Buddy Holly (1958) or Peter & Gordon (1965) lead us in to today’s Preview which features the William Hill Northumberland Plate Handicap at 3.30.
This is the fifth year this historic race has been staged on Newcastle‘s Tapeta surface and there is a maximum field of 20 for this afternoon’s event.
Top weight and favourite is the Alan King trained Trueshan, which was due to take on Stradivarius et al in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup, before being withdrawn because of quick ground.
‘So what’s it doing in a handicap?’ we hear you cry.
Well, according to the trainer, the horse is so well it needs a run before heading off to Glorious Goodwood and they may as well pick up 81 grand on the way.
With Rhys Clutterbuck taking Trueshan‘s racing weight down to 9st 13lbs, it’s entirely possible that the 5-y-o will outclass its rivals, so we suggest a win bet at 7-2.
In case that doesn’t happen, we also suggest an each way bet on Alright Sunshine at 14-1. Keith Dalgleish‘s runner ran 5th in a Group 3 on its only try on this surface and has shown distinct signs of late of recapturing its 4-y-o form, which makes a mark of 99 attractive.
The ‘consolation’ race, aka the Northumberland Vase Handicap at 2.55 has just 19 runners and therefore is a piece of cake.
East Asia has won all three races since joining Ian Williams, all on turf, the latest off a mark of 82 but owing to a system ‘quirk’ can run in this AW contest off just 80. With plenty of dirt experience from the UAE, ‘thrown in’ is the phrase that springs to mind, so we must back it at 9-2.
We must also have an each way tickle on the very progressive Indigo Times, which doesn’t know when it’s beaten and has won six from it’s last seven AW handicaps. Must give Tom Eavesa good spin at 18-1.
TV coverage starts with the William Hill Handicap at 1.45, a 6f handicap with the maximum 14 runners.
First preference is for another Ian Williams‘ trained beastie, Ejtilaab which has been re-invented as a sprinter, taking a hot Epsom event last time out and raised just 4lbs by the assessor. First try on Tapeta, but otherwise, a solid choice at 9-2.
We also give a squeak to Sniper‘s ride, Victory Heights, twice a course winner and beginning to look well handicapped off 93. Have a small each way at 16-1.
The Group 3 William Hill Chipchase Stakes at 2.20 completes the coverage from Newcastleand, in this, it’s hard to get away from the claims of the 116 rated Khuzaam. Roger Varian‘s 5-y-o is an AW horse through and through, so its run at Sandown last time out can easily be excused and the drop back to 6f on this tough track shouldn’t be a problem. We suggest a win bet at 3-1.
We also recommend an each way bet on Chil Chil, the mount of SDS.
Andrew Balding‘s talented handicapper can take this slight rise in class in her stride and reward our each way bet at odds of 8-1.
Cameras are also at Newmarket for three races and, although we are swerving the 2.05 (minefield) we would like you to get involved in the other two, starting with the Fred Archer Stakes at 2.40.
Based on the theory that the short priced favourite Logician is no longer the horse he once was, we recommend a bet on Willie‘s runner, Pablo Escobarr at 9-2.
Sure to have come on bundles for its pipe opener and suited by trip and ground, young Tom‘s mount looks the value alternative.
And so, finally, to the Group 3 Criterion Stakes at 3.15.
This race has an open look to it and we give a decent each way chance to Duke Of Hazzard, which has shown definite signs of getting back to the level that saw it win a Group 2, a Group 3 and a Listed race in 2019.
At an attractive 11-1, this is worth a punt.
Hope this sets us up nicely to watch Wales take on the mighty Denmark.
Pob lwc, bechgyn!!
Trueshan 3.30 Newcastle 2pts win @ 7-2
Alright Sunshine 3.30 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 14-1 (5 places)
East Asia 2.55 Newcastle 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (5 places)
Indigo Times 2.55 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 18-1 (5 places)
Ejtilaab 1.45 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 5-1 (4 places)
Victory Heights 1.45 Newcastle 0.5pts e/w @ 18-1 (4 places)
Khuzaam 2.20 Newcastle 3pts win @ 3-1
Chil Chil 2.20 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (4 places)
Pablo Escobarr 2.40 Newmarket 2pts win @ 9-2
Duke Of Hazzard 3.15 Newmarket 1pt e/w @ 11-1