable the tapeta surface to ride faster than is often the case after a prolonged period of dry weather. The track was deep and slow at the beginning of June but had quickened up in recent meetings.
The Gp 3 Chipchase Stakes is a cracker and Silver Wokingham winner Chiefofchiefs makes a quick reappearance having scored at Ascot a week ago. Trainer Charlie Fellowes has stumbled across the gelding’s correct trip having campaigned his 7-y-old over further until the Royal meeting and this stiff 6f will suit. Judicial would need a fast surface to be at his most effective, and the vote must go to Mubbaker (1.50) who is three from three on the all-weather and did us a favour when running out an impressive winner of a competitive handicap here earlier in the month.
One note of caution. There is no guaranteed pace in the race although Mumbo Jumbo has led in the past. This is a step up in grade for Mubakker but one I feel he can take in his stride. The grey is a best priced 5/2 (from 3/1) at Bet365.
Caspian Prince and Ornate will ensure there is no hanging around in the Gosforth Park Cup and my two against the field are Magical Spirit – Megan Nicholls takes off a valuable 3lbs – and Venturous (2.25) with preference for the latter who may have bumped into one when runner up at Haydock earlier in the week. Both horses can be slowly away, and they cannot afford any such luxury in this grade, but I feel a stiff five and an end-to-end gallop will suit, and David Barron’s charge gets the each way vote at 9/1 with Unibet.
Australis (3.35) beat Caravan Of Hope at Wolverhampton earlier in the month and these two young stayers are taken to improve again and fight out the finish of the Plate. Roger Varian’s Australis has the best of the draw in 12 – Caravan Of Hope in 17 – and he is only 1lb worse off for the half a length he was ahead of the Hugo Palmer runner at Dunstall Park. The selection is 11/2 from 6/1 at bet365. Note if the race becomes a war of attrition then Smart Champion certainly enters calculations having finished fourth in the Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting last week over 2m 4f.
It doesn’t look a vintage Irish Derby but it might be worth noting that Santiago beat Berkshire Rocco by the same distance at Royal Ascot in the Queen’s Vase that English King beat the Andrew Balding trained colt in the Lingfield Derby Trial albeit over an additional couple of furlongs. If there is significant rain, he will be tough to beat.
I am a big fan of Georgeville (5.45) and will be disappointed if he doesn’t run a big race for Dermot Weld despite being off the track for 12 months since finishing third over 10f at this corresponding meeting last year. The drop back to a mile is considered a positive and, granted good ground, I hope he can get his career back on track. He remains an exciting prospect.
On Sunday I hope to see Elwazir (3.55) make a winning reappearance for Owen Burrows. The five-year-old has been gelded since disappointing on the all-weather back in October, but he has a good record fresh and is taken to give weight and a beating to his four rivals.
I remember back in 2017 backing Stormy Antartic in the Midsummer Stakes at Windsor but he was given plenty to do and went down by a head to Andrew Balding’s Morando. At the time I was disappointed with the run but three years on I hope Ed Walker’s seven-year-old can right that wrong. Tom Marquand takes the ride and he could not be in better hands. The 5/2 with William Hill is fair.
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