Feature event of today’s televised racing is the Betfair Northumberland Plate at 3.35 up at Newcastle.
A typically competitive 18 runner affair, with the bookmakers going 5-1 the field, but we think we may have this race sussed with just two selections.
David Simcock‘s runner Smart Champion is the main bet. Already a course and distance winner in February this year, this improving 5-y-o warmed up for this with a fast finishing fourth (of 19) in the Ascot Stakes at the Royal bun-fest 11 days ago under today’s pilot Callum Shepherd. That is probably the best form on offer and we seem sure to get a run for our 8-1 each way punt.
Our other selection is dear old Cosmelli, trying to improve on last year’s close 5th, which was achieved off an 8lb higher mark. Gay Kelleway‘s 7-y-o won the consolation version of this race in 2018 off a mark of 94 and, with a promising tune-up run on the CV and George Rooke taking off 5lbs, we must have a bash off a mark of just 88. 14-1 looks fine to us.
First televised race is the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes over 6f and in this we choose the potential big improver Mubakker. Sir Michael‘s 4-y-o grey thing made mincemeat of a bunch of good quality handicappers over CD on June 2nd off a mark of 95 and, considering that was just his 5th run and first since October, he should take the step up in class in his long stride. At 5-2, we hope so.
The Group 3 Betfair Exchange Hoppings Fillies’ Stakes at 3.00 has a field of just six and here we take another improving handicapper to cope with the leap to Group class. The only 3-y-o in the line-up, Virgin Snow gets a useful 12lb w-f-a allowance and her third to Run Wild at Kempton last year brings her well into the ratings equation. Take the 5-2 that she can turn the fav over.
Cameras are also at Newmarket this afternoon for three races, starting with the Betway Handicap at 2.05. Although 3-y-o handicaps are always tricky early on, we think that Raatea from Marcus Tregoning‘s yard is on a favourable mark and should take this under James Crowley Esq. 9-4 are the odds of reward.
The Betway Criterion Stakes at 2.40 sees the reappearance of the seemingly evergreen Limato which was the original favourite but has nw been supplanted in the market by Braveheart‘s Vale Of Kent ridden by the Mad Italian.
However, we think the value may lie with Charlie Appleby‘s Mubtasim, which is available at 7-1. Well up to this class based on the 6-y-o’s exploits in the Middle East earlier this year and already a CD winner, The Doyler can carry the burden of our selection.
The Listed Betway Fairway Stakes at 3.15 looks a match on paper between Braveheart‘s Thunderous and Charlie-boy‘s Volkan Star.
We’ve a mind to take on Mr Johnston again and recommend a win bet at 6-4 on the Godolphin runner.
Enjoy the Derby, even if you are not a Pitman.
Smart Champion 3.35 Newcastle 2pts e/w @ 8-1 (6 places Skybet)
Cosmelli 3.35 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 14-1 (6 places Skybet)
Mubakker 1.50 Newcastle 4pts win @ 5-2
Virgin Snow 3.00 Newcastle 4pts win @ 5-2
Raatea 2.05 Newmarket 4pts win @ 9-4
Mubtasim 2.40 Newmarket 1pt e/w @ 7-1
Volkan Star 3.15 Newmarket 4pts win @ 6-4