Thanks Martin, much as expected last week as the Wokingham again proved an insoluble puzzle, but at least I was lucky in getting the winner and forecast at Ayr. Still can’t get used to the grand old Northumberland Plate being consigned to the AW, although one can appreciate the need for more race meetings here to defray the increasing cost of annual upkeep of the course facilities. So once more no great expectations, as I don’t usually find the AW a happy hunting ground.
Newcastle 13.30 Cl 2 Hcap 457 (97) 16.5f AW – 20 Run
Last year – 467 (90) – 12 ran
London Prize 7/4 F 6-9-9 (89) Dr 3 by 0.25l from Graceland 9/1 5-9-7 (87) Dr 5
High Command 9/1 4-9-3 (83) Dr 12 was 2.75l 3rd
Euchan Glen 5-9-6 (93) Dr 9
23 Jun Cl 2 Hcap (259 u) 13f gd Ayr (103) 7/2 F 1.25l 1/13 off 94
Steadied in rear, pushed along and plenty to do 3f out, good headway over 1f out, ridden to lead inside final furlong, kept on strongly
Ran poorly on his only 2 starts here last year, but has a good record on turf, winning over 13f at Ayr last weekend in a career best; although he carries a 5lbs penalty, he does in fact run off a 1lb lower mark, reflecting his lower mark on the AW; prior to his Ayr win had finished 0.5l runner-up to The Grand Visir (-3) at Haydock and meets him on 4lbs better terns today; poor AW record (0/2) a worry though
Plus: class (W); distance (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto (7 days); career best lto;
Minus: AW; course; 5lbs penalty,
Verdict: (43) lack of AW form ranks him as a contender with serious questions.
Dannyday 6-9-8 (95) Dr 7
Won the 2016 renewal off 91, but then off the course until returning at Goodwood in late May when likely needed the race; appears to have come on for that for was by no means disgraced when finishing in midfield to Lagostovegas in the Ascot Stks; Crowley takes over from Dobbs in the saddle today and no surprise were he to go well.
Plus: class (W); AW (W); distance (W); course (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); recent outing (11 days);
Verdict: (41) possible contender if coming on again for Ascot run.
The Grand Visir 4-9-7 (94) Dr 15
26 May Cl 2 Hcap (162) 16f gd Hayd (97) 4/1 0.5l 1/9 off 90
Held up, headway on outer over 2f out, ridden in 4th over 1f out, challenged 1f out, ran on under pressure to lead 1/2f out, pushed out near finish
Showed his ability when raised to 16f for the first time at Haydock last month and turning in a career best to winn from Byron Flyer who runs in the main race, with Euchen Glen (+3) 0.55l 3rd; meets EG on 4lbs worse terms, but the latter has yet to show any form on this surface; TGV making his AW debut today, and runs here off a 4lbs higher mark; however, likely more to come now he’s been upped in trip.
Plus: class (W); distance (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto (35 days); form run lto;
Minus: AW (?); course (?); up 4lbs;
Verdict: (36) would look to be a contender if taking to the AW
Financial Conduct 4-9-10 (97) Dr 6
Making his first start for the Simcock yard having come over from A Oliver at the end of May; has shown good form over 12f on the AW at Dundalk, winning 3 of his last 4 starts there and going down by the narrowest of margins in the other; however, starts his UK career off a 9lbs higher mark and up 4.5f in trip.
Plus: AW (W); trainer (C); form run lto; career best lto;
Minus: class (?); distance (?); course (?); up 9lbs; up 4.5f; 85-day break;
Verdict: (31) may do well in the long-term, but tough task on UK debut and not the strongest of contenders.
Bedrock 5-9-0 (87) Dr 20
09 Jun Cl 3 Hcap (125 u) 16f gd/fm Muss (82) 13/8 F 2.25l 1/6 off 82
Prominent, smooth headway to lead over 2f out, clear when edged right over 1f out, pushed out final furlong, comfortably
Winning hurdler who showed his best Flat form to date with a career best when taking a Cl 3 hcap over 16f at Musselburgh lto; has been raised 5lbs for that and rises in class, plus finished a distant runner-up on only AW start to date in May.
Plus: distance (W); trainer (14d); form run lto (21 days); career best lto;
Minus: class; AW; course (?); up 5lbs; up in class;
Verdict: (29) going the right way perhaps, but asking a lot to be considered a serious contender here.
Not many here to consider, although Cool Sky recorded a career best when winning over hurdles at Aintree last month and won his last Flat start at Goodwood last August. Another to perhaps note is the lightly-raced Davy’s Dilemma who showed promise on his return and now steps up in trip (and class!), but is 0/2 here.
Cutting my shortlist down to size I think we can swiftly discard Financial Conduct, and likely Bedrock as well. Of the remaining trio, Euchan Glenn has to show he can handle this surface, so perhaps it’s safest to go with past winner Dannyday from The Grand Visir with Euchan Glenn and Bedrock battling it out for the minor placings.
Newcastle 14.05 Cl 2 Hcap 924 (108) 16.5f AW – 20 Run
Last year – 924 (108) – 20 ran
Higher Power 11/2 5-9-9 (107) Dr 13 by 0.5l from Natural Scenery 7/1 4-9-5 (103) Dr 10
Lord George 17/2 4-8-9 (96) Dr 17 was 1.5l 4th
Sir Chauvelin 25/1 5-9-0 (98) Dr 6 was 2.5l 6th
Withhold 5-9-1 (99) Dr 11
14 Oct Cl 2 Hcap (1556 u) 18f gd Nwmkt (103) 5/1 F 3.75l 1/34 off 87
Lw; soon prominent, led 8f out, ridden over 2f out, drifted left over 1f out, stayed on strongly to draw clear inside final furlong
Cesarewitch winner where he beat London Prize with Lagostovegas (+4) 5l 3rd, on only his second start in a year; not seen since and making only second AW start, the first at Newcastle; more importantly, he runs off a 12lbs higher mark, although only 5lbs worse off with Lagostovegas; the break is a question, but stable in fine form at present and no doubt he’ll be primed for this.
