Prejudice Potential At Newmarket Is No Presumption6 min read
The draw for the Northumberland Plate tomorrow was kind to a number of the market leaders with Gibbs Hill (4/1 favourite) due to run from stall five with last year’s winner Withhold (8s at BetVictor) coming out of stall 10 and Willie Mullins’s Stratum (10/1) drawn in three. A low number is generally regarded as a plus.
This is the time of the year – post-Royal Ascot – when I like to look at three-year-olds in handicaps against their elders. At Newcastle this evening, Elamirr (5.30) makes his handicap and seasonal debut for Roger Varian and this well-bred colt looked the type to improve with age in a light juvenile campaign. The selection is a half-brother to five winners and all three of his two-year-old runs were on an artificial surface.
The £50,000 Gosforth Park Cup is the feature race on the card and all 14 sprinters have a realistic chance in what I feel is a very good renewal of this famous 5f dash. The pin has fallen on Robert Cowell’s Blue De Vega (6.35) who should appreciate this stiff track and is fitted with cheekpieces for the first time this evening. The selection is one of two runners for Cowell and I like the booking of Jim Crowley for the 6-year-old who has won from a higher mark in the past.
Varian’s Rasima finished runner up in the listed fillies race 12 months ago but has not been at her best so far this term. The trainer reaches for cheekpieces this evening, but others are preferred.
The three-year-old Glance is worth mentioning stepping up in trip to 10f for the first time, but the vote goes to Sun Maiden (7.05) who goes unpenalised for a fluent Nottingham listed success at the beginning of the month. Jim Crowley keeps the ride on the Frankel filly.
6.35: Blue De Vega
7.05: Sun Maiden
At Newmarket, the unbeaten Nahaarr (6.45) can make it three out of three for William Haggas with Georgina Cox taking the ride. The filly beat Ralph Beckett’s Britannia winner Biometric at Lingfield on the first day of the month although she was receiving 10lbs from the latter. An opening mark of 75 looks workable.
Aktau (7.20) looks to be crying out for a step up in trip and gets his opportunity in the 1m 5f handicap for Varian. The recommendation was no match for Pondus over 10f last time but stayed on nicely. The winner did little for the form at Royal Ascot last week behind Japan, but that effort was over 1m 4f and you will see a better animal when he drops back down in trip.
Fabulist (8.30) has been pulled out of a couple of races in the last couple of weeks because of soft ground, but no such problems this evening with the ground drying out all the time. The filly failed to get home over 10f on soft ground when a beaten odds on favourite on her last (second) start and she drops back to a mile tonight for John Gosden.
Leroy Leroy is a horse who I think will be winning races this term, but he may find the task of giving 12lbs to fellow three-year-old Prejudice (9.00) too much. I was very keen on David Simcock’s three-year-old for a race over 12f at Haydock – well backed – earlier in the month, but he was taken out on the morning of the race on account of the heavy ground. Luke Morris takes over in the saddle and I hope he makes plenty of use on the colt who carries just 8st 2lbs.
At Cartmel this afternoon I hope to see Sonic (2.55) go one better than when runner up here on his chase debut over half a mile shorter. The selection would be receiving weight from a couple of the principles if this were a handicap, but I feel this trip will suit and Donald McCain’s 6-year-old remains open to significant improvement over fences.