Main action today is oop at Newcastle, where the feature event is the Betfair Exchange Northumberland Plate Handicap at 3.35.
The field of 19 is headed by the Roger Varian trained Gibbs Hill, which had been backed down to as low as 4-1 in the ante post market, but now sits uneasily at 11-2.
This 6-y-o has not run for 724 days and will also have to achieve a lifetime best performance by 9lbs if it is to win. Much as we respect its esteemed trainer, we really must apply the Spanish Archer to this one.
Our first pick for the race is Dubawi Fifty, trained by Karen McLintock. Prevented from running in this race last year by injury, it’s a year since we saw this 6-y-o, but first time out is the time to catch it and you betcha it will be fighting fit. At 11-1, we recommend an each way bet.
Our other choice is the Saeed Bin Suroor trained Red Galileo, which stormed away with a Newmarkethandicap three weeks ago, in a first time hood. Picks up a 5lb penalty for that win, but, with the Lesser Spotted Greatrex taking off the same amount, this rejuvenated 8-y-o must be well handicapped. Have a bit on each way at 14s.
ITV are covering the first four races on the card, starting, at 1.50, with the Betfair Exchange Handicap over 6f. With the track riding ‘standard to slow’, horses are going to have to get every last yard of the trip and, on that basis, we suggest each way bets on Staxton (6-1) and Braveheart‘s Deep Intrigue at 7-1.
The Group 3 Betfair Exchange Chipchase Stakes at 2.25 was won last year by Above The Rest, trained by David Barron and the cheeky beggar goes for a repeat this afternoon, having taken the same route as twelve months ago.
12-1 last year, we can have 9-1 this and suggest we give it an each way whirl.
The consolation race for those horses which missed the cut for the Plate is at 3.00, snappily called the Northumberland Vase Handicap and 15 runners are scheduled to go to post.
Favourite is the admirably consistent and still improving Carnwennan, trained by Charlie Fellowes and it is difficult to get away from this 4-y-os credentials – so we won’t. Lets bash it each way at 9-2.
Our idea of a sporting outsider is the ‘tough as old boots’ Busy Street, which missed out on the main event by one tick but may pick up £46 grand instead by winning this one. At 18-1, we’ll have a crack.
The TV boys are also at York for one of those impossible 20 runner sprints so beloved by the bookmaking fraternity, this one being the Sun Racing Handicap at 2.45.
Predictably it’s 8-1 the field, but the more we look at it, the more we keep coming back to the chances of dodgepot-in-chief Growl.
No win since 2016 and drawn 20 of 20 – so what’s not to like?
Actually, it’s the best handicapped horse in the race by a veritable street and, for the first time this season, has its favoured fast ground. Stand by for a purr rather than a growl when it goes in at 20-1.
That’s it – we are off to offer up a few prayers for the English cricket team.
Dubawi Fifty 3.35 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 11-1 (6 places Skybet Betfair & Paddy Power)
Red Galileo 3.35 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 14-1 (6 places Skybet Betfair & Paddy Power)
Staxton 1.50 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (5 places Hills)
Deep Intrigue 1.50 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 7-1 (5 places Hills)
Above The Rest 2.25 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 9-1 (2 places)
Carnwennan 3.00 Newcastle 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (4 places)
Busy Street 3.00 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 18-1 (4 places)
Growl 2.45 York 1pt e/w @ 20-1 (6 places Skybet)