Kicking off the North East’s biggest day of racing with a Group 3 contest that seems pretty even across the board.
Michael Appleby’s Danzeno is clear favourite and after making a decent seasonal reappearance in a five furlong Group 2 contest is worthy of that slot. If truth be told it is the most likely winner but a price of 6/4 is way too short considering it hasn’t won in its last three contests.
Of the remainder I think Aeolus is probably due a decent run and could be massively overpriced at around 14’s. It would prefer a little bit of cut in the ground but has won on good ground before and may squeak a chance at a place.
My selection here is another horse that may prefer the ground a bit softer but Mattmu is a very classy horse indeed. It’s two year old form reads very well and despite a slight going concern has won on good to firm before. The horse wasn’t so impressive last time out but a drop in class should put to bed some of those fears and at around 11/2 should be a decent bet to finish in the top three.
Mattmu (E/W if 9/2+)
With today’s live TV action we also take in a few contests at flat HQ, the first of which seems to be pretty much a one horse race according to bookmakers and tipsters alike.
Despite what has been a lengthy layoff and a trainer who hasn’t been in great form Gospel Choir still remains odds on.
With two previous Group 2 wins to it’s name and the assistance of a jockey that currently has the Midas touch it should win by as far as it wants.
I’m not a fan of selecting such a short priced horse but the favourites odds probably reflect it’s chances and despite Dettori’s ride being a decent danger I have to side with the favourite.
Gospel Choir (WIN)
This is a race I really liked the look of Antepost, that was until Thursday when my fancy was pulled out of the race. Never the less there’s still a couple that should get the nod.
Bushcraft sits at the top of the betting tree and rightly so with four wins from just six starts. The horse has done very little wrong in its racing career and is open to further improvement. My biggest fear however is wether or not this horse can hang with this level of opposition and although I feel it will be there or thereabouts in terms of place money if may find one or two too good for it.
My outsider to note is See The Sun. The horse is one of those runners that nine times out of ten runs a nice race without it actually winning. An eighth placed finish at Musselburgh last time out may not strike as a great run but on closer reflection the draw didn’t help and it still managed to finish nearer the head of the field in terms of the runners drawn wider. Going up against lesser experienced horses I think today may just be it’s day and at around 16/1 is a decent price.
I’m not just plumping for one pick here I’m going for another. It is definitely worth pointing out that Newcastle has had racing on for the last three days and Charlie Hills hasn’t sent a single runner so far. That is until today. Tanzeel is his one and only entrant at Newcastle’s three day meeting and I’m sure he doesn’t send the horse for a holiday. The horse may need to dust off a few cobwebs as it makes it’s seasonal reappearance but does go well fresh and is worth a punt today.
Tanzeel (E/W if 9/2+)
See The Sun (E/W)
Back over to HQ and I find myself feeling awfully frustrated that only seven runners line up, thus only the two places on offer.
There is little form to go off and despite the twenty runner Northumberland Plate later in the day a case could be made for this being the trickiest race to decipher.
We shall start with the betting principles in Katie’s Diamond and White Bullet. One won a maiden that now looks pretty modest and the other still remains a maiden. Of the two however I find the third placed finish in a listed event more impressive than the win at Redcar and if push came to shove between the two it’d be White Bullet that would get my vote. That aside however and my pick goes to neither of them.
Mark Johnstone is based in Yorkshire and sends just the one runner for today’s Newmarket meeting. Lido Lady made all when winning at Goodwood on its debut and I’ve found you definitely want to be nearer the front at Newmarket than further behind so the course should suit. It’s frustrating that only the seven go to post as with eight I’d have been convinced it would place. However I’m sticking with my guy and although it may find one too good it still has a good chance of finishing in the top two.
Lido Lady (E/W)
We make our way back up north for another decent looking handicap, this time over the seven furlong trip.
I couldn’t have any of top two or three in the betting based on form and although this may be ignorant of me neither Zarwan, Russian Realm or Red Pike get a look in.
The biggest danger to my two selections I fear is Jedd O’Keefe’s Shared Equity. A horse that currently stands as unbeaten at this venue. It is ultra consistent and shouldn’t be far away. If there was a little bit more juice in the ground it’d be on my list but just misses out very narrowly.
The more fancied runner of the two picks I’m putting forwards is Baraweez. Looking through the five year olds recent form you’d be scratching your head to understand why. However a win in its only race at Newcastle and a look back through previous form shows the horse is a classy act. The Ellison yard are hitting the high notes, as is jockey Silvestre De Sousa.
The second pick may seem like another head scratcher but Apostle is a horse that really caught my eye when having an unlucky run back in May. The drop back to seven furlongs should be a positive and a respectable enough fifth placed finish in this race last year isn’t too bad at all. Although it’s speculative a 25/1 shot was too good to turn down.
Of the remainder I couldn’t put you off the likes of Mehdi for place money either.
What a trappy little contest we have for our third and final start from Newmarket. With five of the eight runners now priced at 6/1 or shorter it’s clear that the bookmakers aren’t convinced one way or another how this should turn out.
Hors De Combat sits at the top of the betting tree and with good reason based on its Newmarket form. (Two wins and a place from three starts) But how confident can you be about a horse that hasn’t won in its last six starts. It should be the one to take home glory but with a bit of uncertainty I am forced to look elsewhere.
Code Red did well to win a listed contest last time out and has enough ability to pick up a week group race like this but with such a level of inconsistency you don’t know which horse will turn up. The one that wins a listed race or the one that finishes fifth of seven in a class four race at Ffos Las and for that reason isn’t the one for me.
In all honesty this isn’t a race I would advocate any huge bet in but I’m going for something a bit “left field”. A win in its only start at Newmarket when sent off 9/2 favourite and hailing from a yard that has produced this years Derby winner Kasb could be a very big dark horse indeed. The horse has gone well fresh in the past and ran a respectable fourth of twenty three in its last start. The horse definitely has to make a big step up and it definitely needs to have trained on after a long lay off but with just eight runners 16/1 could look mightily big if the horse is able to tick a few boxes in what looks a very weak group race.
It’s the big race of the day that we finish off today’s action with.
The horse racing equivalent to The Great North Run. A trip that very few horses attempt on the flat and packed with anything from average handicappers to potential group horses.
This years renewal looks as good as ever and straight out the gate I’ll make a bold statement and say the likely winner comes from the first two in the betting. Clever Cookie and Quest For More are horses I’ve personally enjoyed backing this year with great success and if both can continue their rich vain of form won’t be far way. However with twenty going to post I have to look for better value and I hope I’ve found it in the form of Brian Ellison’s Totalize and John Quinn’s Swnymor.
As mentioned in an earlier race Ellison has his horses flying at the moment and with four runners entered all have to be respected. A lot of money has come for Montefeltro with its odds tumbling from 25/1 down into 14/1. The horse obviously has a chance but of the two runners he has for that owner it’s the other, Totalize, that I prefer. A good second placed finish last time out shows it retains it’s ability and a seventh in this race last year is pretty respectable so a chance is taken that one of the lesser fancied Ellison quartet can triumph.
My other pick Swnymor is definitely a gamble in the true sense of the word. The horse is the epitome of Mr Inconsistent and trying to gage when this horse will run well is a difficult enough task in itself. I’m sure the horse isn’t entered into a race of this nature without connections thinking it has a good effort in them today and I’m taking a punt that the horse can pull something out. It clearly has ability it’s just knowing what will suit best to ensure those skills can be put to good use.