Plus: class (W); AW (F); distance (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto; career best lto;
Minus: course (?); 259-day break; up 12lbs;
Verdict: (49) lightly-raced stayer who likely has room for improvement, a contender.
Amazing Red 5-9-0 (98) Dr 8
09 June Cl 2 Hcap (311 u) 14f gd/fm Nwmkt (103) 8/1 3.5l 1/13 off 93
Took keen hold, held up in midfield, pushed right after 1f, closed on leaders travelling strongly over 2f out, ridden to challenge over 1f out, led 1f out, stayed on strongly
Seems to be improving with age having won 2 of 4 this season, the latest a clear-cut victory in a career-best over 14f on fast ground at Newmarket; earlier, recorded first AW win over 16f at Kempton at the start of May; carries a 5lbs penalty at Newmarket, although will actually run off a further 4lbs higher mark in future; 6/14 over an inadequate 12.5f here back in March, so handles the course; however, stable not in the best of form (1/26 – 14d).
Plus: class (W); AW (W); distance (W); course (F); trainer (C); form run lto (21 days); career best lto;
Minus: 5lbs penalty; trainer (14d);
Verdict: (45) in good form this year and could be a contender.
Lagostovegas 6-9-0 (98) Dr 6
19 Jun Cl 2 Hcap (560 u) 20f gd/fm Ascot (100) 10/1 1l 1/19 off 93
Held up well in touch in midfield, pushed along over 2f out, chased leading trio and switched left over 1f out, closed to chase leader 1f out, ridden along mainly hands and heels to lead 100yds out, stayed on strongly
Useful hurdler who bested his more favoured stable companion when recording a career best to take the Ascot Stakes in a first-time hood lto; carries a 5lbs penalty for that and makes his AW debut today, but likely there is more to come and he was not given a hard race at Ascot;
Plus: class (W); distance (W); trainer (14d); form run lto (11 days); career best lto;
Minus: AW (?); course (?); 5lbs penalty;
Verdict: (42) fine run at Ascot and looks a contender with only a 5lbs penalty, providing he handles the surface.
Higher Power 6-9-10 (108) Dr 10
10 May Cl 2 Stks (162 d) 14d AW Chelm (108) 100/30 2.5l 2/5 off 108
Chased winner virtually throughout, ridden over 2f out, unable to match pace of winner under pressure over 1f out, well held in clear 2nd and kept on same pace inside final furlong
Runs off 1lb higher mark than when taking last year’s renewal, although struggled when upped to Group level thereafter and had a wind operation in October; looked to need his return run in listed company at Nottingham in April, but better effort lto when only going down to an improving Gosden hotpot at Chelmsford; has had a break since, but by no means out of it.
Plus: class (W); AW (W); distance (W); course (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto;
Minus: 51-day break;
Verdict: (41) only 1lb higher than when taking last year’s renewal and a contender.
Sir Chauvelin 6-8-13 (97) Dr 15
22 Jun Cl 2 Hcap (560 u) 12f gd/fm Ascot (105) 33/1 2.25l 2/17 off 97
Steadied start, held up in rear, switched right entering final 2f, not clear run and switched left until finally in the clear and headway 1f out, strong run inside final furlong to go 2nd well inside final furlong, never going to reach winner
Runs off a 1lb lower mark than when a creditable 6th in last year’s renewal and showed he was running into form with a career best effort when runner-up in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stks lto, finishing 2l ahead of Top Tug (+8); runs off the same mark today and should confirm running with TT; however, has yet to win beyond 13f on the Flat. So trip a question.
Plus: class (W); AW (W); distance (F); course (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto (8 days); career best lto;
Minus: yet to win beyond 13f;
Verdict: (40) distance worries make him a contender with questions.
Natural Scenery 5-9-3 (101) Dr 14
Runs off a 2lbs lower mark than when just denied by Higher Power in last year’s renewal, although actually meets HP on 3lbs better terns this time round; ran well to finish 3rd in the Ebor off 105, but in general she has been aimed at much higher levels, her latest start being when down the field in the Gr 2 Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan at the end of March; such a break would normally raise major doubts, but she came into last year’s renewal off a 78-day break, plus her record on this surface is 1112.
Plus: class (W); AW (W); distance (W); course (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C);
Minus: 91-day break;
Verdict: (39) given course form, has to be considered a contender despite the long break
Still coming to grips to this being on the AW, but I hope I’ve included all the more likely types on my shortlist. However, it’s not easy to pare down to size, even if distance worries suggest Sir Chauvelin might be the first one to go. However, I can make a strong case for any of the remaining five contenders. I don’t normally like horses coming back from extended breaks, but both Withhold and Natural Scenery looks to have strong claims, as does recent Ascot winner Lagostovegas, so I slightly prefer their chances to those of Amazing Red and last year’s winner Higher Power. In which order they’ll actually finish beats me, but I’m going with Withold from Lagostovegas and Natural Scenery, with Amazing Red holding off Higher Power and Sir Chauvelin for the minor placings.
Any comments on today's racing. Please don't just put in selections ... please add some reason why you think a runner will win
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