Saturday’s action on Racing TV this side of the Irish sea is tricky stuff and it is the two divisions of the Northumberland Plate that really take the eye punting wise.
This traditional race has been a massive success since it moved to the all-weather track and, looking at the entries, could probably support a bronze division in the future.
I will be looking closely at Johnny Ward’s selections at the Curragh but am hoping the quartet below land a solid each-way Yankee up at Newcastle.
1.45 Newcastle; Woven at 6-1 with bet365
Looks like he is going to win a race soon for his new trainer Michael Dods to judge by two solid efforts so far and he also ran a couple of solid races at this track when with David Simcock.
Woven’s two wins have come over 7f but he has run several good races over 6f and a good pace is on the cards.
He was only beaten just over a length last time at York so his mark is perfectly fine and his trainer has hardly had a horse out of the frame with his recent runners. A good run at a decent price looks assured.
2.55 Newcastle; East Asia at a general 4-1
It is quite often the case that the Northumberland Plate consolation event – unlike the main event – contains the progressive types and this four-year-old is certainly in that category and looks a handicap blot.
It looks as though the handicapper simply under-valued his form in the UAE, which came on dirt and artificial surfaces, or possibly it is because he has joined a master trainer and placer of staying handicappers.
Most likely it is a combination of the two as he has bolted up in three handicaps for Ian Williams since arriving in Britain.
He has already won off a mark 2lbs higher than he runs off on Saturday and it seems unlikely to me that the improvement has been because of a switch to turf.
East Asia has hardly had tough races and is very likely capable of even better. David Egan looks a strong booking.
3.30 Newcastle; Trueshan at 9-2 with BetVictor
Watch how Trueshan trounced his rivals at Ascot
Was very well supported to win the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot but Alan King pulled him out on the day because the rain did not come in time.
He is a true Group One stayer and, running off 118, is the best horse seen in a handicap for some time.
Trueshan was obviously felt to be spot on for the Gold Cup so should still be at his peak here and he is one from one on a Tapeta surface having broken his maiden at Wolverhampton.
Rhys Clutterbuck has been booked to take a valuable 5lb and the jockey excelled on the all-weather last winter so looks an astute booking.
Trueshan needs to start a bit better than he did in the Ebor last year but he has two furlongs further to bring his stamina in play. He won a big-field handicap in good style on his way up through the ranks and his fantastic Group Two success, at Ascot on Champions Day, came in a biggish field. He is a class act and should be able to give the weight.
4.05 Newcastle: Hasty Sailor at 9-4 with William Hill
Ran a perfectly respectable race on his reappearance and this lightly raced type can be expected to progress here.
The tongue-strap he wore when breaking his maiden when odds on in a handicap at Lingfield last back end is back on here and hopefully that will help his finishing effort.
I suspect he has been difficult to train, rather than deliberately brought along steadily, but trip, surface and stable form are all positives and he will not lack for anything in the saddle with Ben Curtis on board for the first time.
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