Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up four to follow on Saturday at Newcastle and Chester. View selections below
LOCAL trainer Brian Ellison makes no secret of his burning desire to win the Northumberland Plate and MOYENNE CORNICHE (3.05) could well fulfil that dream at Newcastle on Saturday.
My selection is probably too consistent for his own good as the handicapper shows him little slack on the back of consistent runs in good company. The ground is likely to be fairly testing but that won’t inconvenience Moyenne Corniche, who ran a cracker in a Listed race at Haydock, finishing a close-up fourth to Sir Michael Stoute’s Confront, when in the care of Michael Bell a couple of seasons ago. His run behind Red Cadeaux at Hamilton was another rock solid run. Last year’s winner Overturn must go on the shortlist, despite rising considerably in the ratings, and the Chester Cup hero is hard to pass when allowed to dictate matters. At bigger odds, High Office could outrun his price. The Richard Fahey/Paul Hanagan axis are back in peak form after a spell in the doldrums and High Office travelled like a dream on soft ground at Ayr last Saturday when eventually just outpointed by Gordon Elliott’s Irish raider Bondage. Considering Elliott used that same Ayr race as a warm-up for subsequent Ebor winner Dirar, the form could be quite strong.
On the support card, McBIRNEY (4.45) will appreciate the drop in trip after finding Carlisle’s stiff 1m 3f overtaxing his stamina last time out. Paul D’Arcy’s lightly-raced four-year-old should remain competitive, with Harry Bentley’s 5lb claim an added bonus, although his wide draw isn’t ideal.
Soft ground will be the order of the day at Chester, where HAYLAMAN (2.35) has a nice draw near the fence. The top weight ran Malthouse close at Sandown, the pair putting daylight between themselves and the pursuing pack. Haylaman is closely related to Persian Bold, who enjoyed some cut in the ground.
BERTIEWHISTLE (3.45) let this column down at York but the form of the race is working out well, with fourth horse Quite Sparky scoring with a bit in hand in the 16-runner Carlisle Bell Consolation Handicap in midweek. Bertiewhistle has drawn the plum one stall in this nine-runner event.